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How Technology Changes Physical Education Classes

November 1, 2018

For most students, working out or being physically active is a chore.

This is one good reason why PE teachers are turning to a plethora of electronic devices to energize their students and motivate them. They are getting more creative and innovative as their students have changed.

Why combine technology and physical education classes

Incorporating technology into physical education classes produces an individually oriented experience for students who feel reluctant about the subject. Additionally, it also has the potential to reduce stress on the students’ bodies, improves their confidence, and makes them more efficient and prepared for their classes. It enhances their strategies and skills as well.

Technology makes it possible to incorporate other studies, like geography or math, into physical education to produce optimal challenges for the students. With technology, particularly mobile technology, physical educators now have a wide range of tools they can use to examine and improve their students' physical skills. The list includes wearable tech, physical education apps, gaming systems, virtual classes, and monitors and trackers.

Phone applications in physical education

Almost everyone has a smartphone, and PE teachers can use such devices to their advantage in encouraging their students to work out and exercise. Although they won't probably like their students to be constantly glued to their mobile phones throughout their classes, when educational benefits are obvious the use of mobile phones and phone apps should be encouraged.

There are a lot of phone apps available these days designed to track  movements and offer nutritional guides. Students can access important information regarding their fitness and diet with just a few clicks. And the best part is that most of those apps are free. While there are apps that require some form of payments or monthly fees, the cost can be worth the health benefits associated to well-informed workout and diet programs.

Online videos

With faster and more reliable internet, streaming videos is more accessible than ever before. PE teachers can take advantage of this technology to encourage their students to enhance their skills by checking out online videos and demonstrations. With the depths of information available online, PE instructors won't have a hard time searching for videos that can fit every student's needs.

Teachers, however, need to be careful in choosing videos. They need to make sure that the videos are age appropriate to the class and grade they are teaching.

Additionally, to encourage better learning, teachers can also encourage their students to create their own instructional videos of any workout they are passionate about doing. This is more engaging than having students sit and watch videos that are already on the internet.

Virtual classes

Physical education isn't just about being “physically active.” It's still a learning process, so students are expected to engage in discussion with their teachers about their learnings, challenges, and other necessary information for them to reach a deeper level of understanding.

Virtual classes allow students to express their opinions and views about their activities. They are also valuable in developing students' writing and communication skills. They enable students to blend into media and enhance their creative thinking.

There are a lot of video chat programs that can hold virtual classes. There are many video conferencing software platforms to choose from.

See the Easiest-to-Use Video Conferencing Software →

Gaming systems

Video games can change the way students think and feel about being physically active and competitive. They appeal to their love of video games and spark their interest in their application to physical education. They even make a great solution to keeping kids active in bad weather.

With gaming systems applied to gym classes, students can take an activity associated with inactivity and turn it into something productivity. They keep students immersed and engaged which can be continued at home.

Monitors and trackers

Since not all students have the same physical capabilities, it's essential for teachers to be aware of what their students can and can't do. It is important to adapt a program to a particular student’s body, thus heart rate monitors have become critical for assessing students' physical stamina and in setting realistic and reasonable goals for them.

Creating goals that are suited for an individual student will make it easier for them to feel motivated, and encouraged to stay active and committed to their fitness routines.

Apart from heart-rate monitors, pedometers have also become an indispensable tool in physical education. They are excellent and reliable when it comes to tracking steps.

They can keep track of how active a student is even when they're not engaged in a workout or exercise. Apart from that, pedometers work even when used in running errands and doing chores at home.

And if a student's step count is low, a pedometer can remind that student to keep walking and going. It makes students more aware of their progress and to stick to their goals.


Smartwatches make a great alternative to the traditional pedometer as a step counter. They may be more expensive, but they offer more functions.

For example, some smartwatches can let students access their favorite music and listen to it while working out. Other models have apps that can remind students to take any medication they are on, track their sleeping hours, or log their moods. Some smartwatches can log students’ running distance as well as their speed.

One problem with smartwatches is that they tend to be expensive. And the more features they have, the higher their price gets. In essence, this simply means that although smartwatches are handy in physical education classes, they may not fit every student and instructors need to be aware of that.


Technology, in general, has positively reshaped physical education classes. With apps, online videos, monitors, and trackers, physical education teachers are able to create customized and reasonable goals for their students. In the process, students felt more engaged and committed to being physically active which is essential in developing healthy habits.

Incorporating technology into schools shouldn't stop at physical education classes. Discover the top education technology trends more schools should be thinking about.

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Daniela McVicker Daniela McVicker is a successful entrepreneur and educator that focuses on how to use psychology to make our lives better. She has graduated from the University of Durham. She is currently an editor at TopWritersReview.

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