Physical education teachers are trading in their traditional equipment for heart-rate monitors and video games that encourage running, jumping, and stretching.
Integrating gaming into gym classes—replacing the monotony of jumping rope or running laps—could increase participation among all students, rather than the sliver of "jocks" in every class. This could help stem the alarming increase in childhood obesity in the United States.
"It’s motivating for students, it’s intriguing to them, it really captures people’s attention, and it gives you a vehicle for talking about healthy lifestyles and consistent physical activity patterns," said Fran Cleland, president of the National Association for Sports and Physical Education (NASPE), one of the country’s most prominent physical education organizations. "It allows you to do that in a more mechanized way.” ( Technology brings ‘new P.E.’ to schools, June 2008)
Heart-rate monitors have allowed students to watch their heart rates rise and fall as they walk, jog, or sprint. The immediate feedback was an incentive for children who wanted to see the results of their work right away.
Teaching a generation of students who grew up with video games will require gym teachers to ditch dodge balls and kick balls for more advanced equipment.
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