Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Research Update: The Candid Camera: A Video Camera Can Be an Indispensable Tool in Physical Education Courses

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Research Update: The Candid Camera: A Video Camera Can Be an Indispensable Tool in Physical Education Courses

Article excerpt

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be worth a million. This adage seems to be holding some truth in physical activity settings. Particularly in aquatic settings, instructors can easily demonstrate skills by videotaping and reviewing adult students' movements. Adequate practice and appropriate feedback following video demonstrations increase students' skill performance and learning.

Eight-thousand nontraditional adult learners are enrolled at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. BCC is a diverse urban community college with a large population of Hispanic students attending college for the first time and whose first language is not English. Many BCC students take a fundamentals of swimming course to complete credit requirements or to learn to swim. However, the swimming course has no reading or writing prerequisites. Instead, the instructor found that reading-deficient students perform better if they have a visual understanding of the swim skill assigned.


In order to present the idea visually, the instructor makes his point using videotape. This allows for learning and self-assessment of swim progress with limited instructor feedback. This method is an effective way for students to implement corrective measures themselves to achieve positive outcomes. There are five areas of focus that have enhanced student observational learning and encouraged good end results in the videotape-based swimming course.

1. Taping Process

After three weeks of developing and reviewing basic push-off and glide, flutter kicking, and crawl-stroke arm movement in shallow water, learners are paired and given practice time to reinforce their learning with peer feedback under instructor supervision. All learners are gathered in the shallow water and asked to swim twice across the width of the swimming pool while being videotaped. Learners are instructed to concentrate on technique rather than speed. During the taping, the instructor can make positive suggestions by talking into the microphone. Students also watch as a single student swims twice the width of the pool while being taped. Afterward, the group collectively views the tape. The comments during the filming made by the instructor have been recorded on the video and are heard by students during the playback session.

2. Observational Learning and Self-Assessment

Learners view themselves during class and quickly develop a mental picture of their performance in the pool, encouraging them to make their own conclusion and corrections. Students are asked to write notes and remember the key points for later skill reproduction. This also helps students retain key points. Students make judgments based on their performance with a self-assessment sheet, which uses both descriptive and numerical values.

3. Scores

While scores are not used for grading purposes, they provide the learner and the instructor with valuable feedback on student progress. …

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