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Active Gaming FAQ's

Should we be asking children to go outside and play?

Active gaming is not intended to replace outdoor play. In fact, the popularity of active gaming has become more popular due to the fact that children are choosing to engage in sedentary behavior indoors opposed to playing outdoors. Active gaming should be a compliment to traditional physical activity and a replacement to sedentary behaviors.

What are the health benefits?

Although more research is needed to fully understand all potential benefits involved when participating in active gaming, we do have evidence supporting these activities providing various physical (including moderate to vigorous activity levels), cognitive (including academic learning), and social benefits.

Will I lose weight with active gaming play?

Weight loss is a topic beyond simply being active. Having an appropriate balanced diet has a significant effect when trying to lose weight. However, research does suggest calorie burn takes place when participating in active gaming. Therefore, if used appropriate, weight loss can occur.

Where can I find more information on active gaming?

There is a comprehensive list of resources you can access and review on PE central. You may also learn more from attending conferences (AAHPERD and associations) and accessing material in journals and books. You may also contact the PE Central “Gaming Expert” if you have more specific questions or concerns.

Isn’t active gaming equipment expensive and somewhat unaffordable?

The answer is yes and no depending on what you are looking to achieve. Active games can be purchased from approximately $30 - $20,000 depending on the game and the accessories involved. There are many active games on the market relatively inexpensive. Funding one or two active game stations in your classroom is reasonable and can be readily affordable. If you are looking to put together an entire room of active gaming equipment your best option is to write a grant to help fund the project. Many grants are available throughout the year. Partnering with a local university is a great way to have assistance in locating and writing applicable grants.

Should we be asking children to spend more time in front of a screen?

The concept of active gaming is twofold: 1) to replace sedentary screen time with active screen time and/or, 2) become a gateway to more traditional physical activities. Using active gaming in physical education should be implemented to promote healthy, active lifestyles through physical activity. Active gaming should not support inappropriate, recreational screen time.

How do I know active gaming is appropriate to use in physical education?

NASPE supports the use of active gaming in physical education if implemented based on the National Standards and suggested technology guidelines. Active gaming should be a tool to accomplish learning objectives based on National standards, and should not be used as the curriculum to keep children “busy, happy, and having fun.” Visit the NASPE website to learn more about using technology in physical education:  http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/  

How do I know if I will have enough space to use active gaming in my classroom?

The space you have available for active gaming will actually assist in determining the type of equipment you purchase. There are multiple ways to use active gaming in regards to space allocation. Designating a room where the equipment does not have to be mobile is one option but not necessary. Having a mobile cart that is able to be moved in and out of a storage room is a simple way to include active gaming in your classroom activities.

How durable is the equipment?

Durability depends on the type of equipment and how much use it will receive. Consider purchasing equipment that is semi-commercial or commercial grade to avoid the easy wear and tear from use in the physical education classroom. Be sure to discuss warranty options with all equipment purchases as well. Because active gaming is “technology” driven, technological issues will most likely occur but many of these issues can be quickly and in most cases easily resolved.

What are the recommended ages for using active gaming?

A general suggestion based on equipment size and appropriate implementation strategies may suggest active gaming is most suitable for children ages 7 and older. However, depending on the individual child and his/her ability level, active gaming may or may not be appropriate. It is important that best practices are followed in order to implement active gaming successfully.

I have 2 Wii and 2 TV. I also have 2 classes with around 50-60 kids in the gym at the same time. Any ideas how to implement the use of the 2 Wii without having kids standing around and watching the participants? If I have stations set-up for the other students, how can I keep them engaged in their activity instead of watching the others at the Wii station?

Thank you for your question. Without knowing more about your students I will take a stab and we can discuss further if needed :-). First, do you have 2 players or 4 players on each Wii/Television? I would suggest this is certainly one way to get the "most" out of the Wii stations. Certainly not a must...Also, is this a new activity for your students? If so, the novelty of always watching does wear off with time and structure. Second, how you design the lesson around the Wii's will certainly depend on what you are teaching. The Wii stations would need to accomplish the same learning objectives as the other activities/stations in your lesson. If you are looking at heart rates, then you would need to simply use it as another piece of equipment in which heart rate is measured at that station just as it would be at the other traditional stations. When designing lessons with the Wii around fitness be selective of the games. Some of the games are not going to produce the fitness results you may be wanting your students to receive and/or recognize. If a goal of your lesson is to recognize different levels of intensity then you could simply use games on the Wii as an identifier of activities that are low intensity, etc. The main part of your question is the large class size. You obviously understand the need to maximize participation. Depending on the set up of your facility/gym, and the lesson at hand, the Wii may not be the best activity to implement or have in the classroom. If you have 4 students at the two Wii stations (2 at each TV) then you would need approximately 12-14 more stations of 4 students. Is this feasible? If you have larger groups and fewer stations then you would simply need to have an activity at the Wii Station for the remaining students and then rotate them in. This poses many issues dealing with the time length of the stations as only letting students participating on Wii games for a few minutes before switching defeats the purpose of playing the games. They are never able to really get in the "zone" or flow of the game. Another suggestion would be to use it as a rotating station in the academic classroom for mini breaks during the day. Not sure you want to go this direction but schools here are finally starting to incorporate active games in the academic classroom and it is going well. Another way to collaborate with teachers :-) If you could provide me a little more information (grade level, space, exact type of Wii with number of remotes, etc...)I will try to better assist you.

Thanks for offering this opportunity to ask questions in regards to active gaming. I struggle with what students can learn from active gaming. I am not a very creative thinker....can you please list the things a student can learn from active gaming. It is easy to have students playing active gaming, but what specifically can students learn? What are some specific learning objectives? Thanks again for your help!

Your question is one that many teachers struggle with and a reason we have decided to have an active gaming section on PE Central. Active gaming should only be considered a "tool" or another piece of equipment in which teachers use to accomplish a learning objective. Therefore, depending on the active game and the learning objective you have planned, your students could learn fitness and/or dance concepts, develop motor skills, cognitively focus on learning the rules and various strategies in games, develop cooperative learning skills, etc. Check out the teaching tips on PEC if you have a chance as well! Thank you again and I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can answer any further questions.

How can you make Active Gaming practical for class sizes of 80+ students? It doesn't seem fair for a few kids to control the game while others just move on practice pads, or poly spots. In a 45 minute class period it would be difficult to make sure everyone had a chance with the controls.

Thank you for the question - one in which many have a concern with; especially when large class sizes are an issue. Maximizing participation must always be considered when planning lessons. A class of 80+ is certainly one that would make lesson planning more difficult when it comes to having enough equipment. Active gaming equipment is not always "inexpensive" or even reasonable to provide all students. Often, a lesson would need to be planned to integrate traditional methods in order to accomplish the same learning objective - simply using different types of equipment. It is not necessary that all students participate in the active game activities at the same time or even on the same day. However, implementing an affective rotation strategy to ensure all students are able to use the active gaming equipment would be important. For example, Dance Dance Revolution may be a great activity in which half of the class may participate using practice pads and the live pads. Students could simply rotate on and off the live pads after each song. The other half of the class could be working on the same dance or fitness objective using traditional methods (the chosen equipment or activity would be determined by the learning objective you have chosen). I hope this has answered your question! Please let me know if I can assist you further or answer additional questions and concerns!

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