Pedagogical Uses of Technology in Physical Education: Choose Your Technology to Aid Your Teaching, Rather Than Designing Your Lesson to Fit the Available Technology

By Juniu, Susana | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, November-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Pedagogical Uses of Technology in Physical Education: Choose Your Technology to Aid Your Teaching, Rather Than Designing Your Lesson to Fit the Available Technology


Juniu, Susana, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


The effective preparation of teachers in the use of educational technology has been extensively discussed by researchers in the past few years (Koehler & Mishra, 2008; Liang, Walls, Hicks, Clayton, & Yang, 2006; Settlage, Odom, JL. & Pedersen, 2004; Smerdon et al., 2000). Questions such as how to teach a subject with technology in a pedagogically appropriate way and how to develop the knowledge base to design and implement technology-infused lessons in physical education are often addressed in preservice teacher education programs (Kirschner &c Sellinger, 2003).

The literature suggests that effective technology integration with specific subject matter requires teachers to apply their knowledge of curriculum content, general pedagogies, and technologies (Koehler, Mishra, & Yahya, 2007), This approach, known as the "technological pedagogical content knowledge" model (TPCK, Koehler & Mishra 2008), is grounded on Shulman's (1987) idea that teachers should be able to apply their content knowledge in a pedagogically sound way that is adaptable to the characteristics of students and of the educational context (e.g., the gymnasium).

Because physical education is usually taught in a gymnasium or outdoors, it is important for teacher education programs to prepare teachers to infuse technology in a way that will support the pedagogical strategies used in those settings. Teachers need to learn and practice teaching skills in a context as similar as possible to the one they will teach in later. Teachers are expected to know how computers and other technological devices can contribute to data collection for the analysis of sport skills, to the assessment of student learning, and to the evaluation of health-related physical fitness. This includes using exercise equipment to assess physical activity (e.g., accelerometers, heart rate monitors, pedometers, interactive dance machines), body composition (e.g., bioelectrical impedance devices, electronic skin-fold calipers), and movement and motor-skill performance (e.g., Dartfish). There are also a number of software packages used to record and analyze physical fitness, physical activity levels, and nutrition habits, such as TriFit, Fitnessgram, and Activitygram. PL Manager is another application used in physical education to track student performance via rubrics, tests, and assignments on a mobile device (Woods, Karp, Miao, & Perlman, 2008).

These expectations are reflected in the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and in the physical education teacher education (PETE) standards of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE, 2009). As stated in the ISTE standards, "Effective teachers model and apply the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS'S) as they design, implement, and assess learning experiences to engage students and improve learning; enrich professional practice; and provide positive models for students, colleagues, and the community" (ISTE, 2008). Bechtel (2010) explored the use of technology in the PETE program at her university while addressing national standard 3, outcome 3.7 for physical education teacher education: "Teacher candidates will: Demonstrate knowledge of current technology by planning and implementing learning experiences that require students to appropriately use technology to meet lesson objectives" (NASPE, 2009, p. 6). She found that technology was not being effectively infused across the PETE program. These results prompted changes in the program in order to address the need to prepare preservice teachers to use various forms of technology in their teaching practice. Bechtel recommended that technology be taught across the curriculum using progressive learning experiences that incorporate pedometers and heart rate monitors.

This article uses the TPCK framework as a way to prepare physical educators to employ a variety of instructional approaches that use technology to teach a subject matter effectively.

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