How Do You Envision the State of K-12 Physical Education in 2020?

JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, February 2011 | Go to article overview

How Do You Envision the State of K-12 Physical Education in 2020?


With the obesity rate on the rise, physical education needs to regain its focus on the physical aspect of the subject matter. I envision K-12 physical education in the year 2020 incorporating much more technology into the curriculum, which will increase student interest and engagement. For generations, gymnasiums have been designed to incorporate as many basketball hoops as possible. However, basketball hoops have been a huge hindrance to physical education classes when units other than basketball are being taught. Rather, gymnasiums of the future should be designed with virtual equipment that provides instant feedback to students and teachers. Technological advances such as video recording, movement and target sensors, screens for instant feedback, and easy-to-use editing equipment should be considered when designing or renovating a gymnasium. These advancements would generate benefits throughout the entire K-12 physical education curriculum. Schools will still have to be equipped with basketball hoops in order to fulfill their extracurricular activities, but is it not time to design gyms primarily for physical education classes?

--Peter J. Mathis, health and physical education teacher, girl's volleyball coach, J. E. B. Stuart High School, Falls Church, VA.

I believe that the state of K-12 physical education in the year 2020 will be either the same or worse than it is today. Over the past few decades, physical education has been highly recommended for its potential to contribute to public health goals. With the exception of the Carol M. White Physical Education Program funding, however, few strides have been made to improve programs and their delivery. There has been much emphasis on the importance of the No Child Left Behind Act, but physical education has been put on the backburner and little effort has been made to help the overall well-being of students. If these trends continue, in the year 2020 physical education will be seen as unnecessary by most students, administrators, and school board members who do not see the significance of living a physically active lifestyle. If we want to increase awareness and make changes in physical education, we all need to take a stand and advocate for our program and our students.

--Kathryn Holt, graduate student, Sports Education Leadership, University of Nevada--Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

I foresee physical education turning more into a fitness-oriented class that occurs every day. With the rising obesity rates, I could see the government finally stepping up and requiring each school to have daily physical education to try to combat the problem. Also, considerable research has been done on the effect of physical activity on brain function and the positive outcomes that come from doing daily physical activity. Our government often claims that it must cut "elective" subjects such as physical education and art in order to gain ground on other countries that have scored higher on standardized math and science tests. Hopefully after more research is done on the positive effects of physical activity on brain function, our society will finally realize that there is more to physical education than just playing games.

--Robbie Narrow, graduate student in education, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO.

By the year 2020, I see physical education being a fitness- and nutrition-based experience taught both physically and through different technological and virtual-reality tools. Recently, physical education has headed more towards fitness, and new fitness video games are released all the time. Though it may not be what I wish for, I do see a more straightforward approach being taken. Instead of providing lifelong fitness activities and sports as a fun way to stay healthy and encouraging students to see the hidden benefits of health, I see curricula focusing more on activities to remedy the obesity problem by offering fitness and nutrition information by way of physical training with and without visual aids and gaming stations. …

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