Physical Education and Computer Technology Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Computers Are an Underutilized Resource for High School Physical Education Teachers

Computers have become an integral part of the high school learning environment, beginning in the early 1990s. They provide a vast variety of resources to help enhance student education through presentation of material in a variety of media and act as an enhancement to teacher lessons. They can sometimes free teachers from routine tasks, allowing them to bring greater depth to the classroom environment.

The use of computers has revolutionized the learning experience for many students and has provided a valuable resource. Many of these resources have pointed this technology towards traditional subjects such as math and physics. The physical education classroom could enjoy just as many benefits from the use of a computer as the math of physics classroom. Yet most do not utilize this resource, either by choice, or administrative decision.

This research will focus on the reasons for and levels of usage of computer technology in the physical education departments of many high schools. The research will involve the use of a survey administered to high school physical education teachers regarding their use and level of knowledge of computers. The end result will be an overview of the use of technology by physical education teachers. It will support the thesis that computer technology is an underutilized resource in high school physical education departments. It will explore the reasons for this trend and suggest methods to remedy it.

Computers are an Underutilized Resource for High School Physical Education Teachers

General Introduction

Computer technology is an integral part of other subjects such as math and science, but has been seldom used as a learning tool in physical education. Other than for record keeping, the computer has been used very little. Children need to know the basics of physical conditioning and other topics that are not covered in health class. In health class, they learn the basics, but physical education could be so much more than it is today. Children need to learn how to stay fit. We know the health benefits and the advantages that exercise have on the brain's ability to learn. Physical education could use computer technology to give students a broader understanding of these topics.

In response the adoption of Federal guidelines, many States have adopted standards that schools should use to achieve educational standards in this area. Computers could be an asset in achieving every aspect of these goals, yet they are not being utilized. In the few cases where computers are being used by physical education departments, they are not being used to their full potential.

The purpose of this research will be to determine the level of usage of computers by high school physical education departments as well as the level of knowledge that physical education teachers have regarding the use of this technology. It will also give insight as to the attitudes of physical education teachers towards the use of computers in the physical education setting. It is the ultimate goal of this research to develop a solution to get more physical education departments to use computers for the maximum benefit of their student population.

Chapter 1


Computers are an integral part of many subjects such as math and physics, but one seldom associates computers with the subject of physical education. This study will explore the various aspects of computer use by high school physical education teachers to enhance their lesson plans. It will explore the current level and frequency of usage, the level of knowledge of the staff, examine any difficulties associated with he use of computers in the physical education setting.

Computer education is not a mandatory part of many college curricula. This stems from a long history that pictures the physical education teacher on the baseball diamond with hoards to screaming kids running around. This reflects a traditional view. However the face of physical education has been changing over many years. Now as a result of natural changes in educational role, advances in knowledge and the adoption of Federal and state standards for the inclusion of a wide variety of information into the curriculum, the physical education teacher now finds themselves in need of some of the resources and techniques used by teachers in other areas.

Physical Education now encompasses education about the various body systems and organs, nutrition, the effects of exercise, how to set individual fitness goals and make a plan to achieve them. It involves body mechanics and how to avoid disease and injury. It also involves how to work as a team. These subjects are taught in a more traditional classroom setting and require the physical education to become a more traditional classroom teacher, whereas in the past, they were thought of as more of a coach. Roles are changing for the physical education teacher and the methods and technology must change to meet their needs. If they do not, the only ones to suffer are the students.

Rationale for Study

The rationale for this study is founded, not on a wealth of existing information, but rather on a lack of information. There is a large amount of information regarding the use of computers and technology in the math classroom as well as in other subjects such as history or physics. There is however, little information available on the use of the computer in the physical education setting.

A preliminary examination of the literature available on the subject, resources and the current software available was conducted. Very few resources were found and the one that were found had a great deal of general knowledge and did little to give results of studies of specific applications. There is very little software available, it is limited in use and can be expensive.

Many reasons for the lack of usage of computers by physical education departments was suggested by the preliminary research. One of the key issues was accessibility and funding issues. It was found that many schools have limited resources to put into computer technology and they had to prioritize its distribution. As a result, computers ended up in the more technically oriented subjects and the physical education departments were considered last. This may be due to ideals about traditional roles of physical education teachers as a coach, rather than as a teacher.

Another factor is that there has nor been a focus on the technical knowledge base of physical education teachers relating to computer use. In order to get the most out of computer technology, the teacher must know more than how to turn it on and use the software. They must understand the principles behind the technology in order to find ever increasing new uses for the packages. There is a general perceived disinterest about computers by physical education teachers. This may be due to a socially oriented stereotype, or may reflect a real general trend in the personality of the physical education teacher. This topic could be studied in future research.

Computers have the availability to save time and add a valuable element to the physical education classroom. Yet, they are seldom used. The rationale for this study comes from a vast lack of knowledge regarding this trend. This study will explore the issues surrounding this topic and the results will help to find solutions in an attempt to bring more computers into usage in the physical education classroom.

Much of the information about computer usage and advantages in the classroom will be drawn from studies highlighting the advantages and successes of computer programs implemented in other subject areas. The implementation of computer technology in the classroom involves the formulation of a set of goals and a plan for achieving those goals using computer technology. Failure to formulate goals and develop a plan for achieving them results in a program without focus and the computer becomes little more than a plastic box on a table. A school wide plan for the use of technology should be implemented. However, individual plans should be a part of the larger whole as well.

There are many key principles and concepts in the development of a school wide technology implementation plan. These same elements will apply to the development of a plan to utilize computers in physical education as well. Many of the topics relevant to other subject areas also apply to the physical education department and the development of individualized technology plans. One key goal that should be included in the plan is a plan that uses computer technology in a manner that enhances the attainment of State Educational standards. This should be the key focus of implementing a plan for the implementation of a computer technology plan in the physical education department.

Scope of Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the key issues involved in the lack of computer usage in the physical education classroom. It is the eventual goal to be able to implement a plan to rectify this problem. This research will identify the key issues involved in the…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Darling-Hammond, L. & Berry, B. (1998, May 27). "Investing in teaching." Education Week on the Web [Online]. Available:

Fatemi, E. (1999, September 23)."Building the digital curriculum: Summary. Available: Ast Accessed December 13, 2002.

Glennan, Thomas A. And Arthur Melmed (1996) Fostering the Use of Educational Technology: Elements of a National Strategy. Washington, DC: RAND Corporation.

Gold, R.S. (1991). "Microcomputer applications in health education." Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers.

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