Tidbits in Tech: Integration in Education/Technology in Physical Education, Is It Possible?

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Is it Possible?[edit | edit source]

When considering integrating technology into curriculum, physical education is not the first subject that comes to mind. Is it possible to integrate technology into physical education curriculum? Many would think that it isn’t possible, but it is just not the typical technology that is integrated into physical education. When people think of integrating technology into education, most would think of computers, smart boards, power points, internet, Ipad and many more but with physical education the technology is very different. The goal in physical education is to get students physically active. Most of the technology that is thought of when talking about education doesn’t incorporate physical activity. Contrary to popular belief there is a way to integrate technology into physical education. There are many different technology tools a teacher could use to make teaching physical education easier like an Ipad, but it wouldn’t really further the students physical activity. A few ways to increase physical activity while integrating technology that are touched on in this chapter are heart rate monitors, exergames, geocaching and sports simulation equipment. This chapter will go over the not only the advantages but also the disadvantages of using technology in physical education. By the end of this chapter you will see how the integration of technology into the physical education classroom is possible and have both positive and negative effects on students. It is important to remember that what works well for one class may not work well for the next class so try and get to know your students. If you try something and it doesn't work that is ok, give something else a try. This requires you to be diverse and knowledgeable which is hopefully something we can help you build by reading and learning the information presented in this chapter. Enjoy!!!!

Heart Rate Monitors[edit | edit source]

Today in physical education one main goal is fitness and well being. There are many ways that physical education teachers achieve their goal of increasing their students’ fitness level. One way teacher help student increase their fitness level is by heart rate monitors. When using a heart rate monitor it can help show students what it really means to be physically active and what it does to their body. Heart rate monitors are used to calculate the individuals’ heart rate per minute very quickly.

There are several different pieces of types of heart rate monitors used. The most basic type of heart rate monitor is the watch and chest strap combination. Or there is also just a watch like heart rate monitor. There also the heart rate monitors that are included on treadmills, bicycles and elliptical machines. The heart rate monitors on machines are as accurate. Like the heart rate monitors on a treadmill, there are also heart rate monitors they are in a shape of a bar, hand grip. These heart rate monitor look similar to ones that are on treadmills because they use the same use the same gripping motion.

One way for the teacher to see how his/her students are doing is to get software that collects data from the heart rate monitors that the students are wearing. There is a PE Manager that can be used off a computer to store, analyze and report students’ daily activities during class. So this way not only would the students see what their heart rate is but the teacher can also monitor their students’ efforts. Heart rates are a great tool to improve fitness level. The main purpose of a heart rate monitor is enable people to adjust the exercise level for maximal benefits. When using a heart rate monitor students have to learn about their correct target heart rate zone which they can use for long term fitness activities, like when they are done with physical education class. A heart rate monitor can help the person train correctly in order to strengthen their heart. By exercising in a person’s target heart rate zone it will make the heart stronger and more efficient. When the heart is more efficient it will circulate blood and oxygen to the body more effectively. When a person exercises above their target heart rate zone will cause their body to fatigue at a more rapid pace. On the other hand if a person is exercises to far below their target heart rate no improvements will be gained. So either over or under a person’s target heart rate can be negative on a person’s training.

A heart rate monitor can be a great way to motivate students as well. A heart rate monitor can show the teacher and student the progress that the student has made over the course of the class. A student will be able to see when they are really working hard by statistics. They will also be able to see when they might be not giving their best effort when it comes to physical activity. So instead of students just noticing that running 10 minutes is easier at the end of a semester, they can see statistics. When using a heart rate monitor they can see the statistics of their own heart rate and see that it is lower than the beginning of the semester. The teacher could also use a heart rate monitor as a management tool as well. If there are students who say they are out of breath all the time and need a break, the teacher can easily look at their heart rate. If the students heart rate is high then the student can take a break but if the students heart rate is low, the teacher can send the student back into physical activity.

Overall, heart rate monitors are a great way of incorporating technology into physical education. When using a heart rate monitor it doesn’t effect class time, they don’t hinder the time a student is being physically active. Heart rate monitors are used as extra beneficial equipment. Heart rate monitors can evaluate students’ level of physical activity during class. They serve as a great way to motivate, self assess and increase the effectiveness of a workout or physical activity.

Exergames[edit | edit source]

Exergames are one example of how technology can be used in physical education. Nothing connects with school children in today’s society more than technology. This fact alone is what inspired the creation of the term exergames. With raising obesity rates and an increase in poor health among American children, physical educators have been desperate to find an away to get student up off the couches and moving. It became easy to see that decreasing the amount of time kids spend playing video games was going to be very challenging and somewhat impossible. Due to these revelations educators began to look for alternative ideas thus leading to the idea and development of exergames. Exergames are video game technology that combines with fitness. Predictably exergames significantly increase the appeal of physical education class and physical activity in general. The increase in appeal of physical education class is due to the fact that exergames generally make the classroom environment more entertaining, challenging and gratifying.

Dance Dance Revolution

One of the most well known exergames is called Dance Dance Revolution. This game is highly interactive and allows kids to be physically active by instructing students to use their feet to tap on buttons on a sensor mat. In 2006 the International Journal of Sports medicine published an article that was designed to study and “determine if there were any differences in the sub maximal energy cost of movement between overweight and non-overweight children while playing…Dance Dance revolution and to determine if the cardiorespiratory measures obtained while playing the game met the American college of Sports Medicine recommendations for developing and maintain cardiorespiratory fitness”. The results of the study showed that a little over an hour of DDR is a sufficient amount to help students lose weight and reach the appropriate amount of exercise to meet recommendation guidelines.

The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics printed an article in December of 2006 which “examined the effect of activity-enhancing screen devices on children’s energy expenditure compared with performing the same activities while seated”. The people who conducted this study hypothesizes that “energy expenditure would be significantly greater when children played activity-promoting video games, compared with sedentary video games”. The results of this study showed that the energy expenditure was over double sedentary screen time when converted to active screen time. The results of the test let doctors to believe that, “such interventions might be considered for obesity prevention and treatment”. These articles are just a few of many articles that have been published in support of exergames and new articles are coming out on a daily basis.


Another type of exergames that has gained popularity over the past four years is the Wii. This exergames came out in late 2006. It was reported that user of this game left people out of breath and sore as if they had just returned from the gym. This gym was revolutionary and unlike any other traditional video game. The Wii gets consumers up off the couch and exercising several muscles within the body. The main game that comes with the Wii is entitled Wii sport. This game allows users to mimic the motions used in sports. Some of the sports within this game include boxing, tennis, baseball, golf, and bowling. The wide variety of sports allows for a high consumer attention and use of the game system. One of the main feature that make the Wii so appealing is the different levels of difficulty in each game this allows for an increase in the number of people who are able to participate in playing the games. If you do not have a partner to play the Wii with you the game will let you either play against a computer generated opponent or you can participate in one of several training games. The training games allow you to practice individual skills and improve your game play for the competition portions of the game.

Wii Fit

A great fitness tool that can be used on the Wii is the game Wii Fit. This game allows individual to get a specialized fitness program that will chart their progress and help them reach fitness goals. One of the first things you do when you use the we fit for the first time is enter your own personal information and let the system record your current weight. You also enter your age and height so the system can guide you to setting personal fitness goals that are both healthy and obtainable. After you goals are set the system will track you progress towards reaching your goals.

Game Bikes

The creators of The GameBike had a goals to “employ the FUN of video games to fight the FAT of a sedentary lifestyle”. They are working to active this goal by setting up a system that can be used with any game the only difference is the play but use a GameBike or GamePad as the control. By taking the controller away and using a GameBike or GamePad the person must get up off the couch and be active.

The nice thing about GameBike is that the type of gaming console you need for the GameBike is not very limited. The GameBike has the ability to be plugged into any game console. According to GameBike.com “You can use Playstation™ PS2™ & PS3™ (using the Game Gear adapter). You can also use X-Box™ and GameCube™ systems”. You also do not need a special TV monitor for the GameBike. Any TV or monitor will work. It is simple you just need to plug a gaming console into the TV. There is also not special GameBike game that I need to buy in order to pedal or dance. GameBike does not make games.

Sports Simulators[edit | edit source]

Sports simulators are pieces of equipment that incorporate computer software to simulate real life movements in sports- like settings. These pieces of equipment allow you to be active and play almost any sport in the comfort and privacy of your own home. There are many different sports and activities that you can play. With this technology, you are able to play golf, basketball, volleyball, baseball, hockey, bowling, archery, soccer and others all year- round and indoors. These state of the art systems use high speed vision cameras that can take two thousand pictures each and every second. These cameras are able to determine the exact trajectory, speed, and direction of any object with proven pin-point accuracy. These machines use a combination of high speed performance CCD chips, the latest in LED technology, and state-of-the-art optics to track any object from any location. This technology can be used in many ways. It can be used in residential, commercial, educational, and training settings. There is a range of shapes and sizes that can fit in almost any room and budget. With software for almost any sport, there is no limit on what you can do. Let’s look at the many different sports and activities to play with this technology.


With visual golf, you can play eighteen holes of golf from many of the world’s most famous golf courses or compete in many different events such as multiplayer, longest drive, closest to the pin, and many other different golf competitions and contests. Players can also utilize a target based driving range, chipping and putting green, which will allow that player to practice and improve specific skills of their golf game. And with the use of the latest GPS data, satellite imagery, and 3-D graphics allow the player to play at many of the worlds famous golf courses. These systems also use photo-realistic images and computer generated golf software that gives the player a realistic, fun way to play golf all year round. This technology will also keep track of your score, ball speed, shot direction, angle, and spin rates.


This kind of technology is also available for basketball. This technology allows the player to shoot a real basketball at simulated hoops with a vast array of awesome and realistic backgrounds. Basketball simulators can allow you to play in many different venues that range from parks to street courts. You can also practice many basketball skills including; passing, shooting, and foul shots. With this software you are able to play virtual basketball in a fun and interactive way.


In this type of sports simulation, players are able to play the quarterback position and throw a real football to moving receivers at different distances and positions on the field. Not only can you play quarterback and work on passing skills, but you can also practice kicking field goals through realistic goal posts. You are able to practice many of these skills in authentic stadium-like venues.


In a simulated baseball game you are able to pitch to realistic and intimidating batters. There is also a built-in speed gun that tells the players how fast they are pitching to the batters. This sophisticated technology provides true pitching simulation, regulation size and properly located strike zone, hitter, catcher, and umpire reactions, and realistic batter behavior. During the game, the scoreboard displays accurate information about the pitcher’s velocity, strikeouts, balls and strikes, score, and the number of base runners. After the game is over, there is also an accurate count of pitches, percentages of balls and strikes thrown, hits, walks, and runs. This technology gives the player feedback and statistics on how well they played which helps the player practice and improve their pitching skills. By having this type of real game simulation the player has the ability to be put in a game like situation which will improve their reaction and allow them to better handle how they react during games. In tern, this will motivate the player to do better the next time they play.


Virtual soccer allows the player to practice dribbling with real soccer balls and shooting on goal keepers. These goal keepers can react in real time to try and save each shot. The soccer simulator collects data while the game is going on that allows the player to see the number of shots taken, velocity of each shot, number of goals scored, and overall scoring percentages.


Virtual hockey allows the player to practice shooting on a realistic goalie on life-size regulation goals. Players can also test their shots on corner targets, tested on speed, accuracy, and reflex time. During the player’s session, the hockey simulator’s system calculates and share player data. This equipment can track number of shots taken, velocity, goals scored, and overall score. There is also a report summary at the end of the game that shows a display of all shots taken and where they player scored from. Each time they player plays the game, these statistics accumulate over time and reports on the players tendencies, which can help the player single out specific skills that they need to work on.

Using Sports Simulators in Physical Education

Sports simulators have many useful features that can be used in physical education. This sophisticated equipment can allow the students to practice many different skills in a limited amount of space. It can also allow the teacher to track the student’s progress in a variety of sports skills and see what areas of the player’s game need to be improved. Another way these simulators can be used in physical education is when the teacher lacks gym space. When there are other events going on in the gym, the space is limited for activities. When teachers cannot utilize the gym space, they are forced to use another classroom. Simulators could be moved to another room within the school and be used to play many different sports games. The teacher can still teach important sports skills by using the simulators. Not only could these systems be important with limited space, but they can help motivate students to improve their skills. Simulators can help make learning fun and enjoyable for students, and improve their sports skills at the same time. The disadvantage of using this technology is that it is very expensive and doesn't get the student as active as they need to be. The main purpose of having Physical Education in school is to get kids moving for as long as possible, and trying to integrate this technology on a daily basis would limit the actual time spent being physically active in schools. Another factor is that today's students spend too much time using technology, and when they go to Physical Education classes, they are able to get away from the computers and ipods for a while and take a break by being physically active in P.E.

Geocaching[edit | edit source]

One of the newer uses of technology in physical education has been through Geocaching. Geocaching is a fairly new activity used in physical education class that involves the use of a GPS. With the advances and use of GPS units this type of activity has become a great way to incorporate outdoor adventure and technology. In recent years physical education, especially in high school, has begun a movement towards lifetime activities. Through this philosophy, Geocaching has gained popularity throughout the United States and the World. With today’s students growing up in a technology world it is important to incorporate and use technology in all classrooms, especially in physical education. Technology is often thought of in terms of computers, television, video games, and other devices that require a sedentary state. GPS units and other devices of technology that involve physical activity are great to promote healthy lifestyles in this technology and media world we live in.

Geocaching involves using a GPS to find or hide a Cache in a public forest, park, or place. A Cache is a box or container that contains an object from the individual who placed it and a log to write names of people who found the Cache. In Geocaching, an individual will hide a Cache in a public place. They will then mark the coordinates from there GPS. After placing and noting the coordinates, the individual then goes online to www.geocaching.com to place their coordinates into the online log of Caches. Once the Cache has been logged onto the website, anyone on the world can log on and find the coordinates. Mainly local Geocache enthusiast will search local coordinates and try to find Caches in local areas. Once a person finds a Cache, they will log that the found the Cache by writing their name in the log book, usually just their first name. Then once that individual gets back home they can go online and mark that they have found the Cache and write any comments they have about the journey or the difficulty of the find. This type of activity is great because it involves the real world as well as creates a community of individuals through online communication. This type of activity incorporates technology and physical activity as well as adventure.

With Geocaching there are a lot of positives and advantages to the activity. One is that the activity is a lifetime activity. Students can learn how to Geocache and then participate in the activity throughout their lives. In finding Caches, individuals walk, hike, and climb terrain to find their destination. Along with this, individuals learn to use GPS units and learn how to read and find coordinates. The greatest aspect of Geocaching is that is brings into account so many areas of technology and physical activity. It is great that the website lets you collaborate with other people and allows you to post comments from the trek.

In looking at the disadvantages of Geocaching one major area is supervision. When planning a Geocaching unit for physical education, modifications are going to have to be made in order to scale down and monitor students out finding caches. Supervision and finding an area with enough Geocaches can be difficult. Another disadvantage is having enough GPs units for your students. GPS units are very costly for a school district and with the physical education budget what it is, it may be hard to find funds to purchase the equipment needed to Geocache.

Overall, Geocaching is a great way to incorporate technology into physical education. Geocaching incorporates GPS coordinates, physical activity, and outdoor adventure all in one. It is a great lifetime activity that students can take from school and bring home to use with family and friends. With the use of the website, all individuals involved in the hide or search can collaborate and create a Cache worth finding.

According to the Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site Geocaching.com "Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment". (http://www.geocaching.com/)

Disadvantages of Technology in Physical Education[edit | edit source]

The goal of physical education is to increase physical activity and fitness levels. When incorporating technology into physical education curriculum it could decrease the time the class has for students to be motor engaged. When students have less time of being engaged in physical activity the whole reason for physical education class is lost.

Is it possible for students to learn physical education with out technology? Yes, it is very possible and that is what is happening today. With budgets decreasing every year in school systems, some physical education department's funds are being cut very low or even eliminated. So with little funds already, buying technology would seem like a step backwards. If it is possible to run a physical education effectively with out technology, then it is done. Money is very scarce in school systems, so in what ever way possible teachers need to lower their budgets and with physical education, teachers stick to the basics to help keep costs low. Using technology in any educational setting is expensive and due to that fact that useful technology in physical education is so new it is currently very costly. Being able to provide enough technology equipment for to put into each of your students had is very costly.

One of the big disadvantages of technology in physical education is that students tend to lose out on learning team building skills. When things such as exergames are used in Physical Education only one or two students are playing each game and they are not working as a team. In life, team work is key and having good team work and communication skills within the work field is important to being successful. By using technology and decreasing the students chance to work with others as a team is a disadvantages and a lose of a learning experience.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

There are many different ways to integrate and utilize technology in Physical Education. There is a range from the basic tools such as heart rate monitors, pedometers, and GPS, to complex computer generated sports simulators and exergames. The point is, that technology can be used in physical education and there may be advantages of that, but at what cost? Using technology may help students to be more engaged and motivated to learn, but they may not be as physically active as they need to be in Physical Education. The main goal of Physical Education is to get all students moving and being physically active. And when teachers try to utilize and integrate technology in their classes, they use precious class time to set up, turn on, and take down equipment, which means less time to get students moving. Physical Education is an important class to get away from technology and learn team work and how to be healthy. If we don't show kids how to do things without technology, they could become too dependent on it in the future, and not be as active when they become adults.

Resources[edit | edit source]

(n.d.). In Visual Sport Systems. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://www.visualsportssys.com/

Messali, J. (2010, February). Heart Rate Monitors in Physical Education. Retrieved November 23 2010. http://www.ehow.com/facts_6001473_heart-rate-monitors-physical-education.htm

Schieselp, S. (2007, April) P.E. Classes Turn to Video Game That Works Legs. Retrieved November 24 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/health/30exer.htm

Henning, M. (2007, September) Video Games That Keep Kids Fit. Retrieved November 23 2010. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1661688,00.html

The Exergame Network. Updated:(2010, July) Teachers Demand Physical Education Overhaul. Retrieved November 22 2010.

Game Bikes TM. Using the GameBike and GamePad for Kids’ Fitness Classes. Retrieved November 30 2010. http://www.gamebike.com/trainers_1.php

Groundspeak Inc. Welcome to Geocaching. Retrieved December 1 2010. http://www.geocaching.com/