Technology is often cited as a key contributor to our children’s obesity levels.
Parents compete with games consoles, handheld devices, computers and social media when trying to encourage their children to lead a more active lifestyle, and this lack of exercise has a negative impact on participation and performance levels in school.
But rather than viewing technology as a hindrance, schools should instead seek out and harness technology that can actively encourage kids to embrace exercise.
Here are some suggestions for doing just this, and turning technology to your advantage.
Many children are living sedentary lives. At home they might spend lots of time playing on their games consoles, so an hour or two of physical education (PE) every week isn’t going to be enough to reach the recommended activity level. We need to try to get some kind of transference from PE so they do things outside school – and I think technology can play a role in that.
Introduce pedometers to everyday school life
Pedometers (clip-on step counters) are a simple way to encourage more active day-to-day lives, and have the added bonus of helping pupils take responsibility for their own fitness.
You can help foster plenty of engagement with a pedometer programme by introducing a little healthy competition – this could be as simple as a wall chart to track steps and goals, and create healthy competition amongst your pupils.
Technology should be seen as a tool that can be used to solve a problem you are facing as an educator. It can allow students to show their understanding and skills in a way that is not possible without technology.
Combine technology with outdoor activities
Monitoring and feedback technology such as accelerometers can play a vital role out on the sports field.
The Leap Band is a great example for pre-school age children. It motivates pupils to collect points and jewels for successfully completing various physical activities, making exercise fun and part of their daily lives from an early age.
Experts argue that using such tech helps pupils to become aware of their own health, and helps them to take responsibility for their own fitness levels.
No two classes are the same, and part of ensuring that children buy into your exercise programme is by providing them with choices and variety.
The following websites are excellent resources for motivating children to exercise. They provide plenty of educational games that help children get to grips with nutrition and exercise, as well as offering motivational resources for rewarding students for their efforts.