Education is ever changing with constant new research and ideas influencing the strategies and tools being used in the classroom by educators. Right now the push is for teachers to incorporate technology into their classroom to engage students in learning. This incorporation has been a challenge for some teachers because some of them are just not tech savvy. Also, technology can be a huge distraction in the classroom because of things like cellphones. However, many other teachers have found technology to be a great teaching tool and use it religiously in their classroom. Either way, technology is the future and is here to stay so it is time to embrace it. This is why having a professional learning network is important.
Professional learning networks can be extremely beneficial to teachers because it allows them to connect and share ideas. These networks also create opportunities for educators to differentiate instruction. Sites like Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are both great places for teachers to share and gather new ideas to enhance the learning experience for their students. When I was teaching fourth-grade, my first year of teaching, I relied heavily on these websites to help me come up with new ideas to engage my students. I still use these sites as a physical education teacher, along with other ones like Physed Games which gives PE teachers activity ideas and uses YouTube videos to demonstrate them. Having access to these game ideas assists me in making sure that my students never get burnt out on the same old activities. Besides just using technology for sharing and gathering ideas, it can also be used to create new ways for students to interact with the curriculum.
Technology can be a physical education teachers worst enemy because it sometimes encourages laziness. That being said, technology can also be used to encourage students to be more active. Both of these statements are true in the case of video games. Video games are a fun way for students to socialize with peers and also compete. The problem however, is that most video games are played while sitting down with zero physical activity. With many people realizing that video games play a role in the obesity rates of our youth, some game console creators have created consoles that encourage physical activity. Wii was the first interactive console that really made this push with PlayStation and Xbox following later with their own technology. What is great about these consoles is that not only can they be used at home, but also in the classroom. Interactive video games are not a replacement for physical education, but rather a way to enhance physical education as mentioned in the article Schools use active video games as part of PE by Margaret Webb Pressler. With technology always advancing though, PE teachers do not have to rely on consoles to incorporate active games into their classroom. There are now many applications that can be downloaded onto phones and other devices that encourage physical activity in a fun way. A great app that can be used to a PE teachers benefit is the Just Dance Now app. This application is game that turns your phone into a controller to interact with the dance moves being projected onto a screen. Using consoles and applications like these are not only great ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, but also great ways to differentiate instruction and engage students.
These are just a few examples of how a professional learning network is important to teachers. There are so many other useful tools and techniques out there for teachers that can be tapped into by embracing technology.