Every physical education teacher regularly tests their students for their fitness levels. Many elementary school physical education teachers utilize the President’s Youth Fitness Program, which includes a variety of fitness tests designed to measure a child’s overall health-related fitness. One of the technology components of the President’s Youth Fitness Program is called FitnessGram, which is an online assessment resource that evaluates the five components of health-related fitness: aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition (Cooper Institute, 2016).
I talked with several current elementary school teachers about how they kept track of their student’s fitness score results and none of them used FitnessGram. One of them reported that she had thought about using it, but had heard it was too time-consuming and over-complicated. Only subscribers can directly access the FitnessGram program, so I was unable to find out for myself what the program was really like. After reviewing the different sections of the FitnessGram information web site, and the FitnessGram manual, this program does seem like it’s overly-complicated and not very practical. The manual was more than 150 pages long! Unfortunately, this seems like another online tool that is just “technology for technologies sake.”
Technology can still be used to keep track of and organize student’s fitness score results, but it does not need to be very complicated or intricate. A simple data spreadsheet program like Excel would be an effective way to manage the fitness score results. The teacher can have the students help with entering their data in the teacher’s laptop, as well as showing the students how to organize and keep track of their individual data as the year progresses. The teacher can then email this data to the student’s parents with a short note on the student’s progress and if there are any areas where they need to improve. This addresses the fifth component of ISTE Standard 3: explain how technology can be used to help process data and report results.
Learning how technology skills such as spreadsheets and databases can be applied in areas outside of a traditional classroom environment is an important skill for elementary-age students to begin acquiring. Such skills are essential for individuals in K-12, post-secondary and workplace environments (Huggins, 2014).
Cooper Institute (2016). What is FitnessGram? Retrieved from http://www.fitnessgram.net/parents-students.asp.
Huggins, A. C., Ritzhaupt, A. D., & Dawson, K. (2014). Measuring information and communication technology literacy using a performance assessment: Validation of the Student Tool for Technology Literacy (ST2L). Computers & Education, 77(C), 1–12.