Gym Classes Go Digital: How Tech Changes Physical Education

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Education and technology go hand-in-hand.

With nearly 100% of public schools and colleges having access to the internet, many classes incorporate digital technology on a regular basis. Gym classes are no exception.

How Tech Changes Physical Education

Recognizing the need for physical activity and considering their profession something more than just a free play time, gym teachers are applying innovative technologies to the development of their discipline in different directions.

After the New York Times reported on research tying the direct relationship between students’ physical condition and their ability to learn, physical education shifted gears. Taking into consideration Millennials’ global interest in technologies, the best way to grab their attention is with digital tools.

Surveys have shown the positive impact technology has on the learning process. A survey of more than 2,600 U.S. college students concluded that applying technology to education helps them reduce stress (45%), improve confidence (46%) and efficiency (57%), while also helping students to better prepare for class (67%).

Integrating digital devices, school administration software, and applications into the classroom serve to improve learning and boost good study habits.

Whiteboards, podcasts, and games are not all but just a few effective ways of how technology provides better organization of knowledge, helping educators engage students and motivate them.

When it comes to introducing technology into physical education, the benefits extend beyond education. There’s a positive impact on students’ health as well.

Looking to learn how to integrate tech into physical education? There are many options, including:

Gaming systems

Appealing to the love of video games, teachers can spark student interest in physical education.

Dance Dance Revolution, Xbox Kinect, and the Nintendo Wii demand physical activity and make students more active, social, and competitive. Engaging, they speak the language of Millennials, transforming their attitude toward exercise and, therefore, improving cardiovascular system and strength.

Applying gaming systems to their gym classes, educators also help to beat childhood obesity, which has been called “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.”VideosVideo sharing websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, or Vine can turn anyone into an amateur filmmaker. These websites and applications have opened up a world where lessons and demonstrations are available at the click of a mouse.

There are plenty of benefits to schools using these resources in all areas of education, including physical education:

  • Students creating and watching best practice/technique videos for physical training or sports
  • Reviewing sports mechanics videos from professional athletes or online trainers
  • Create health video projects demonstrating the proper diet and lifestyle of a fit young adult

These projects and viewing sessions allow students to familiarize themselves with new ways to stay healthy in school and at home.

Applications

There is no limit to the list of applications available on smartphones and tablets, especially regarding health, fitness, and diets. These applications are perfect for tracking the performance of phys ed students and applying their development towards future lesson plans.

Here are a few you can choose from:

  • Coach’s Eye – an app that records and provides feedback on sports performances. It helps students improve their skills, as they can watch a video of themselves and see what they did wrong.
  • Camtasia – an app for teachers to record lessons, explaining the rules of sports games or right ways of doing physical exercises. Students can watch these lessons at home and practice in class afterward.
  • Coach Note – an app for both educators and students to create and share sports and tactics, translating them into real-life plays.
  • SprintTimer – a timer and photo finish to use during gym classes. Good for both short and long races.
  • Team Shake – an application for teachers to decide on teams in classes, developing team spirit and promoting friendly relations among all classmates.
  • SworkIt – an app to create video routines, setting the time beforehand. Based on schedules, a digital trainer helps to organize workouts.
  • Balance It – an application aimed at providing visual prompts to develop student gymnastic skills.

Virtual classes

The learning process is a two-way street. As the teacher relays information to the student, the student ought to have the right to challenge ideas and engage in discussion with the teacher in order to reach a deeper understanding.

Giving students the opportunity to express their views through a classroom blog is a route that has been taken by some K-12 classrooms and universities. These are valuable resources for discussion as well as developing student writing skills.

Edublogs and Kidblog are great platforms to host a classroom blog. Some benefits boasted by these blogs include:

  • better collaboration
  • blending into media
  • better communication skills
  • better learning
  • creative thinking
  • increased exposure

Virtual classes, hosted on video chat programs such as Skype or Oovoo, make lessons more purposeful and integrative as well as provide a resource for

wireless technologies (specifically wristbands). Online learning can work for physical education, too. Students track their activity and combine that with online courses about fitness principles, exercising, and nutrition.

Monitors and trackers

Speaking about technology in physical education, we can’t ignore all types of pedometers and trackers which help measure all of this physical activity.

Measuring steps, calories, and time spent active allows schools to customize student goals to their specific needs, making students feel involved and empowered in their physical education. This technology also allows creating long-term plans for advancing health as well as developing feedback for students in order to adjust their goals accordingly.

Conclusion

Physical education plays an integral role in developing healthy habits later in life. Technology reshapes the gym class model, turning the education experience from a sedentary lifestyle into a deeply involved physical experience.

Which of these technologies have you implemented for physical education in your school? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

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Mike Hanski

Mike Hanski blogs and creates content strategies for Bid4papers, where he shares writing advice and thoughts on classic lit. Speaking of digital classrooms, he is currently stuck with the idea on how to use Guitar Hero in education.

Comments

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Very interesting when you say about virtual classes using skype or Oovoo would like to know or see virtual gym classes, do you can relate ou give me examples where gym ou teacher are managing those?

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