Term Paper: Computers Are an Underutilized Resource

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[. . .] This study will be of use to the physical education departments and administration of many school districts. It will serve as a springboard for them to develop their own plans and ideas.

The focus of the study will be on the high school level, but the concepts derived from it will be applicable on the Junior High and lower levels as well. They computer technology involvement may not be as extensive as on the High School level, but it will have some use. The focus of the study is on the high school level as these students are beginning to gain exposure to computers in other areas.

The study will encompass only high schools in my state of residence. The reasoning for this is that they must comply with the same set of State educational guidelines. Variability in state guidelines and requirements could result in different result for different states; cue to the level of need based on state guidelines. In addition, different states offer different levels of support and funding for the purchase and training of computer equipment. The funding levels would definitely have an effect on the results obtained. These confounding variables will be eliminated by using only high schools in the same state.

It is expected that these results will be applicable to other states across the United States and will be adaptable to various circumstances other than those for which they were obtained. The elimination of the above mentioned variable makes this possible. The ideal research will be applicable in many other circumstances other than that for which it was designed.


This research for which this proposal is written will support the thesis that computer technology is an underutilized resource by High School Physical Education teachers. The null hypothesis will state the level of computer technology by High School physical Education teachers is state of the art and no improvements need to be made.

There are several research questions that this study hopes to answer. The first is in relation to the thesis and will approach the topic of computer usage in the physical education setting from several angles. The first will be to determine the number of computers in use in the physical education department. The second will be to determine how these computers are being used. The third aspect will be if the computers are being used by the students and in what manner.

In order to accomplish these tasks a number of research questions will have to be included in the survey that will be used to find answers to the research questions. The survey will be divided into distinctive sections corresponding to the research questions. In this manner, it will resemble four separate surveys. The survey design will have to contain enough questions in order to fully answer the research questions. However this will have to be balanced with the need to keep it short enough so that people are not discouraged by the length and fail to respond. It is the goal to keep the survey to around 100 questions including demographic data.

The research will be divided into several sections. The first section will be comprised of the topics in the above paragraph, measuring the level of computer use in the physical education department. Second section will assess the level of computer knowledge and technical skills of the physical education teacher. It will assess the level of formal training, the frequency and use patterns of the physical education teachers.

The third section of the research will identify any barriers that prevent greater use of computers in the physical education department, It will discuss issues such as funding, inadequate space, or a general lack of interest by administrative staff.

The fourth section of this study will explore the opinions and attitudes of high school physical education teachers regarding computers in general, the usefulness of computers in enhancing their ability to convey the class content and their willingness to accept greater levels of computer usage in the physical education classroom,

This may seem to be a large number of objectives for the study, but an assessment of all of these areas is necessary to assess state of computer usage in physical education departments. It must be remembered that it is the ultimate goal to be able to devise a list of suggestions to help gain greater usage of computers in the physical education classroom. In order to do this we must first identify the problem, then we must determine the scope and severity of the problem. We must try to discover the reason for the current state of being and then determine if the suggestions proposed would be feasible. These tasks will be accomplished by the use of a survey that is divided into the above mentioned four sections. Answers in these four sections will give clear insight into the research goals and questions in an organized manner.

It is expected that the survey layout and design corresponding to the four research question categories will help to evaluate the overall situation and propose solutions to these problems. The format for the study will be a problem/resolution format in which question are proposed, data collected via survey and the data analyzed in relation to the questions. These results will be used to develop a set of recommendations to resolve the issue of underusage of computer technology in physical education. If the data proves the null hypothesis to be true, then recommendations will be made to maintain the current state of affairs and provide for greater enhancement of this usage.

It is believed that this research design will effectively answer the research questions and that the data will effectively support or disprove the hypothesis. The data will be subject to many confounding variables such as differences in demographics, differences in computer experience and training, and attitudes towards computers in general. Survey questions will be specifically targeted to eliminate these variables to as much extent as possible.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

As a part of preliminary research for this proposal the major texts concerning the use of computers and physical education revealed a surprisingly limited number of resources. There are many articled written on the subject of improving results using computers in other subjects of learning, such as math, physics and other subjects. However, there is relatively little written on the application and use of computers as a tool to aid physical education. The subject of this research is the underutilization of computers in the physical education setting and the lack of literature on this subject would lead us to believe that this subject has not received much attention.

Computers are being used as an aid in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. However, the effects of this usage has not been fully studied to date (McLean, 1996). The use of computers in these areas has a potentially larger role than is currently being utilized.

Current State of Technology and Usage majority of the information on the state of the art in computer technology in the classroom comes from disciplines other than physical education or the movement arts. Some of the applications from other disciplines are useful in these areas and are helpful in many of the same ways. However, these usages certainly do not reflect the full potential that computers have in the education setting. Let us now examine some the technology available.

Computers are not replacing classroom teachers, nor were they intended to do so. They are simply supposed to provide support for classroom instruction. There are many commercial and shareware programs available. These programs have the ability to track grading, track student athletic performance, fitness, conduct health assessments, provide simulations of disease, monitor research projects, and many other functions as well. Many of these programs use hypertext to link navigation points in the software, making it an interactive tool, instead of just a book in electronic format.

Many of these applications are menu based (McLean & Hill, 1993). In a study using Hypertext software, college students preparing for internships reduced the number of hours of counseling needed and the amount of classroom time as well (McLean & Hill, 1993). This allowed the classroom time to be spent on more productive tasks. This is a primary example of how computers are being used in the classroom. They are being used to make time spent in the classroom more efficient.

Traditional encyclopedias and reference books are being replaced by interactive Cds that contain pictures, sound and video. These media appeal to all of a student's senses not just the visual. They keep the student's interest and make learning a fun experience instead of drudgery. Some prime examples are in the kinethesiology classroom where students can observe and listen to the mechanics of movement in slow motion. They can repeat those parts they do not understand. In health education classrooms the growth of an embryo can be depicted to birth. This simulation… [END OF PREVIEW]

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