How Technology is Turning Physical Education on its Head

Be honest – how reliant are you on technology? If you ask us – we’re all bitterly glued to our mobile devices. It’s a blessing and a curse.

how reliant are you on technology?

Technology both makes life so much easier, but it also creates a habit that is increasingly difficult to break. 

Can we take a quick trip down memory lane? Who remembers the overhead projectors used in schools as little as 10-15 years ago? Other “vintage” items include the TV/VCR cart, floppy disks, wall pencil sharpeners and chalkboards – not to mention cassette and CD players. Those who went to school in the 80s/90s will feel sentimental remembering these items, younger generations won’t recognize them and may make fun of them – but that’s just how technology works. New tech solves challenges and provides solutions to certain problems, and unless it continuously evolves and thrives it will also one day become a nostalgic, outdated item. 

Technology today evolves so rapidly that even the most innovative and advanced products have a short self-life, and version 2.0 is usually just around the corner shortly after an original concept has been introduced. 

Technology already has a strong impact on how things are done in the classroom and within education, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit teachers and schools worldwide had to pivot and redefine what school looks like. It was the greatest experiment starring online education, and what happened will shape the future of teaching and learning. 

Physical Education Technology

Physical Education Technology

Let’s talk a little bit about the different classes kids take in school. Core subjects include math, science, English and history – and a lot of emphasis is placed on these classes and anything that may fall under the umbrella. Things like art, theater and physical education are lower on the totem pole, which explains why most resources are dedicated to core subjects and other programs are the first to experience loss with budget cuts. 

We know what technology in core subjects looks like – smart boards, expensive calculators, tablets and podcasts, but how do you integrate technology in physical education? What does this look like? Is it important? Is it making a difference? What is the future of #PhysEdTech? 

While we don’t have all the answers (YET), here are a few common options that have been integrated into physical education programs across the nation:

  • Wireless internet – who would have thought that we could have access to Wi-Fi in a gym!? As basic as this may seem, it provides teachers an opportunity to show videos of physical events like the Olympics, tournaments or how-to videos on specific exercises. 
  • Pedometers, heart monitors, smart watches and other trackers are a great way to measure physical activity. Measuring steps, calories and active time allows teachers to track progress, tailor plans for each student and provide valuable feedback that can guide and predict long-term health plans. Additionally, wearable monitors encourage students to be self-motivated to meet and exceed their daily physical goals. 
  • Virtual classes provide an extraordinary solution for kids who cannot attend P.E. in person – like most students during the 2020-2021 school year. It’s important to remember that physical education and physical activity are different – while it’s important to spend time outdoors and get our bodies moving, receiving physical education is much more than running a mile or learning the rules about a specific sport. There are also plenty of videos available on YouTube and other streaming services that can help students make progress through virtual instruction and demonstration.
  • While we don’t want kids to spend any more time than necessary in front of mobile devices, there are certain mobile apps that can supplement physical education technology. Some track movement, others offer nutritional guidelines – and some simply provide support, a community and a fun way to get involved in physical activity and education. 

There are countless apps, videos and software available to make specific tasks easier, in any industry! Physical education technology (PhysEdTech) is having a positive effect on classes, teachers and students with countless new tools, resources and information. Gone are the days where a gym teacher brings out a netted bag of balls and lets kids run wild for an hour. Physical education is becoming more structured and meaningful in an effort to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to lead long, healthy and physically active lives. 

As we embarked on the journey to bring Hiveclass to life, we realized that although videos and apps that teach certain sports skills exist all over the internet and the app store, no one is creating dedicated video instruction from A to Z. What this means is that you can find a YouTube video teaching you a certain trick, but how many videos from different online creators will you have to put together before you feel confident in a particular sport? Or better yet, can you learn physical education from an influencer who doesn’t know or understand physical education guidelines and curriculums? 

Hiveclass is an online platform that has curated products for families, educators and libraries. Our programs are customized to provide quick, easy-to-understand, engaging videos for athletes at every level – whether it’s a superstar MVP putting in the hours and practicing on their own time, or a beginner looking to experiment with different sports. We invite you to join us, explore our content library and commit to getting 1% better every day while building confidence through daily movement and Active Screentime.