News

Integrating physical activity and learning is focus of new certificate for Active Learning Specialists

By Carletta
June 26th, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Martha Harris, Fizika Group 717-575-7465 martha@fizikagroup.com
Steve Infanti, Harrisburg University 717-901-5146 sinfanti@harrisburgu.edu
INTEGRATING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND LEARNING IS FOCUS OF NEW CERTIFICATE FOR ACTIVE LEARNING SPECIALISTS
(Harrisburg, PA) June 25, 2013 — Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and Fizika Group, LLC, have launched a new educational program aimed at enabling educators and administrators to become certified Active Learning Specialists.
The new online program will inform educators on strategies to integrate physical activity across the curriculum in order to leverage the learning benefits and the positive impact on brain functioning.
“We have been working for the past two years to design a professional development course that is informed by the latest research in educational neuroscience, cognitive psychology, health and physical literacy, and will enable Active Learning Specialists to become the game changers that schools need to apply physical activity and good nutrition in strategic ways to help improve student academic and health outcomes” says Martha Lester Harris, President and Co-founder of Fizika Group. “A mounting body of evidence supports the need for this type of applied learning and sharing of best practices”, says Harris.
The certificate course will launch nationally on July 1, 2013 and has attracted interest from leading edge educators who want to learn how to infuse physical activity into the learning process. With participants already signed up from as far away as the United Kingdom and Ohio, the wide appeal of the program’s unique focus is evident and garnering interest from a variety of notable educational organization. Fizika was invited to present its unique approach to active learning and physical literacy at the Global Conference on Physical Literacy convened by Dr. Margaret Whitehead, the UK researcher who established physical literacy as a research discipline. Here in Pennsylvania, Fizika has partnered with the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (PSAHPERD) on a statewide series of Active Learning webinars that attracted more than 300 participants. (www.psahperd.org) Locally, the School District of Lancaster’s physical education teachers are using Fizika’s approach to active learning to help improve classroom behavior and student outcomes.
A reflection of the growing national concern about the need to increase opportunities for physical activity while children are in school is the Institute of Medicine’s Consensus Report compiled by a team of national experts, “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School.” (www.iom.edu) Released on May 23, the IOM report is the latest document to pinpoint the need to expand access to quality physical education in all 50 states and provide opportunities for physical activity before, during and after school. Specifically, the IOM report calls for more professional development for teachers and preservice teachers to learn how to infuse physical activity across the curriculum – a focal point of the Active Learning Specialist course.
Course participants will be the first to have access to the unique body of knowledge assembled and designated for Active Learning Specialists—an educational specialty that the partners believe no other organization has established. The program will provide access to renowned experts who have implemented physical activity and physical education programs that helped improve student academic and health outcomes.
Active Learning Specialists will be trained through the Harrisburg University and Fizika Group course to change the school learning environment so that students are more physically active in school, and become physically literate adults.
“Fizika’s unique approach to active learning — based on the pillars of research, literacy and best practice — is designed to provide educators with a comprehensive set of tools to identify and prioritize active learning interventions that address the specific needs of the school setting where they work”, says Michael Cordier, Fizika Co-founder and principal author of the Active Learning Specialist Certificate. “Our hands-on approach is geared to help practitioners apply the latest scientific evidence and research in their daily practice, evaluate the results of their interventions, continuously improve and expand the impact of their work.”
A Research Report on the Role of Schools in Preventing Childhood Obesity, issued by the President’s Council on Fitness and Sport in September 2006 provides the foundation for the work of an Active Learning Specialist. “Often, it takes the leadership of a local champion to initiate change. Local champions interest others in physical activity and nutrition issues and then establish a broad-based team to conduct needs assessments, and to plan, implement and evaluate improvements to school policies and programs.” (page 6) Through this new course, Active Learning Specialists will receive the training needed to implement meaningful change and improve health and academic outcomes for the students they serve. “Fizika Group invited Harrisburg University to become a partner because of our expertise in designing effective online learning programs. Our graduate program in Learning Technologies is complementary to the strategies for Active Learning, which ultimately may include the integration of technology tools in Active Learning Plans,” says Dr. Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.
Harrisburg University is developing the online course using the wealth of resources created by Fizika and ultimately plans to offer graduate credit for the certificate program.

About Fizika Group – Founded in Lancaster, PA in 2009, Fizika Group, LLC develops and delivers innovative professional development solutions to help educators apply active learning interventions that can help all students learn more effectively. www.fizikagroup.com
About Harrisburg University–Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private university offering bachelor-of-science and graduate degree programs in science, technology and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu Visit HU online at www.HarrisburgU.edu.

About the Author:

Carletta