Yesterday I discovered an excellent blogpost via Twitter (I can’t say enough about how much I have learned and discovered since using Twitter). The post: Mental Workout: How My Gym Provides Insight Into The Future Of Education from Rob Jacobs’ Education Innovation blog got me thinking. Jacobs talks about the future of education. He sees it as being fast, convenient, and easy to access which is very similar to his local gym. I agree with the predictions of education in general and then I began to think specifically of physical education. I’m not sure if it was because of the comparison to a fitness center or because I haven’t really thought about where physical education is headed, but I began to ponder…
Will physical education be offered through e-learning/distance education/virtual school? Is it already being offered as an e-learning class somewhere? I can envision distance education working for some aspects of physical education but what about the team and group activities that are such an essential part of PE? How can an online class play soccer or learn a group gymnastics routine? Maybe courses can have designated dates where the class is online and others where the class meets in person at a gymnasium, field etc. I also wonder, with all of the concern about childhood obesity in North America do we really want to move away from face-to-face physical education.
I realize that physical education is more than just participating in various physical activities and that much of the theory etc. could be taught through e-learning. Even some parts of personal fitness or body movement pattern lessons could be explained online and demonstrated by uploading videos for students to view and then try. This is one of many excellent possibilities but safety is another factor as a very important part of PE is having a qualified teacher supervising the class to ensure things are being done safely.
All in all I think it would be great to incorporate aspects of e-learning into physical education as long as it does not take away from students having the opportunity to be physically active. I’m still a little unsure of how well a fully online physical education course would work but I would love to see an example. I would like to know if there are online physical education classes being offered somewhere (The Ontario Virtual High School offers an online health class with some PE components).
How do you feel about this topic? What do you think the future of physical education will be like? Should PE stick to the gym’s, fields, courts etc. or venture into the virtual world? What are some web2.0 tools that can be utilized in the improvement of PE classes? These are just some of my thoughts and I would love to hear what others have to say about this topic.