America is facing a crisis of childhood obesity. This generation of children is not expected to live as long as their parents and will face even higher costs for healthcare if we can’t help them change. Georgia ranks second in the nation for childhood obesity, which isn’t something we want to be known for among other states in our Union.
To help students make a change, many schools are implementing technology tools for physical education classes. Students are electively engaging with technology in their free time, so it makes good sense to “go where they are” and bring technology into PE classes.
Last year, West Virginia schools bought Dance Dance Revolution to encourage activity for more than “just the jocks” and found that, "kids [who] would not otherwise play sports or get off the sidelines in gym class are finding DDR to be a fun, appealing option that gets them burning calories without feeling like they’re exercising," reports Susan Promislo, spokeswoman for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Other schools are using Wii Fit to encourage activity. Wii Fit also enables users to work out at light or vigorous settings depending on their fitness and skill levels, which make it more widely useful. It is also valuable in that it is built to monitor progress as well.
Not all physical education classroom technology has to be as big and pricey like gaming systems and their accessories. Jump ropes are now made with built-in counters so students can keep track of their progress or compete with friends for most jumps in a time frame. Simple tools like stop watches and pedometers can be great tech tools for engaging students. Additionally, having students keep track of their progress is an excellent way use cross-platform strategies with math, science, and literacy skills, supporting the Common Core.
Tech Tools for PE Classrooms:
• Stop watches
• Digital jump ropes
• Exercise DVDs
• Heart rate monitors
• Video Games