There has been a shift in education – a shift that has changed an American tradition in education. Students must now read in gym class. “Spurred by an intensifying focus on student test scores in math and English as well as a desire to incorporate more health and fitness information,” school districts and physical education teachers have had to recreate the American gym class in a way that no longer resembles the nostalgic view of gym class most Americans hold (Rich, 2013).</p
Computers can hold a huge relative advantage for p.e. teachers looking to increase literacy activities into gym class. Khun (2001) explains that “computers can be extremely helpful in providing learners with opportunities to explore information across the curriculum in a highly motivating manner.” The National Physcial Education Standardsf have moved their focus from sports education to health literacy, “the capacity of individuals to obtain, interpret, and understand basic health information along with the competence to use such information to enhance health” (Roblyer and Doering, 2013).
Introductory activities or homework assignments that include reading, researching, and writing, about sports and health related topics online are only a few of the ways that technology can be integrated into the gym curriculum. There are a multitude of programs out there including calorie trackers or exercise and fitness programs that students can be asked to use to track and understand their own fitness levels. “The interactive nature of these sites has the potential to engage students with their research to a greater degree than would usually be the case with more traditional methods” found in gym class like pen and paper journals or exercise check lists (Khun, 2001).
This shift in physical education curriculum is an effort to extend literacy objectives and skills into non-core classrooms. The relative advantage technology brings to the table cannot be overlooked.
For additional resources on using technology in gym class, check out this site: http://www.internet4classrooms.com/links_grades_kindergarten_12/physical_education_pe_health.htm
Kuhn, M. (2001, April). Taking computers out of the corner: Making technology work in the classroom. Reading Online, 4(9). Retreived April 13, 2013. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/electronic/elec_index.asp?HREF=/electronic/kuhn/index.html
Rich, M. (2013, February 18). Gym Class Isn’t Just Fun and Games Anymore – NYTimes.com. Retrieved April 13, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/education/gym-class-isnt-just-fun-and-games-anymore.html?_r=0
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Publishers.