Technology impacts health, physical education, recreation, and dance educators in the areas of research, classroom teaching, and distance education. While the overall effect is not yet fully assessable, the presence of technology in so many different aspects of the profession makes it important to more clearly recognize and appreciate its current and potential role. This Digest focuses on computer-based technology as it relates to HPERD in the areas of teaching and distance education.
SPECIALIZED SOFTWAREThe greatest value of computers may reside in the ability to provide improved support to classroom instruction, and the variety of software programs for such use continues to grow. Commercial and shareware programs are available to track grading, student athletic performance, and fitness; conduct health assessments; provide simulations of disease; and monitor research projects, among other functions. The development of individualized software is becoming more common. The availability of hypertext, where selected words in the text of a document can be used as links to other points in a document, has made such software development much easier.
A good example is the shareware package titled HPERIntern (McLean & Hill, 1993), which was created to guide college students through the process of internship development and placement. Using HyperCard, a commercially available application software based on a HyperText language, HPERIntern integrated a number of components from traditional classroom instruction and individual counseling. HPERIntern is a menu-based application that allows students to enter the information stream at a variety of points, rather than be forced to follow a predetermined path. This approach allows students to determine what they think is important rather than what the instructor has deemed important, reinforcing students' ability to control the learning process. The result: a reduction in the amount of classroom time and individual counseling needed for internship preparation.
More recently, user-friendly navigator application software has become available for the WWW. Software such as NetWare, Netscape, and Mosaic have opened the Internet to a new and diverse market place. From the convenience of the classroom a student or teacher can, using a computer and a modem, log into a variety of sites throughout the world.
For example, several dozen medical schools, such as the University of Iowa and Johns Hopkins University, are now on the WWW and provide excellent information as well as videos of various human systems in operation. Students can be exposed to a video of a working heart and even create specific heart problems. Students may see a working heart with a dynamic chart that illustrates heart efficiency (amount of blood pumped per minute). By clicking on a fat-blocked heart, students watch heart efficiency drop dramatically. The students, engaged in the process now, click on the aorta to see an enlarged view a healthy and a fat-clogged aorta. Next the student clicks on the clogged aorta and receives a written or verbal description of how the heart got this way and its potential impact on the owner. Students can take notes and copy the pictures to a notebook that is built into the program and, when done, can download and print the notes.
A number of WWW sites relate to sports, fitness, health, and recreation. A home page is a starting point for exploration into a given host site's resources and connections to other sites. ERIC maintains the AskERIC Virtual Library home page, which provides a gateway to ERIC information, including lesson plans and "infoguides" on relevant topics. Health and recreation pages are very common. The Whole Internet Catalog offers a section on health and includes such topics as substance abuse, safer sex, mental health, and nutrition. Yahoo, organized similarly to the Whole Internet Catalog, is the source for numerous different starting points for investigation into health and recreation. The International Food Information Council Foundation is an excellent source for nutrition-related topics.
Indiana University's Prevention Resource Center home page links to a broad spectrum of health-related resources from government and private sources. Bradford Woods Outdoor Center is an example of a university-supported home page related to recreation and the outdoors. Sports home pages provide information on a variety of topics related to professional and college sports. However, fitness and physical education is not well represented on the Internet.
APPLE VIRTUAL CAMPUS
ASKERIC VIRTUAL LIBRARY
BRADFORD WOODS OUTDOOR CENTER
INDIANA UNIVERSITY'S PREVENTION RESOURCE CENTER
INTERNATIONAL FOOD INFORMATION COUNCIL FOUNDATION
JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS INFORMATION NETWORK
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA VIRTUAL HOSPITAL
WHOLE INTERNET CATALOG
Gold, R. S. (1991). Microcomputer applications in health education. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown Publishers.
McLean, D. D., & Hill, J. M. (1993). Supporting internship preparation: A case study in computer-based support. Schole: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, 8, 37-49. EJ 487 287
Mohnsen, B. S. (1995). Using technology in physical education. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
White, R. (1993). How computers work. Emeryville, CA: Ziff-Davis Press.
This publication was prepared with funding from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education iunder contract number RR93002015. The opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OERI or the Department.
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