Computers have a place in physical education. They can help educate students in the correct use of equipment and provide instruction about the human body, fitness, and proper nutrition.

Physical education teachers have more paperwork than other teachers, says Bonnie Mohnsen, coordinator of physical education and integrated technologies for the Orange County Department of Education. A computer can make teachers more efficient in dealing with attendance keeping, inventory, budgeting, and grades. When connected to the internet, the computer also expands the resources available to the physical education teacher. But technology in physical education shouldn’t be limited to just computers. Mohnsen says video and digital video cameras are helpful in analyzing body movement and creating fitness station cards.

School districts can integrate technology into physical education regardless of their size or wealth. Here are three examples:

  • Bloomsburg, Pa., Area School District uses the Mac Motor Skills program to teach about a variety of movements, such as kicking and overhand throwing. Students in grades 3-5 use four computers, including three laptops that travel from building to building. A VCR and television also help demonstrate proper movement for students, says a K-5 physical education specialist. Students in fourth and fifth grades use heart monitors to check on each other.
  • Montebello, Calif., Intermediate School uses six computers in their fitness lab where students can create their own electronic portfolios. Students use heart monitors to learn about cardio-respiratory endurance and which activities keep their hear rates in the target zone as they develop their own fitness plans and do “physical activity homework.”
  • Belle Gardens, Calif., High School students use the single computer in the wellness center as a teaching station. They learn about fitness topics, create and maintain fitness portfolios, and use heart monitors. The school also uses video cameras to record student activity and provide immediate feedback on their physical performance.

PE now stands for “pretty exciting,” says one physical education instructor. If technology can help, why not let it?