Active Gaming in Physical Education: Embracing the Future
Post submitted by Lisa Hansen, PhD, assistant professor at the University of South Florida (USF) in the College of Education in the School of Physical Education and Exercise Science, codirector of the USF Active Gaming Research Labs, and PE Central's Active Gaming managing editor. Connect with Hansen and share your questions and suggestions for implementing active gaming in the classroom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is our job as physical education teachers? What should we be doing to encourage children to engage and remain engaged in physical activity? How do we continue to learn how to motivate children to want to voluntarily be physically active ... and step away from the iPods, computers, and video games?
Research suggests that the most important element in a child's life is having fun. Studies also demonstrate that children will more likely remain engaged or continue an activity if they consider it enjoyable. If this is the case, it is our job to figure out how to make physical activity more enjoyable.
What worked 30 years ago may not be as successful with this generation. What works now may not work 5 years from now. We need to continue to educate ourselves on appropriate, modern tools that children may find enjoyable and motivating and in which they will develop a desire to voluntarily be physically active. A modern tool that is gaining in popularity in physical education programs and other health facilities is being called active gaming, or exergaming.
Active gaming combines the use of technology in the form of a game with physical activity. Children are able to engage in the technology games they enjoy, such as video games, while being physically active. Active gaming is an appropriate, modern tool that the current generation relates too and undeniable enjoys. Visit PE Central to learn more about active gaming and follow the active gaming blog.