North Crawford School District in Wisconsin gets students moving in physical education classes with Exergaming. Exergaming, or interactive gaming as some would call it, is technology, gamification, and fitness combined. It is a better way to educate the importance of fitness because it makes the fitness experience fun, and keeps children engaged. They have been playing videogames all their life, so shifting sedentary screen time into active game play, and reinforcing that within schools teaches the importance of activity and movement in health and wellness.
It is difficult for many school districts to afford new PE equipment that creates a more engaging and effective learning environment. Like so many schools, North Crawford needed to apply for a grant in order to achieve their district health and wellness goals. Lucky for North Crawford, it was one of 56 PEP grant winners in 2012 out of 500 applicants. The PEP grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Schools (OSHS) and gives schools the funding to enhance Physical Education and Nutrition programs.
North Crawfords first step was creating a group based interactive dance class using iDance. iDance is similar to Dance Dance Revolution, where participants interact with a floor dance pad at varying intensity levels based on their skill. One of the many ways that the iDance is different from traditional Dance Dance Revolution is that it has been designed with Physical Education classes in mind. Children can deal a lot of punishment onto equipment through heavy use, so having quality, long lasting equipment is important for schools who need something that works.
How effective is group based interactive dance? Studies show that a one hour mid-level intensity iDance session is the same as walking 3.6 miles on a treadmill in that same time period.
North Crawford is particularly excited because the iDance allows there to be 32 participants at the same time, each with their own wireless dance pad. This accommodates all the children in a typical PE class. North Crawford’s Wellness Committee, the North Crawford Fitness Force (NCFF), is excited at the big opportunities the PEP grant allows them. Advocating lifelong physical activity and making sure that North Crawfords PE programs meet Wisconsin State PE Standards is the primary focus of the PEP grant.
If you are a Physical Educator and are advocating a more engaging active lifestyle for your school district, read more about how to find funding to support your cause in our past blog focusing on PEP grants.