P.E. Goes Virtual

By: Jill Chandler Email
By: Jill Chandler Email

Tallahassee, Florida --

No more dressing for gym and hurrying to shower. Physical Education classes are now being offered virtually.

More than 13 million children in the United States are obese or overweight. With Virtual P.E. children have more options for how they would like to work out, but is online the answer? The question is being hotly debated from both sides.

Everyone knows what an average P.E. class looks like, but now imagine a Virtual P.E, equipped with Captain Cardio to lead you through the lesson.

Leon County Schools say adding virtual P.E. is all about giving kids choices.

Jane Selman is a Florida Virtual School P.E. teacher. She said the courses offer different options. She added, "Aerobic videos, and dance videos, or dance class or martial arts class."

In virtual P.E., students measure their body mass index and keep journals while their parents supervise and chat with the instructor.

Selman said, "I just had a student last week tell me she's lost 17 pounds since she started the course."

But traditional P.E. teachers said with childhood obesity on the rise, kids need more supervision for physical activity.

Laurie Cox is the Elementary P.E. Coordinator for Leon County Schools. She said, "We work on skills, we work on a lot of fitness concepts, and we're teaching kids how to interact with each other which is a big part of getting along in life as well."

While there's accountability in both forms of P.E., those involved in real life P.E. say they wonder if parents are just signing off on their online courses.

Cox said, "I've heard that from numerous students that have taken it ... from several parents that said. 'yeah, I just signed off on it."

First graders we spoke to say if given the option, they know which one they would choose.

Bryce Long said, "Doing it here."

"Because it's just more fun," said Colby Helms.

Boone Hosey agreed with his friends. He said, "Here at school... "why"... because it's more funner than online."

P.E. is mandatory for students to take in K -12 grades. In high school, the students have to take a P.E. to graduate, but with everything else, students find ways to get out of it , or have their parents sign off on it.

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  • by Stephanie Location: Miami on Sep 10, 2011 at 12:49 PM
    Why do you play dance dance revolution? a. to lose weight b. to have fun. or c. to lose weight and have fun. ...answer=c why do you play the wii.........same thing! you are more active and you laugh and socialize harder! What about PERSONAL FITNESS??? Have you ever made the comparison? Well you actually learn on a daily basis with virtual school personal fitness and you have the knowledge on how to apply it throughout your lifestyle. In a traditional p.e. classroom, you go to p.e. 2 or 3 times a week in high school, not to mention the additional days off (weekends, holidays, summer vacation, spring vacation, winter vacation) HELLO! THAT'S YOUR SLACK VACATION! With virtual school p.e. You do it everyday and have more physical contact with physical exercise! You know how to eat and are reminded daily(everyday) on what to do and are inspired to apply it. How on earth is virtual p.e. different from the wii (A.K.A. virtual P.E.) traditional p.e. and virtual p.e. are GREAT options!
  • by Cindy Location: Tallahassee on May 31, 2011 at 09:03 AM
    Physical fitness is an individual preference. There is not a one-size-fits-all. If traditional school PE courses worked for everyone, why are there so many obese children? The PE courses I took in high school certainly didn't keep me fit. Online PE courses spend more time teaching you about nutrition, the science behind calisthenics, different types of exercise and how to calculate what YOUR body needs to stay fit, etc. My public school PE classes never taught that. Physical fitness is more than just playing some basketball, dodgeball, or other "games" with your classmates (or more often than not--sitting in the gym doing homework because it was raining and the school didn't know what to do if it wasn't in the lesson plan). Physical fitness is a lifelong skill that takes some intelligence to maintain. Maybe if MORE kids took online PE, they would be better equipped and informed to be healthy eaters and exercisers for their adult life. (I think some adults could use an online Personal Fitness course!). Don't criticize something that you don't know anything about. Online PE has met the needs of thousands of kids who wouldn't or couldn’t "dress out" in their school PE class, and have given them the tools to take charge of their own health instead of being told when and how to eat and exercise.
  • by Rob Location: NYC on May 24, 2011 at 06:27 PM
    As a new teacher it hurts my soul to hear that this is even an option for kids, it's sad to know how lazy we are raising our kids we are the most powerfull counntry in the world and this is the solution for resolving the obesity problem? i would hope that the people with the power to make or break these rules would come to their senses and make the right choice, but FYI Online PE is not it.
  • by Anonymous on May 24, 2011 at 11:21 AM
    This is why there are so many cases of obese children. Obviously if a child is already over weight the parent inst inforcing a healthy lifestyle, then your going to put thier P.E. class in the parents hands. Kids are going to get huge! I'm active and excersice regularly and i still wouldn't let my child do this!
  • by @ anonymous 11:20 on May 24, 2011 at 09:18 AM
    Well aren't you a nice person.
  • by Anonymous on May 24, 2011 at 08:20 AM
    This is why american's are fat. Get on a treadmill, seriously. I can't stand people who are fat.
    • reply
      by Jean on May 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM in reply to
      I am so sorry that you are so prejudiced. People like you will pay the price in the long run. Karma Happens.
  • by @retiredmarine on May 24, 2011 at 05:53 AM
    You blame the education system but what can they do when there are cuts each year. Cuts in staff and money. People scream for smaller government with no care for the consequences. While I agree this is a lame idea the education system is not solely to blame.
  • by RetiredMarine Location: Tallahassee on May 23, 2011 at 09:25 PM
    As time goe's by it seems our educators lose more and more control over their charges. It makes me wonder if it's not a concerted and intentional effort to avoid their responsibility to the students. Now they intend to allow some child who is in all likelyhood overweight, undisciplined and irresponsible to take charge of his or her fitness regimen. It's destined to fail.
    • reply
      by WII convert on May 24, 2011 at 10:08 AM in reply to RetiredMarine
      Hey Jar Head - have you ever tried any of the WII (pronounced WE in case you don't know)physical fitness "games". They are physically demanding, fun and you can do them no matter what the weather is outside. My kids got me started and I have enjoyed. And BTW, I have lost 25 pounds so far.
      • reply
        by Another Wii convert on May 24, 2011 at 12:22 PM in reply to WII convert
        Amen - I have lost 50!
      • reply
        by RetiredMarine on May 27, 2011 at 03:48 PM in reply to WII convert
        Your an adult, and it took a video game to help you lose 50 pounds? Pitiful. Just think about what you'd be able to do with a real fitness program.
  • by Really? Location: Tallahassee on May 23, 2011 at 04:35 PM
    Lamest. Idea. Ever.
  • by Anonymous on May 23, 2011 at 04:26 PM
    Why not go the next step and replace football teams with video games football? I'm sure those virtual muscles will be well toned.
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