Teachers Demand Physical Education Overhaul

The article below was written and released by TEN, a modern day health and fitness global advocacy that is passionate about improving the physical education standards in our schools. This article was released for US consumption but I believe it’s views are just as relevant in Australia. Exergaming Australia is a proud member of TEN.

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Scientific research supports physical activity as an effective approach to minimize mounting health concerns and Physical Education teachers are using this research and exciting new methods to re-define “what is PE”. PE teachers are the doing their part by rasing awareness that fitness can be fun, in a way that kids today understand – technology.

border=0 The technology skilled PE teachers of today are learning to use “exergames” in classes – exergames are video-games combined with fitness. Nothing engages today’s school children more than technology, so it is no surprise exergames dramatically raise interest in PE class by making the class fun, challenging and rewarding. Exergaming is advocated throughout the U.S. by The Exergame Network (TEN). TEN’s mission is to share information, success stories and act as a portal resource for exergaming via it’s education wiki and blog.

Pioneering PE teachers encountered early challenges, sometimes experimenting with games consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, as a format to drive a PE class. Leading PE teachers now eagerly share the formula for success by using a wide range of exergame implementations. Successfully trialed exergames meet recommended exercise guidelines and can be integrated into structured PE lessons to the enjoyment and benefit of all students. Many PE teachers have developed the skills to use exergaming in a developmentally appropriate way, according to guidelines from PE centers of excellence, as a tool which can motivate and energize today’s youth.

A Florida PE teacher spoke confidently in support of exergaming, “This is the first time in 11 years of teaching PE that I’ve had to kick kids out of class who don’t want to stop exercising.” One student summarizes the feelings of those involved in structured exergaming PE class “If the whole United States had a room like this, then this world would be a better place.” This evidence, supported by peer reviewed research, comes directly from the University of South Florida’s, Active Gaming Research Lab’s web archives and represents just two of the many success stories of research into all ages and different implementations of exergaming.

The support for exergaming has reached global proportions, demonstrated by quotes from the BBC News posted in the Gamercize web archives. A PE student talks about the immersive nature of exergaming “Sometimes when you’re playing netball or basketball you get a bit tired and then you say ‘Oh I don’t want to do this anymore’ but this is really fun and I think I could do it all day.” Her teacher is aware of how exergaming increases student involvement in PE, “Its certainly not physical education as we know it, but thats not what we’re looking for. Some kids want to take part in this who wouldn’t want to play football or other conventional sports.”

Educators, researchers and editors alike are encouraged to use exergaming technology in their classes by first visiting the TEN resource sites to participate, ask questions to the worlds foremost experts, share news and ideas on exergaming in PE and PA. Resource information from TEN includes the five major categories of exergaming implementations, from dance pads to dedicated “workout” games, at http://exergamenetwork.blogspot.com/p/types-of-exergaming.html. TEN has also listed exergaming products available in the US with a collection of nearly 40 different exergaming choices covering aspects of PE with many different modes of physical activity at http://exergamenetwork.blogspot.com/p/exergame-products.html.

The Exergame Network can be joined or contacted via LinkedIn, Facebook, Wiki, Twitter or by email at info@exergamenetwork.org.

The video below shows pioneering P.E. Teachers in the UK, why should it be any different in the USA or Australia? Feel free to leave a comment or contact Exergaming Australia directly.

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