My belief regarding technology in Physical Education is that our field needs to be brought to the twenty-first century. I want to facilitate the development of healthy lifelong skills in my students that do not disparage modern technology, but rather utilize it to its fullest potential. In addition, I feel all educators are responsible for instilling and promoting proper use and etiquette as it relates to technology by being an effective role model of technology use.
In order to bring our field into the modern day, I have made multiple attempts to incorporate technology in my gymnasium. I often employ the use of a computer and projector when introducing a new sport or activity the students are not familiar with. When starting a unit on Tchoukball, I found a highlight reel to play at the opening of the unit. I showed the students this video and used it as a tool to teach the basic premise of the game. I also encouraged them to look it up for themselves at home. The internet can be very valuable when used properly to learn about new things.
During my line dance unit I always have students ask me if I learned all the dances in college. I reply by telling them that although I learned some of them from college most of them I found out how to do on You Tube. Again, this is something that students use frequently, but may not see the benefit academically. This issue of course expands beyond the scope of students, into school policy and parents. Most schools I know of have You Tube blocked, because it is often used to waste time and view videos that are inappropriate. I feel that we need to move beyond this and find a way to allow the use of valuable resources such as You Tube, while monitoring to ensure they are used appropriately. I think that by pushing this idea of nothing good being found on site like You Tube we are not teaching our students how to actually be educated users of technology. We should instead be working with them on realizing what is beneficial and accurate as opposed to what is actually a waste of time. To say the use of You Tube as a whole is invaluable is not doing out students any favors.
Other technologies that are linked more closely to Physical Education certainly have value in accomplishing my goals. The use of pedometers, allow my students a better way to track what they are doing. When I have used pedometers I see and increase in movement and students asking if they can just get up and walk around to get more steps. If a dollar store piece of technology can encourage these students to be more active, than it should certainly be used. I am then able to stress the health benefits of walking to the students because they now “buy in” to what they are doing. Much in the same way, incorporating the two heart rate monitors I have allow the students to actually see how physical activity changes what is happening in their heart rate and allows an opportunity to instill some of what is necessary to develop life long skills. Again, showing how technology can benefit your health.
During my practicum I was lucky enough to be in a school that had a Nintendo Wii and a Playstation 2. With the use of these technologies I was able to develop a fitness unit with an emphasis on exergaming. Video games are a huge part of many students’ lives and rather than tell them how bad they are, I would rather introduce them to healthier gaming options that incorporate exercise. We are not going to get students to stop playing by sharing with them obesity rates for youth. However, we may be able to get them to adjust some playing habits so that they are less at risk.
I think my effective use of technology and inclusion of the internet as a resource makes me a good role model for my students. I cite things when I use them and I also mention to my students how to be an educated consumer when using the internet. I check multiple sources so as not to believe something that is untrue. When I show something from a website or some other online source I stress how it is I know it is a trustworthy source. By doing these things myself that we make our students do, I am showing it is not just done to satisfy your teacher, but rather done to show that you are using technology in the correct way.
My involvement in online education is another way I am enhancing my technological skill as well as develop appropriate habits which will allow me to become a better role model. I have taken two undergraduate courses online as well as four graduate level courses through two Massachusetts state universities. These courses are providing me with the means to find and use information obtained online as well as communicate effectively in an online environment.
My personal belief really focuses on the importance of becoming a good role model of technology use. If I expect my students to use technology appropriately than I better be sure I am too. To try and ignore technology as a Physical Education teacher and say that the students have enough technology in their lives already, is doing a disservice to our youth and our field. Instead we should be pushing the proper use and benefits of incorporating technology in our classes. For the past two years I have looked into obtaining an interactive whiteboard for the Wellness program. I am constantly denied, however, I am trying to get more technology into my gymnasium so I can further push proper use and the benefits. I do believe that technology, if used correctly can be invaluable to our students as they progress into adulthood in a wired world by providing them the tools necessary to use this technology to their advantage. I do however, also recognize that if used inappropriately, technology can be a waste of time and valuable resources.