Obstacles of Using Technology in Physical Education

When asked to choose a content area where there are obstacles for using technology, Physical Education seemed most obvious to me. There are several reasons for this. One is that Physical Education most of the time does not take place in a traditional classroom. Classes usually meet in a gym or on a field. In most cases there are not desks and chairs, especially in elementary and middle school. Another is how to integrate technology into P.E. What is the purpose? Why do it? Does it help in teaching Physical Ed? I believe it does.

A paper entitled, “Are we teaching the Use of Technology in Physical Education?” by LM Waugh which was presented at American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference. It approaches the topic of the lack of technology use in P.E. What was most shocking was the answers to a questionnaire given to teachers. Seven out of nine participants did not use any technology in their class. Some believed it wasn’t beneficial and that it was just thrown in as another standard they had to meet. Others did not understand how to implement technology in their P.E. class.

What I believe is the main obstacle for technology in any content area is lack of teacher training. In an article entitled, “Can Teacher Technology Integration Training Alone Lead to High Levels of Technology Integration?” states that most of the time training deals more with administration and less about how to use it as part of the curriculum. The paper states that 58% of teachers still do not use technology in the classroom and that after “training” the number does not improve by much. So I believe it is not the lack of training, but the type of training. Teachers need the type of training that makes technology use both relevant and authentic to them, terms that we use when we describe using technology for student learning. If the type of training used can’t convince teachers who teach core subjects, how can it be used to convince those who teach Physical Education?

Maybe if training was geared to be more individualized. Maybe more schools should have a full-time technology coordinator who is able to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom. I worked at a school were each classroom had a  smart board, but only about half were used. Most teachers used it as another white board, or were so intimidated and lost they never used it. This included the Physical Education department. If Physical Education teachers could be shown how to implement technology into their class, they would be more apt to use it. There are great websites to give P.E. teachers inspiration such as A Hotlist on Physical Education. Unfortunately, some teachers have no idea that information such as this exists.

If more technology is to be used by teachers in all subject areas, there must be better training geared toward making it more relevant and personalized so that teachers can see the benefits and how it can apply to their classroom. Otherwise, it will be viewed as the one P.E. teacher believed, another thing they have to do. Another standard that needs covering.

Resources:

Zhao, Y, & Bryant, F. (2010). Can teacher technology integration training alone lead to high levels of technology integration? a qualitative look at teachers’ technology integration after state mandated technology training. Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education,5. Retrieved from http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume5/Zhao.pdf

Waugh, L. (2010). Are we teaching the use of technology in physical education. Retrieved from http://aahperd.confex.com/aahperd/ 2009/webprogram/Paper12659. html


Relative Advantage of Technology use in the Classroom

Technology gives teachers a way to engage students like never before. Of course it helps keep a student’s attention and makes class more interesting, but I think the most important advantage of using technology in the classroom is how technology can help relate a topic to the “real world”. Technology is everywhere everyday, especially for the youthful demographic. Students in today’s classroom are being raised in a technological era. They do not remember when people did not carry cell phones, or when pong was the video game of choice. Some students have never heard the sound of a typewriter or smell white out. Technology is their reality, and by bringing it into the classroom, we are bringing in the world around them.

The relative advantage of using technology is that it does use alternate methods for teaching a concept. In the subject of Science for example, a student can visualize concepts through technology that otherwise would not be possible. Teachers can talk and read about a birth of a star for example, but thanks to technology, students can actually witness the process. It takes students to places that normally they would never be able to go. It makes the abstract tangible, again making it real. We must remember though, that technology is only effective if it used in conjunction with teaching the standards and objectives the students need to master.

Another advantage of using technology is that it allows teachers to reach all types of students. The article, “Why Integrate Technology into the Curriculum”, discusses how technology makes it possible for teachers to accommodate all learner types. It also points out the advantage for use in assessment. Being able to give immediate feedback is a great tool for teachers to better help their students with concepts they may have problems with.  In the Article,”Email as an Educational Feedback Tool” the author makes the argument that feedback is vital to a student’s learning, and that we must never underestimate a student’s desire to communicate. This article talks about communicating through email which makes it easier sometimes for students to say things or ask questions they may be to shy or nervous to ask in person.

All in all, I believe that it is indisputable that technology use has a real relative advantage in all subjects. It helps students gain a desire to learn through creating an engaging environment, making it relative to their lives, and give immediate feedback to help understanding.

Sources

Why integrate technology into the curriculum?: the reasons are many . (2008). Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

Huett, J. (2004). Email as an educational feedback tool: relative advantages and implementation guidelines. International journal of instructional technology and distance learning1(6), Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jun_04/article06.htm

Technology Use Plan Presentation

The following presentation discusses how to implement a plan for technology use in a school that has little to no technology opportunities. What I have learned by doing this presentation is that bringing technology into a school takes planning. It will not be effective ifcomputers are just put in a classroom and teachers left to their own resources. Especially if they have not previous knowledge of how to integrate technology effectively in the classroom. Teachers and Administrators must be trained in how to use technology effectively, otherwise it is a waste of money. There must be steps in place to create a clear path and goals for technology use.

https://docs.google.com/present/embed?id=dcqdknd3_08cpwgzht

School Technological Evaluation

School Technological Evaluation

There are those who hear the term “private school”, and envision tweed uniforms, polo ponies, and snooty parents with over privileged children. Although, as we generally know, this is usually not the case. When I got a job at a private school that we will call “Town Academy” for the sake of this piece, I thought that I would be entering a school that was on the cutting edge of technology and educational tools. I myself went to a private school in Houston, Texas and it was a wonderful experience. However, when I went to work at Town Academy I was surprised to see that technologically speaking, the school was sorely lacking. I had previously taught at a public school in Florida that had all the latest technology, large classrooms, and plenty of tech help and support. That school however, had funds available from taxes and the “Adopt a Classroom” program. Town Academy depended on tuition and fundraisers. The technological evaluation made me realize where we were lacking and why.

Demographic: Private school in a rural area. School population was approximately 80% White and 20% Black, Asian, and Hispanic.

Administration

Policy 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Planning 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – emergent

Budget 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Administration Information 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Although there was technology available many did not utilize it. There was a policy in place and certain criteria such as having lesson plans that integrated technology, but it was never followed up on or enforced. As for planning, behavioral, was mainly an island since there was one administrator who really tried to integrate technology, but even then, it remained isolated to a certain subject and not across all subjects. The resource/infrastructure of planning was emergent since there was no formal plan for using technology. For the most part, the administration left it up to the teaching staff. There was a technology budget,  but it was mainly on paper. Most of the fundraising meant for technology would end up being used in part to build new classrooms. As for administration information, behavior and infrastructure is listed as an island. There are many resources that were used by the staff, but not on a regular basis.

Curriculum

Electronic Information 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Assessment 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Curricular Integration 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Teacher Use 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Student Use 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Many of the educators at Town Academy did not know where to begin in using technology in the classroom. Many stuck to the notion they were from the “old school” and if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  The school had electronic resources available for teachers through internet and one smartboard. Teachers had to plan way ahead of time to use the smartboard, but the internet was readily available. Using technology for assessment was used, but mainly for reading in math. There was hardly any exploration in using technology is assessment. Any curriculum integration that went on depended completely on teacher interest and motivation. Many teachers were not able to see the relative advantage of using technology, and some simply did not understand how to integrate technology. As with integrating it in the curriculum, many were just unaware with how to use technology in their classroom.  Students knew how to use technology, but the access was limited. If there were computers for students to use in the classroom it was usually not connected to the internet and it was hard to get slots in the library to use computers that were online.

Support

Stakeholder Involvement 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Administrative Support 

Behavior – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Training 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Technical/Infrastructure Support 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

The stakeholder involvement is listed as an island in behavioral because they were beginning to understand the importance of technology and a push towards implementing it more. However the resources/infrastructure were emergent since no one really knew how to go about it. It was more talk than action at that point. The school leadership wanted a cutting edge school, but were not sure what all that entailed and believed that enlarging the physical school was more important. However, they were supportive in the use of technology.  There was no training in the use of technology. We would have professional development, but it dealt with how to implement student centered projects and work. Of course this is vital, but professional development never covered technology use. Each classroom usually has one computer that is connected to the internet. Unfortunately, students are not allowed to have access to that computer. There was no formal training or a designated IT person.

Connectivity

LAN  

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

WAN 

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

Internet Access 

Behavioral – Islands

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

Communication 

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

The LAN networks at the school both behavioral and resource/infrastructure were integrated in the schools. As well as for WAN networks. They were the main sources for communications between colleges and the leadership. Internet access resources were integrated and readily available for teachers and students if computers were available. During my time as a teacher there, the school went “wireless” which made it easier for teachers to bring laptops into the classroom and work with the internet in a more mobile way. Behavior was labeled an island since many teachers were trying to learn how to integrate it into the classroom curriculum. Communication systems are also labeled as integrated both in behavior and in resources. The main form was mass and individual emails.

Innovation

New Technology 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Comprehensive Technology 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

New technology as well as comprehensive technology are labeled an island both behavioral and resource/infrastructure. The administration began to really look into new technology, especially after they installed a smart board in the library and realized all the advantages for using it in the classroom. After the installation of the smart board, there were requests by more teachers and parents for such technology in the individual classroom.

Even though Town Academy did not have much in the way of technology, I don’t want it to seem like the school was bad academically. Kids were still challenged, and the school was going through a period of growth.  Parents were beginning to see the advantages of having technology integrated into curriculum, but have been slower pushing the topic because they feel like their children are getting an adequate education without it. With more teachers putting technology into their classroom, usually by using their own money, parents were hearing their children talk more about what was going on in the classroom and how engaging or “fun” it was to learn. When I arrived at the school, they were trying to move away from using worksheets and  having more project based learning. There is a lot to be said for that. I just hope that they continue to see the advantage of using technology in the classroom as well.