Exergaming!

As we all know, technology is an enormous aspect of our everyday lives. In fact, it is such a part of our lives today that most of us don’t even realize that we are using it! While technology has enabled us to solve problems and do things that generations before us could not even imagine, it has also created a more sedentary society. In particular, the Net Generation who have grown up with video games, iPads, mobile phones, etc have become increasingly sedentary. What I propose is that we take this technology and use it to our advantage in physical education classes. I think today we continue to stress over test scores and are so data driven that we often cut out physical activity for our students in the hopes of instilling in them more information. However, studies have shown that the right amount of physical activity leads to better cognitive thinking. Today, there is a plethora of ways to integrate technology into PE and get kids excited about exercising. One method I find very enticing is something called exergaming.

“Exergames involve the player in dance, aerobics, kick-boxing, sports moves, martial arts, virtual window washing, or other forms of physical activity and exertion as the way to interact within the game” (Lieberman, 2006). In other words, exergames are videogames that actually make a person move and engage in physical activity. My suggestion is to implement this type of gaming into schools. I know that I have students where it’s literally like pulling teeth to get them to actively participate in PE class where we do conventional sports. Yes, we can fail them or give them a lower grade, but I would rather see these kids getting exercise during class and enjoying themselves. According to recent studies, “DDR and In the Groove are being used during physical education classes, recess, lunchtimes, and after school in many other school districts in the US, and students, teachers, and parents are very pleased with the results” (Lieberman, 2006). Using this technology in the classroom can make exercising fun for students and excited about working out! It makes enjoyment come first above actually working out. With the mounting health concerns we have in the United States regarding childhood obesity, this can be a new formula for success. According to The Exergame Network, a PE student was quoted stating “Sometimes when you’re playing netball or basketball you get a bit tired and then you say ‘Oh I don’t want to do this anymore’ but this is really fun and I think I could do it all day” (2011). In other words, enjoyment and excitement rank above all else and keep the child engaged and entertained while promoting physical activity. It can give them the confidence of being physically fit and draw them into a healthy lifestyle.

A potential challenge to implementing this type of technology into school systems is the cost. With our economy and consistent budget cuts, it may be hard to conceive spending on so called video-games. However, I know that the benefits will surely outweigh the costs. In my town, our middle school recently opened up a technology lab for physical education classes. This lab has helped to increase the amount of physical activity students receive each week and other teachers reap the benefits of more focused students. Furthermore, looking through a principles blog who installed a lab in his own school, he states “from an efficiency point of view, our lab installation cost about half a staffing unit to create but serves over 500 students and will last a significant number of years” (Lawler, 2010). I strongly believe that more schools should look into something such as a tech lab for their students.

Below is a video that provides further evidence of the success of exergaming for students.

My hope is that this post will inspire academics to realize the importance of physical activity for students and of changing the conventional PE class to inspire students to engage in exercising!

 

Bibliography

Exergame Network. (2011). Energy Expenditure and Enjoyment During Video Game Play.

Retrieved Sep 21, 2011, from http://exergamenetwork.blogspot.com/

Lawlor, D. (2010). Implementing Exergaming in Schools. Retrieved Sep 21, 2011, from http://www.exergamefitness.com/wordpress/?p=480

Lieberman, D. (2006). Dance Games and other Exergames. Retrieved Sep 21, 2011, from http://www.comm.ucsb.edu/faculty/lieberman/exergames.htm

 

 

 

10 Comments

Filed under Active Games

10 Responses to Exergaming!

  1. Alisa

    I really like the photo you uploaded for your header on your front page because it visually gives a viewer a clear picture of what your site is about, which is physical education. I thought the information about “exergames” was informative and expressed the importance of including physical education into our schools. The video nicely showed how students were having fun exercising while using technology. It’s great that you explained how physical activity can be fun and by including video game technology into exercising, it will help motivate students to engage in working out, which can improve a child’s overall health.

    I would like to read more about studies that have been done using this technology in school systems, how much it would cost a district, and how this has improved the health of the students. A link I thought would help to show the outcome of students using technology in a range of school systems is http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2008/04/30/04physed2_web.h01.html. This article states how technology has motivated students to exercise more. The website provides specific examples of what technology programs have been used, how much it costed a school to implement, and the percentage of students who have improved their overall fitness. I agree that the cost can be a reason for schools to hesitate to implement technology into physical fitness. However, the overall positive impact it has proven to have on students can outweigh the upfront costs of such a great motivating and interactive program to get students active.

  2. JOhanne

    I love this concept. Thank you for introducing it. It is essential that children get up and go. I know my own son sits in front of the video screen and does not excersice at all. It is fantastic to see a way to combine the two. I know there is Wii fitness. Is that anything like exergaming? I did find an article that may interest you.
    http://www.athleteinme.com/ArticleView.aspx?id=304

  3. Rebekah

    Your site looks great! I love the header and sidebars you picked for your theme. Your post originally intrigued me because I did not like physical education growing up. I was one of the kids who was always picked last because I missed out on the athletic gene! Playing regular sports games with kids who were so much better than me was not at all fun. I remember begging my mom to write me notes so that I did not have to participate. After reading your post, it’s great to see that physical education is moving beyond having students participating in sports. Exergaming sounds like a lot of fun and I think it will be a great motivator for students, like me, who are not motivated by participating in whole group sports activities.

    I was looking for ways to encourage motivation in physical education class and came across two links I found interesting. The first one http://ezinearticles.com/?Five-Ways-to-Motivate-Students-in-Physical-Education-Class&id=3104505 is a post from a physical education teacher from New York and gave 5 tips to motivate students. The second link http://physicaleducation.posterous.com/2010/03/motivating-students-to-participate-and.html was similar, but also explored the idea of having students make goals and be more responsible for their learning, along with helping make their learning more meaningful.

  4. Rogen Miller

    Great opening Article. “Exergaming” has become the new video game craze, and it just so happen its a great tool for exercising. Those who prefer the comfort and proximity of their own living rooms to the gym have a great alternative: so-called exergames can indeed result in elevated physical activities, often above that achieved walking 3 miles an hour on a treadmill. More importantly our kids can have fun and be engaged in a video game that will keep them active.

    You stated that you thought this may be very cost effective. I don’t think it should be. The consoles for these games, like the WII, are not nearly are expensive as purchasing desktop computers or even laptops. In fact, since the wii system(which is the most popular console for exergaming) has been on the market for several years now, the console itself is very affordable.

    Great article, looking forward to reading about more trends in physical education, here is a link that supports your blog.

    : http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20040326-247.html#ixzz1Z1BojuFK

  5. Much appreciated for the information and share!

  6. Tiffany DeMici

    I have to agree with Alisa and say your header photo is awesome! It definitely sets up the audience for what they are going to experience on your website. You are right when you address the idea of how much we use technology in our lives and don’t realize it! I didn’t become aware to stop and think until I started this degree program. I have to say when the kinect came out for the xbox I had to try it! I played some kind of boxing game and by the end of a round I was out of breath! Exergaming really makes you engage in physical activity. Who thought we would be exercising through our game systems?
    The cost factor for schools will definitely be a challenge, but a suggestion for another post would be to do a page on ways you could fund raise so this program can come to life in a lot more schools! Many people don’t know PE classes at schools use this method to engage in physical activity, so this is a great way to get the world out there! ! Here is a link to a video I found that shows exergaming put to use http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRLXp8r6qno

  7. Sara

    Thanks for the share! Very useful info, looking to communicate!

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  8. I guess finding useful, reliable information on the internet isn’t hpeoless after all.

  9. Good post. Thank for sharing.
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