What is Technology in Physical Education?

Technology is all around us – it’s kind of hard to get away from it, right? TV’s, laptops, smart homes, electric everything. When you take a step back and consider the technological advancement of our society in just the past 5 years it’s impressive. We have become dependent on it, it has changed our behavior and changed the way we think, learn and do. That being said, there are many ways to integrate technology in physical education. Consider the different ways or reasons for integrating technology and that will lead you towards different technologies. For example if you want to:

  • Track activity – your options may include pedometers, heart rate monitors, and applications on phones
  • Present information – there a range of physical technology of smart TV’s and projectors and many options in terms of software that can help you organize a presentation (e.g. PowerPoint/Google Slides, Peardeck, Canva, Nearpod, etc.) 
  • Assess learning – with tools like plickers, Kahoot, and Socrative

Simply, there are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom and each has its own pros and cons when considering cost, your technology wherewithal to implement the tool, competencies of students, access to wifi, and much more. 

Of course, to further complicate educational technology we have to consider in what context the technology will be used. I previously wrote a blog post on integrating the Hiveclass Better PE platform including flipped learning. Flipped learning is just one of several classroom contexts (face-to-face, hybrid, or online) and depending on your context you will make different choices related to the types of technology that are chosen. 

Perhaps the most important question when considering integrating technology into your classroom is “Why?” What value does integrating technology bring for you and your students to advance the learning outcomes in your class? One of the biggest mistakes teachers make when integrating technology is what the PE Geek describes as “Shiny Object Syndrome” – that the technology is really cool and we get really excited about it (GUILTY!) however it may not actually be better. Also described in the article are important considerations that integrating technology: 

  1. Cannot replace good teaching
  2. Takes support to do well
  3. Will result in successes and failures

Technology in physical education can take many forms and be implemented for any number of reasons. I know educators that integrate a wide variety of technology and some that integrate one or two tools. No matter where you are on the technology integration spectrum, there is technology available that can help enhance instruction. One type I believe can be used by all educators to help supplement and enhance instruction is video-based instruction 

Why Video-Based Instruction?

One aspect of instructional technology that can be used in any context is the use of videos for instruction. Did you know that 83% of people prefer videos over text or audio for instruction or information? Unfortunately, it’s not always feasible for an educator to find the time, money and resources necessary to create their own content. 

The cost and time barriers to produce high quality video instruction were on display during the pandemic. Instructional videos were in high demand during the peak of the pandemic when we were all teaching online and we all saw (and perhaps created) videos related to physical education instruction. Personally, I found it difficult to find quality videos that were developmentally appropriate and addressed the skills I wanted to cover. If I found a video it might have covered the right skill but the cues used to break down the skill were inappropriate to my context, or it might have been the right cues and break down of a skill but the audio and/or video were extremely poor. It was virtually impossible to find a video that checked all the boxes in that it was:

  1. Developmentally appropriate
  2. Standards-based
  3. Was accurate
  4. Had good quality audio and video

Honestly, it was (and still is!) hard to find USEABLE standards-based instructional videos to supplement my physical education pedagogy.

So what is the solution?

At the end of the day educators need to weigh many factors as highlighted above when making decisions about what technology is manageable for their context. As you will see below Hiveclass’s video-based content is developmentally appropriate, standards-based, uses age appropriate models, uses best practices, and has high quality video and audio. Additionally, the instructional videos account for best practice, for example keeping videos brief to optimize engagement. The instructional skill videos are organized by unit and cover skills ranging from introductory/beginning skills to more dynamic and advanced skills. This makes finding the video you want easier and makes it easier to personalize content to the varied needs, interests, and abilities of your students. 

It’s worth noting that the Better PE curriculum by Hiveclass was created BY educators FOR educators, which means the challenges of today’s teachers are accounted for and addressed. Hiveclass is also constantly adding new content and making updates based on feedback. The video in this blog post is just a small snapshot of what Hiveclass has to offer. To learn more and stay up to date on the latest and greatest I encourage you to sign up for the newsletter, and follow along on Instagram and Twitter.

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