FUTURESTEP – ENHANCING CHILDREN’S WELLBEING BY USING ACTIVITY MONITORS IN FORMAL AND INFORMAL CONTEXTS
University of Oulu (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:While new information and communication technologies have become part of our daily lives, children’s and adolescent’s physical activity (PA) has decreased dramatically according to many studies. The FutureStep project aims to research the possibilities and confines to motivate children to exercise more in a technology based environment, and to develop new pedagogical practices for schools and curricula. The FutureStep project is part of the Future School Research Center and 1st Wave Programme coordinated by University of Oulu, Faculty of Education. The Future School 1st Wave Programme is a multidisciplinary programme funded by the European Social Fund for the years 2009-2011. The FSR’s aim is to investigate, elaborate and foster innovative pedagogical practices. The main partners in the field are the City of Oulu, Department of Education and Polar Electro Finland. FSR is also cooperating with other research consortiums and enterprises.
The research interests of FutureStep focus on technology to encourage social interaction, but also on technology that measures individual performance. The main focus of this article is to describe and report preliminary results of using Polar FA20 activity monitors among comprehensive school pupils aged 14-15 (N=47). The activity monitor registers all your effective active motion and shows it graphically. You can see proof that your physical activity is having an impact on your overall fitness. The article discusses the following questions: What kind of experiences do pupils and physical education teachers have about activity monitors in school and free time? Are there any changes in physical activity and motivation among the pupils who have been using activity monitors? The theoretical foundations of this study are mainly based on Vygotsky’s sosiocultural theory, but also on the motivational readiness for behavioral change theory by Prochaska & DiClemente (1983). Questionnaires, interviews and observation were used as methods to collect research data.
The findings indicate that technology and especially personal feedback from activity monitors can arouse pupils’ awareness of the importance of physical activity. It seems that the activity monitor motivates inactive pupils in particular. These findings about the activity monitor and physical wellbeing of children would seem to be important for every educator and teacher.
Keywords: physical education, physical education technology, activity monitors.