Let's explore the physical education landscape of the 21st century

Building off our introduction to CSHP and the concept of ASCD's whole child framework let's explore the physical education landscape of the 21st century. As a reminder, the tenets of the whole child framework are: 

  • Each student enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle.
  • Each student learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults.
  • Each student is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community.
  • Each student has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults.
  • Each student is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study and for employment and participation in a global environment.

In an increasingly interconnected world it's important to incorporate the ideas of our best and brightest collective minds. To this end, the Global Forum for Physical Education Pedagogy (GoFPEP) "was founded by Prof. Dr. Christopher R. Edginton and Prof. Dr. Ming-kai Chin as a global 'think tank' designed to rethink, reform and reframe physical education pedagogy. Awareness raising, identity re-branding, and strategy re-adjustment continue to be the key components of the forum’s focus to foster field change. GoFPEP is recognized for the depth and range of its roster of world renowned speakers, workshops and model school presentations showcasing best practices from different countries/regions, school and community program implementation and site visits, and most importantly expanded opportunities for shared dialog and discovery. GoFPEP is uniquely constructed for delegates to continue to work locally while connecting globally. The end goal is for sustainable behavioral change, and while this may vary in look from community to country, GoFPEP provides the structure for a sharing of local perspectives within a global construct as a means to this achievable end."

"Twenty-first century formal and informal learning environments found in schools and in the community must be crafted to inform, inspire, and transform individuals to enhance their lives, work, and play. The world is increasingly interconnected and such learning environments will, by necessity, require a more global perspective, yet will be required to be crafted in a fashion that is culturally and contextually relevant. Technology will provide a means to transport nearly instantaneously information from one part of the world to another. Two of the most important topics are that of globalization and promoting best practice. Globalization refers to the connection of ideas, concepts, and thinking and is greatly influenced by the rapid transfer of information that occurs in our society today. Best practices are programs, processes, and/or procedures that continuously and regularly produce superior results."1-2

Tom Root, Founder and CEO of HOPSports had this to say in the foreword of GoFPEP's most recent publication, "To think that technology is not a critical component in our perception of health and wellness, the linking role of PE, and even the participation in physical activity is antiquated at best and irresponsible at worst. Technology is often viewed in physical education circles as 'the enemy' leading to more sedentary lifestyles, which in turn lead to increases in the rate of obesity and diabetes. However, technology can play a constructive role as well, increasing access to new forms of physical activity based on traditional dances, martial arts, and sports. We can say to our children with endless repetition, 'Exercise and play more, watch what you eat,' but to drive the message home we must utilize what they already have at their disposal: smartphones, iPads, and computers."

Play has always been at the core of a healthy childhood. However, we must recognize that today’s generation plays and creates in entirely different ways due to technology. It is a generation of choice, and we must provide opportunities to exercise and play on demand, in any setting. In cities and countries around the globe, a new generation is being born into a world where technology is omnipresent. Youth are connecting and socializing instantaneously through technology, playing games, and creating new forms of expression. Recently, I watched a young child newly forming words marvel at a turn-off, turn-on heat-radiating, temperature-regulating fireplace (itself a wonder). When asked, "Is this magic?" he confidently replied, "No, remote." Technology renders instant access, comprehension, and knowledge, enabling communication at unprecedented speed with unparalleled potential. 

Technology has the power to transform our behavior and activity as well as the ability to track and measure our preferences and performance. At this critical apex, we are uniquely positioned to follow the Coordinated School Health Model to link health, education, and communities to change direction and lives for the better. A child needs to feel safe and be healthy to be primed for learning and knowledge retention. Corporations, professional sports teams, hospitals, health agencies, recreation facilities, and service providers are joining forces to disseminate health practices customized to the unique needs of each individual community. Through this collaborative and comprehensive approach, the effectiveness of the message is maximized and future health care and safety costs are minimized. Community stakeholders are afforded the valued position of educating the future workforce while promoting individual and community wellness.

Through technology we may visually and virtually share best practices of school and community to transform thought, shape policy, and find curative solutions. The Global Forum on Physical Education Pedagogy gathers scholars, physical and health educators, and industry leaders worldwide to stimulate new ways of thinking informed by established practice. The forum showcases school and community best practices in real time for real solutions. In today’s modern world, we would do well to remind ourselves of the wisdom of the ancients: that what impacts the individual imprints the greater community at large. Technology instantly connects us to vistas unimagined, allowing the free flow of information and ideas regardless of geographical boundaries or cultural differences. 

For centuries, sports and the arts have introduced and connected cultures, resulting in a global cultural exchange. Today, technology allows this cultural exchange on a level unimaginable just a generation ago. Children are introduced to new sports and cultures by watching athletes complete at the highest levels during The Olympics, World Cup, and World Series. A virtual global city-state is a by-product of technology, binding people together to work toward common goals.3

In his lecture, "Physical Education and Interactive Technology: A Celebration of Everyone to Promote Holistic Health and Physical Activity in School," addressed to Lithuanian State University's "Physical Activity and Lifestyle (PAL)" program, Prof. Dr. Ming-kai Chin emphasized the importance of holistic health promotion and physical activity to school-aged children. Chin offered examples and ideas on how to give children and young people the joy of movement during Physical Education lessons, active breaks or extracurricular activities and at the same time involve not only the students but also the members of their families and school community. During the lecture, students were introduced to the world-famous program "Brain Breaks" that focuses on medium to high intensity short, fun physical exercises designed to activate children and adolescents’ brain activity.4

"Increasing prevalence of obesity in all age categories in both male and female populations has been shown globally in the last decade or so. In adults, obesity is mostly accompanied by various health problems such as diabetes, diseases of the cardiovascular system, orthopedic problems, and many others, to name a few. In addition, morbidity and mortality are shown to be increased due to obesity. The health situation is worse when obesity and lack of physical activity develop (couch potato children) during childhood.

Through 21st century technology mediums, children experience a variety of sensory distractions which enable the repetition of standards-based sport and fitness skill development. Kids may simultaneously watch wellness-themed animated videos, choose modern music, or learn valuable educational and social messaging while increasing their moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Multiple times throughout each school day, students engage in classroom Brain Breaks (BB) consisting of short 2- to 5-minute physical activities. Numerous benefits of scheduled physical activity breaks throughout the day include recharging the brain and readying it for learning, engaging all learning and working styles, reducing BMI, reducing absenteeism and behavioral referrals, and empowering individuals to make healthy lifestyle choices. Recent studies indicate that physical activity is central to cognitive development and improved functioning, readiness, concentration, and motivation to learn. Structured physical activity like Brain Breaks has been found to stimulate an individual’s potential to access and process new information."5
-MingKai Chin

Brain Breaks are web-based 2-5 minute activity breaks designed for the individual classroom setting. Without any additional planning or preparation time teachers have an instant additional resource tool to revitalize the classroom environment and activate student learning. Classroom teachers are continually asked to do more with less, and Brain Breaks help increase test scores and fulfill mandates for increased physical activity and nutrition education without compromising valuable instructional time.

HOPSports Brain Breaks are a great class management tool that easily create an environment for optimal learning. 80% of schools nationwide are required to offer physical activity beyond the traditional physical education class. Since students spend more time in the classroom than anywhere else, the classroom is the perfect place to provide increased physical activity and nutrition education.6

Upcoming blog posts will discuss the importance of each tenet of the CSHP and whole child framework in more detail as well as how Brain Breaks and the HOPSports Training System in conjunction with partners such as Kimochis, OrganWise Guys, ISPTC Bullying Brakes, Remo Drums' HealthRHYTHMS, Sally Edwards' Heart Zones, Brain Rush, NFL Play60 address each of them.7-13


  1. http://www.globalpeforum2016.hacettepe.edu.tr/
  2. http://www.globalpeforum2016.hacettepe.edu.tr/history.php
  3. http://www.bvlo.be/public/uploads/files/lo/lo%20en%20sport/voorjougelezen/21032014%20PE%20and%20Health%20Gallery.pdf
  4. http://www.lsu.lt/en/node/5300
  5. http://napa2015.org.tw/SpeakerInfo.php?ID=57
  6. http://hopsports.com/brainbreaks/
  7. http://shop.kimochis.com/main.sc
  8. http://organwiseguys.com/
  9. http://www.isptc.biz/tms.html
  10. http://www.remo.com/portal/hr/index.html
  11. http://www.heartzones.com/
  12. http://www.brainrush.com/
  13. http://www.nflrush.com/play60/

  • By JT Cummings
  • November 2, 2015, 2:47 pm