The Future of Education…Physical Education?

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.


5 responses to “The Future of Education…Physical Education?

  1. I like your idea here. you are welcome to join my ning.

    Check out my website at

    I have a blog for elementary pe kids to post to about health topics. I just getting started.

    I like technology and am looking for visionary ways to use it in PE. I follow you are twitter. It’s a great way to grow and connect professionally. Good to see your stuff. Kevin Morrow.

  2. Thanks for the comment Kevin. I have recently joined your Ning and checked out your blog. I am looking forward to sharing ideas and learning new things about physical education.

  3. Great post and great blog! I have taken a couple of additional qualification courses in Ontario for Phys. Ed. and it’s interesting to hear teachers discuss where this is going. Many are talking about taking the Healthy Living strand of Phys. Ed./Health and making it more of an online component, but the Active Participation and Fundamental Movement Skills strands would always be on-site in a large group/interactive setting. It makes perfect sense to me!


  4. Hey Jordan! I finally got a chance to read your blog, I am sorry it took so long.
    Firstly, your wiki idea for your business class is an EXCELLENT idea. I truly believe in the power of wikis! So good luck with that!

    Secondly, it is interesting how the Internet has changed education and the way we look at how students learn. I truly believe that PE, for the most part should be active, in the gym with a specialized PE instructor! Second, I also believe that PE can be enhanced with online activities such as blogging, ning, wikis,… Just like in any subject I believe that the students should use technology within the classroom/gym but also at home. Thinking about home and specially middle and senior high, I think the Internet can be very useful to motivate students to be or become active.
    IN Manitoba, mandatory PE has been implemented K-12 with a new grade 11 and 12 curriculum that CAN (not necessarily) be done for 75 % online! It involves readings on fitness and nutrition and an activity practicum. Students must submit a personal fitness portfolio as evidence of their completion of a physical activity practicum. This portfolio will contain elements such as a fitness plan, a physical activity log, sign-off forms and journal entries. For the assessment of the other parts of the course, a variety of assessment tools/strategies may be used such as portfolios, teacher observations, peer assessments and tests.
    They created this curriculum to get students more active, but to minimize issues with gym time and PE teacher shortage, depending on the school, they can choose the do most of the course online. They are using it as we speak and I am not sure whether or not it is such a good idea.
    Manitoba has also started a grade 9 distance education PE program for those students who are out of school or those who have a difficult time accessing schools. Here is the curriculum:(
    I have been experimenting with online fitness programs and with my own teaching in fitness I note that students need to do it to learn it and I am not talking about the theory, which can be done mostly online, I am talking about exposing students to various activities and fitness programs so they can be confident to start a program on their own. If you do this in grade 10 and than continue to provide support (weekly) in grade 11 and 12 using a NING system for example, perhaps that can be a more effective way. These are just some thoughts though.
    There is a way to include online courses in PE but an online PE specialist should follow and closely mentor the students to promote accountability. It should not be a free for all with just a journal.
    Anywa, sorry to keep chatting but great post! Excellent inquiry I say!
    Here is the link to the MB curriculum grade 11 and 12!

  5. Thanks for the comment Helena. Sounds like Manitoba is ahead of most in terms of trying out online components for PE classes. It would be great to know how well these online components are working. I wonder if this will become the norm for most of Canada in the future?
    It seems as though Alberta also has some aspects of Physical Education offered online:

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