The use of digital media in primary school PE – student perspectives on product-oriented ways of lesson staging

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Background: There is a controversial debate about the use of digital media in physical education. There are various research results, which mostly do not relate to primary school, however. There are no known studies showing how media educational goals can be integrated into physical education. Our contribution takes this desideratum as its starting point. Taking both current discussion lines in sports pedagogy about physical education in elementary school and the basic assumptions of media education into account, we designed, implemented and evaluated teaching units for the use of digital media in physical education.

Purpose: This occurred with regard to the research question of how students in elementary school interpret and experience the use of digital media in physical education when media educational goals and objectives of physical education are addressed equally. This raises the question which opportunities and limitations for educational processes (with regard to movement education, general education and also media education) can be reconstructed.

Method: To address the question of students’ perspectives and interpretations on the usage of digital media in physical education, tablets were used in the PE classroom of four primary school classes over the period of one school year. Lessons were developed and carried out in which students were tasked with creating media products using the tablets and the iMovie app. The teaching units were evaluated afterwards based on the research approach of focusing on the perspectives of the students involved. For this purpose, we conducted and analyzed 39 guided interviews with the students after each lesson. The data was analyzed using the grounded theory methodology.

Findings: From the analysis of the interviews we developed a category system that describes phenomena of an extended range of access to the experience of physical activity in PE. These are captioned using the categories ‘New creative roles and tasks’ (which is divided in the two subcategories ‘The empowered camera child’ and ‘The cool actor’) and ‘Focused products’ (which is divided in the three subcategories ‘Re-recording of a product’, ‘Improving and developing the product’, and ‘Appreciation and recognition of the product’). The results show that the children's main focus is on their experience of movement.

Conclusion: The use of digital media opens up new possibilities in the context of learning and experiencing movement. Besides the function of learning with media, the use of digital media in physical education also means that students learn something about media, for example when the use of media generates personal data that the students and teachers work with. Whether the use of digital media can be beneficial for physical education classes thus depends on the design of the lesson itself.
Translated title of the contributionDer Einsatz digitaler Medien in der Grundschule PE – Schülerperspektiven auf produktorientierte Unterrichtsweisen
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Volume27
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
ISSN1740-8989
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022