Is there a place for technology in Physical Education? Is technology being implemented successfully within PE to replace the “old fashioned” traditional approach to lessons? This subject is “connected with sweat in the truest sense of the word” and the “human body is seen as the main media” (Kretschmann, 2010, p. 432). The essence is practical, therefor can and should technology have a place within this subject? Bonnie (2005) provides an excellent overview of how the technology NET-S standards can be implemented highlighting that teacher can “simultaneously address NETS-S” while remaining true to the physical foundations (p. 50). In addition, Quennerstedt, 2013 believes technology encourages diverse ways to participate by taking part in “ ‘sports for real’ and as ‘sports for real… but not really for real’ ” (p.49) diversifying students participation, learning process and contribution levels. This research is enlightening, however what does implementation really look like? What is being used and is it truly beneficial in enhancing lessons?
I believe teacher experience, efficacy and computer literacy has a significant effect on this thorny issue. Research gives us excellent, and forward-thinking subjective views, but in order to be successful within our vision, we must accept our PE teachers (just like our students) cannot be assumed to be digital natives! Kretschmann (2015) studied a group of teachers who found that many did not use technology and a main factor in this was their computer literacy and competence to use instructional technology and media. It’s “infusion” tended to be stereo systems or images rather than more innovative technologies that now exist (e.g. laptops or IPads). I believe we can purchase as many devices or software as schools like, but if they are not utilized appropriately, technology has little or no place in Physical Education! Thomas and Stratton (2006) believe that “combining the ‘new’ interest of these students with the age-old institution of the PE lesson could see results boom and levels of attainment increased” (p. 618). The results show that the higher the proficiency, the more likelihood technology would be implemented successfully, therefor how might we address this elephant in the room? Consequently, I strongly believe teachers who lack confidence and believe that implementing technology is too much of a challenge needs support. This barrier for implementation in my view can be resolved.
Many of our teachers would agree with Kretschmann, (2010) when he states that it is arguable that our subject is an “opposite construct against media consumption”, and we are aiming instead to enhance their motivation to be physically active. Some teachers regard “technology”, in general terms as “a foreign object, which is contrary to the physical activity tasks and attitude” (p. 432). With this said, and in light of research highlighted, I believe we must address two aspects to support our vision.
1. Action plan specific of curriculum – Missionary thinkingThe teachers current reality needs to change, and with change requires vision, skills, incentives, resources and finally an action plan (Churches, 2009). In addition, it is vital to consider the needs of specific PE departments and the individuals needs.
2. Support for staff with change and professional development. Teachers with the least training were least likely to use any technology (Thomas and Stratton, 2006, p. 625).