ERIC Identifier: ED390874
Publication Date: 1996-02-00
Author: McLean, Daniel D.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.
Use of Computer-based Technology in Health, Physical Education,
Recreation, and Dance. ERIC Digest.
Technology impacts health, physical education, recreation, and dance
educators in the areas of research, classroom teaching, and distance education.
While the overall effect is not yet fully assessable, the presence of technology
in so many different aspects of the profession makes it important to more
clearly recognize and appreciate its current and potential role. This Digest
focuses on computer-based technology as it relates to HPERD in the areas of
teaching and distance education.
CLASSROOM UTILIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIZED SOFTWARE
The greatest value of computers may reside in the
ability to provide improved support to classroom instruction, and the variety of
software programs for such use continues to grow. Commercial and shareware
programs are available to track grading, student athletic performance, and
fitness; conduct health assessments; provide simulations of disease; and monitor
research projects, among other functions. The development of individualized
software is becoming more common. The availability of hypertext, where selected
words in the text of a document can be used as links to other points in a
document, has made such software development much easier.
A good example is the shareware package titled HPERIntern (McLean & Hill,
1993), which was created to guide college students through the process of
internship development and placement. Using HyperCard, a commercially available
application software based on a HyperText language, HPERIntern integrated a
number of components from traditional classroom instruction and individual
counseling. HPERIntern is a menu-based application that allows students to enter
the information stream at a variety of points, rather than be forced to follow a
predetermined path. This approach allows students to determine what they think
is important rather than what the instructor has deemed important, reinforcing
students' ability to control the learning process. The result: a reduction in
the amount of classroom time and individual counseling needed for internship
MULTIMEDIA AND CD/ROM
Computers have integrated learning
with multimedia presentations. Traditional encyclopedias and reference books
have been replaced by compact discs with read-only memory (CD-ROM or CD) that
contain pictures, sound, and video, as well as the standard text. In the
kinesiology classroom students can observe and listen to the mechanics of
movement in slow motion and play over those parts they do not understand. In
health education classrooms the growth of an embryo can be depicted to birth.
Instructional topics remain traditional, but the delivery is nontraditional and
allows the student to move at her/his own pace (Gold, 1991).
(CAI) provides students with an alternative to classroom settings and frees the
instructor from rote processes that are better handled by the computer. Mohnsen
(1995) identified a number of reasons for using CAI in physical education. Among
them were suggestions that CAI provides students with the "why" behind
health-related fitness; it provides unlimited practice, review, and remediation;
students stay actively involved; and it meets a variety of student needs. CAI,
if individually developed, requires considerable time on the part of the
instructor, but this is compensated for by increased learning time available in
the classroom. Using CAI an instructor can develop or acquire a series of
supportive and reinforcing software. For example, students in a nutrition class
might participate in a CAI-based eating habits survey that provides students
with information about their nutritional habits, collates data for the entire
class, and provides the teacher with a report to use as a teaching tool.
INTERNET/WORLD WIDE WEB
The expansion of the Internet (a
government-sponsored electronic network) to nondefense-related uses has caused
an explosion of communications. The World Wide Web (WWW) is that part of the
Internet supporting graphics, audio, video, and hypertext links (the ability to
connect from one computer site to another), as well as standard text. Access to
the Internet, combined with the development of commercial network providers
(e.g., America OnLine, Prodigy) has allowed individuals, schools, and
organizations to communicate with each other and to share information through
mechanisms such as e-mail, telnet, ftp (file transfer protocol), gopher, and
More recently, user-friendly navigator application software has become
available for the WWW. Software such as NetWare, Netscape, and Mosaic have
opened the Internet to a new and diverse market place. From the convenience of
the classroom a student or teacher can, using a computer and a modem, log into a
variety of sites throughout the world.
For example, several dozen medical schools, such as the University of Iowa
and Johns Hopkins University, are now on the WWW and provide excellent
information as well as videos of various human systems in operation. Students
can be exposed to a video of a working heart and even create specific heart
problems. Students may see a working heart with a dynamic chart that illustrates
heart efficiency (amount of blood pumped per minute). By clicking on a
fat-blocked heart, students watch heart efficiency drop dramatically. The
students, engaged in the process now, click on the aorta to see an enlarged view
a healthy and a fat-clogged aorta. Next the student clicks on the clogged aorta
and receives a written or verbal description of how the heart got this way and
its potential impact on the owner. Students can take notes and copy the pictures
to a notebook that is built into the program and, when done, can download and
print the notes.
A number of WWW sites relate to sports, fitness, health, and recreation. A
home page is a starting point for exploration into a given host site's resources
and connections to other sites. ERIC maintains the AskERIC Virtual Library home
page, which provides a gateway to ERIC information, including lesson plans and
"infoguides" on relevant topics. Health and recreation pages are very common.
The Whole Internet Catalog offers a section on health and includes such topics
as substance abuse, safer sex, mental health, and nutrition. Yahoo, organized
similarly to the Whole Internet Catalog, is the source for numerous different
starting points for investigation into health and recreation. The International
Food Information Council Foundation is an excellent source for nutrition-related
Indiana University's Prevention Resource Center home page links to a broad
spectrum of health-related resources from government and private sources.
Bradford Woods Outdoor Center is an example of a university-supported home page
related to recreation and the outdoors. Sports home pages provide information on
a variety of topics related to professional and college sports. However, fitness
and physical education is not well represented on the Internet.
LOCAL AREA NETWORKS
The development of local area networks
(LANs) allows computer users to communicate with each other without leaving
their location or without the need of a telephone conversation. A LAN provides a
physical link between several personal computers and a mainframe or minicomputer
(White, 1993). In some instances paperless classrooms have been developed using
the LAN as a communications base. A paperless classroom allows the student to
submit work via a computer to a central location where it is graded by the
instructor and then returned to the student's electronic mailbox. The advantages
of this include speed with which one can respond, always having a copy of the
students' papers, timeliness, and increased comfort with software packages that
students may frequently use.
COMPUTERS AND SATELLITES
Classrooms around the world can
now be connected using technologies that include computers, interactive
television, satellites, and the Internet. The linking of computer technology
through the use of the Internet or CD-ROM with television transmission provides
a new dimension to distance education. This technique has been used to link
university professors to high school teachers, physical disabled students, and
other students who are all physically distant from each other.
NEXT STEPS FOR INCORPORATING TECHNOLOGY IN
First, HPERD professionals need to perform an inventory of
training, hardware, and software available within their own organizations. There
may be many existing resources of which professionals are simply unaware. In
addition, it may help to find a "techno-buddy" within the organization whom the
HPERD professional can ask for help and share information about successful
technology undertakings. And, finally, with the upsurge in technological
competence seen in young people, professionals should welcome students'
willingness to demonstrate what they know and can do with technology. This may
be an excellent opportunity for the teacher to learn from the student.
SELECTED WORLD WIDE WEB URLS (ADDRESSES)
WOODS OUTDOOR CENTER
UNIVERSITY'S PREVENTION RESOURCE CENTER
FOOD INFORMATION COUNCIL FOUNDATION
HOPKINS MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS INFORMATION NETWORK
OF IOWA VIRTUAL HOSPITAL
References identified with an EJ number have
been abstracted and are in the ERIC database. Journal articles (EJ) should be
available at most research libraries.
Gold, R. S. (1991). Microcomputer applications in health education. Dubuque,
IA: William C. Brown Publishers.
McLean, D. D., & Hill, J. M. (1993). Supporting internship preparation: A
case study in computer-based support. Schole: A Journal of Leisure Studies and
Recreation Education, 8, 37-49. EJ 487 287
Mohnsen, B. S. (1995). Using technology in physical education. Champaign, IL:
White, R. (1993). How computers work. Emeryville, CA: Ziff-Davis Press.