TPACK in PE.png

The Purpose of Physical Education
The American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD) best defines the goal of PE as to develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. While the ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ component is easy to understand and see visually when walking into your standard PE class, the ‘confidence’ element cannot be overlooked. A quality physical educator must create an environment where all students get equal opportunity to participate, are active for the majority of a class, and have a clear understanding what it means to be ‘successful’ in regards to being physically active. Today, some of the most innovative and well-regarded PE teachers emphasize individual improvement (within any activity, skill, etc.) as ‘success’ rather than having the best times, top scores, or being the most well-developed abilities. This makes sense on two levels as first, individual improvement is the only thing that is important in maintaining our health and well-being throughout our lifetime, and second, the entire class has an equal chance to succeed and be successful in a physically active environment. This emphasis on ‘confidence’ has grown in significance during recent years.

In order for an individual to pursue a lifetime of healthful physical activity, AAHPERD defines a physically literate individual as a student who:
* Has learned the skills necessary to participate in a variety of physical activities.
* Knows the implications of and the benefits from involvement in various types of physical activities.
* Participates regularly in physical activity.
* Is physically fit.
* Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle.

There are also five major standards we can look for in a physically literate individual. Additionally, these standards are also often used and considered when planning a PE lesson or developing a PE curriculum. They are:
Standard 1- The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
Standard 2 - The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
Standard 3 - The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
Standard 4 - The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
Standard 5 - The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.

Why is TPACK Important in PE?
Students today are incredibly connected to, and motivated by the use of technologies. Physical education teachers who have at least attempted to integrate technologies into their PE programs will attest to that. However, as a subject we are now attempting to move away from the idea of using technologies for the sake of using them, and moving in a direction where they are a consistent, fully-inclusive part of the average PE program. However, this isn’t just going to happen on its own. The TPACK framework is now being used, including in this degree program, to prepare teachers or teachers-in-training to better approach, plan for, and execute lessons and units with technology. The complicated and complex relationships between pedagogy, technology, and context take careful thought, research, and most importantly experience to overcome. This reasoning supports why TPACK is important in any specific discipline.

In regards to physical education, it must be understood that sport and technology have had a close relationship for a long-time, however in the past many of these technologies were quite expensive and reserved for high performance athletes. Start by thinking about machines that have allowed athletes to train in a stationary position, such as treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowing machines. Along the same lines today you can see small swimming pools that create currents so swimmers can swim in place. Almost all sports have some sort of device or machine that can provide training or practice for a particular skill. If thinking about digital technologies, athletes have been using video feedback and computer analysis to study physical movements for the previous 30-40 years. Essentially, all of these technologies could have had a place in some of the older physical education settings, but frequently were not due to price, size, or general practicality. However, the one thing that was confirmed through high level athletes using initial technologies was that they were very effective in achieving results.

During the past 15 years however, practical technologies with applications in PE have grown at an exponential rate. Today, with something as simple as an iPad and a projector, a teacher can use video analysis software, give video feedback to students, take pictures that can be displayed and analyzed, play music, show video, take notes about student performance or make grades during class on a cloud, and do countless other things with the wide range of apps available. Even with a minimal budget, there is no excuse other than the lack of preparation or training to not have technology in all PE programs. This is exactly why the TPACK framework is important. It allows the teacher the practice and understanding of developing quality lessons that integrate pedagogy, technology, and content effectively.

Many PE teachers give up quickly on using technology because they cannot effectively take a new tool and teach content as well as they could without that tool. That is too often because they do not understand or have not considered all the dynamics that change when doing so. For example, perhaps a teacher has taught a lesson about ‘heart rate’ for many years, showing children how to take their own pulse. With the use of ‘heart rate monitor watches’ the finding the pulse would become easier, the data more accurate, and the students likely more motivated and engaged in the lesson. However, simply applying heart rate monitor watches, or any new technology in PE for that matter, will not work effectively without deep consideration and would result in a frustrating lesson likely convincing the teacher to go back to their old teaching methods. Some questions that would need to be considered include: How will the heart rate monitors be passed out? Collected? What happens if the battery dies on one of the heart rate monitors during class? What rules do I need to ensure that students use the watch carefully and do not break them? How will I teach the students how to use the monitors properly, and to not switch modes or change the settings? These questions, among many others are often overlooked. By using the TPACK framework, these issues are minimized, and eventually the process of considering all the dynamic relationships between the T, P, and C become second nature.

PE and Technology Standards
1. NASPE Guidelines/Standards for the Appropriate Use of Instructional Technology in PE

2. Michigan PE Grade Level Content Expectations (Kindergarten - 8th Grade)

3. Michigan Department of Education PE Content Standards/Benchmarks (K - 12th Grade)

4. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Teachers

Examples of TPACK Lesson Plans
*TPACK Lesson Plan 1: Video Feedback of the Overhand Throw
This TPACK lesson plan focused on the use of video feedback in PE. In this specific lesson, video feedback was used as a tool for the assessment of the overhand throw. This was the final lesson in a three-part overhand throw unit. Although the overhand throw seems simple, a quality movement includes a variety of motions all occurring in rapid succession or simultaneously. Movements with such complexities benefit greatly from the use of video feedback. Video feedback allows us to slow what is generally a quick movement, into a frame by frame understanding of how the body is moving. I decided to use the video camera on my new computer to tape each student performing an overhand throw and create an assessment based on this. Without the video I simply would have done a 'checklist' assessment. A checklist assessment means I would have a piece of paper with the 5 criteria emphasized in class, then watch a student perform a throw, and make a check mark for what they did and did not do. This is a traditional approach that many PE teachers use. However, this does not give the student any visual understanding of how they are performing the throw or a how it could be improved. A video feedback assessment provides both. Additionally, a video feedback assessment will allow the teacher to grade more accurately as the movement can be slowed down and analyzed.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 3.11.50 PM.png
Video feedback using PhotoBooth

*TPCK Lesson Plan 2: Heart Rate Monitor Lesson
My second TPACK lesson plan used heart rate monitors to teach students how exercise, heart rate, and effort are all interrelated. In this lesson the major focus was not on skill development itself, but the understanding of how heart rate is impacted by exercise and the implications behind it. As you may imagine, ‘effort’ is a concept that holds a lot of weight in physical education and sports. Teachers and coaches are always demanding that children give their best effort, however effort is concept that is relative, not general. By visual observation, effort is too often seen as the person who runs the hardest and longest, therefore many children grow up with this impression. This lesson should allow students to realize that effort is relative to their body, with the strength of their heart having a lot to do with it. By using heart rate monitor technology, it will allow them to get a better idea of how their heart is functioning, and what quality effort truly is.

Technology in Physical Education
The PE Geek: PE and ICT,
Australian Physical Education Jarrod has become one of the world’s biggest advocates of the use of technology in physical education. His website has been functioning as a blog for nearly 6-years, is updated regularly, and he shares and reviews just about any new technology that could be used in a physical education setting. Not only that but he actively communicates with the users who have signed up on his blogs, has created podcasts, and holds conferences and workshops around the world.

2. Inquiry & Technology in #Phys Ed,
This particular website is also run by another passionate physical educator who is pushing technology to the forefront of the PE scene. It also functions much like a blog and also connects directly to a youtube channel that has won some awards for its contribution to physical education. It is a bit of a lighter, less text-heavy version of the PE Geek website.

3. The Physical Educator,
This blog is run by a team of physical educators that actively discuss and share ideas about different approaches that could be taken in teaching the subject. Although the focus is not entirely on technology, it does have an ICT section that can be seen on the homepage. Generally their technologies are some of the more common ones that your average teacher would have access too.