Saturday, 28 August 2010

Active Gaming: Oh, You Mean the Wii?

PE Central recently launched their active gaming website and The below article was posted in order to provide a brief description of active gaming and its intended, appropriate use in the physical education classroom:

I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with individuals discussing active gaming when they say something similar to, "Oh, you mean like the Nintendo Wii?” While my answer is "yes", it has become more and more frustrating to realize that superb marketing of a popular brand has really conditioned many minds to not properly understand active gaming. Active gaming is more than just the Wii...much more!

Active gaming is an umbrella term with a modern concept of combining technology + games + physical activity. Exergaming is also a popular term associated with active gaming that some refer to as "active" video game play. Yes, Nintendo Wii is an active game; but, so are a variety of virtual bikes, rhythmic dance games (dance dance revolution), martial arts simulators, HopSports, Gamercize, gesture tracking games, other virtual sports games, etc. Simply stated, there are numerous active gaming activities available on the market- commercially and for residential use. Review the "What is active gaming?" section of our website to learn more.

While many physical activity advocates, and maybe I should include traditionalist, view active gaming as a potentially negative tool to be used to promote physical activity; I am not so sure these technology driven physical activities have been given a proper chance to be successful. A large reason for much misconception is due to a lack of knowledge and or negative experiences with the inappropriate implementation of active gaming. Both of which are understandable and will be discussed further on the PEC active gaming website as well as in our blogs.

The question: "What should active gaming really be?" Active gaming should be a "tool" (in physical education) used to get children physically active while accomplishing learning objectives. Active gaming should not replace traditional physical activities; only accentuate them if that makes sense? A popular facet of active gaming is that the children consider the games fun because the technology aligns with the current generation's interests. If they are going to spend time playing video games why not let them choose an active video game? So I ask you, what is wrong with "fun fitness" if a child will choose to be active playing an active game opposed to a more sedentary behavior? Our goal is to educate children about physical activity in hopes they will become voluntarily active for a lifetime. Active gaming is simply one type of physical activity to help accomplish this goal!

The PE Central Website is intended to assist physical education teachers with implementing active gaming in the classroom using best practices; however, the information provided may be of value to others interested in learning more about this contemporary movement in physical activity.

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