In the first presentation on Physical Activity in Game-Centered Approaches (GCAs), what I want to do is highlight three main issues, and these issues have arisen over a series of studies I have conducted into Physical Activity in Game-Centered Approaches (GCAs). Two previous studies are already published (Smith et al., 2015 - http://epe.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/10/21/1356336X14555293.abstract and Harvey et al., 2015 - see below) and one is in press (Harvey et al., 2016). However, I am going to speak directly to the three issues today using data that I have collected this past year in two schools, one elementary and one middle, in the state of West Virginia. For this study, I recruited two teachers, both basketball coaches, to deliver 6-8 lessons (though my data presented is based on 6 lessons) of basketball using the Tactical Games Model TGM). Following IRB approval, I recruited 79 and 92 pupils at the respective middle and elementary schools. We measured fidelity of teaching using TGM via Metzler's (2011) benchmarks, and had over 85% agreement that teachers were 'doing the model'.
The highlights main highlights I want to put forward using these data I collected are:
1. Instrumentation Issues
Firstly, I collected data using accelerometers and downloaded files using a 1-second epoch and Evenson's (2008) cut off points. I also observed all classes and collected data using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT). The graphics show the results of these two data collections. Data recorded using SOFIT demonstrated high physical activity levels were achieved than via accelerometry, where students met the 50% MVPA criterion suggested by the Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2013). However, the students fell short of this criterion when physical activity was measured through accelerometry. In addition, because I was able to collect individual-level data using accelerometry, this meant that I was also able to demonstrate significant differences in activity levels between boys and girls at both elementary and middle schools though differences between schools were non-significant. The final significant finding from my research was the level of vigorous physical activity (VPA) students gained via lessons taught through a GCA, to which I now turn.
2. The quality of the Physical Activity is very important and not just meeting the 50% level
My previous research with colleagues (Harvey et al., 2015 - see http://js.sagamorepub.com/pe/article/view/6998) has shown that lessons taught via a GCA can yield higher levels of vigorous physical activity than direct instruction approaches. While the current data are non-comparative in nature, they again demonstrate the significant contribution of VPA to physical activity levels when a teacher uses a GCA. For example, in accelerometry, about 2/3 of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was VPA. In SOFIT similar trends were noted in terms of the large contribution of VPA to MVPA. Indeed, the pattern of physical activity engagement mirrors that would be expected in a typical basketball game, where p[eriods of VPA are followed by periods of light and sedentary physical activity while the students recover from the previous bout of VPA. I would, therefore, argue that the quality of the physical activity is AS important as the amount, especially when it comes to validating a model or approach to teaching from a physical activity standpoint. This is covered in more detail in the next section.
3. Physical Activity can be dependent on lesson goals and the pedagogical model used by the teacher
As I raised in the previous point, physical activity is dependent on the goals of the lesson. For example, if the TGM teacher notices that the technical skill level of the students is a rate limiter for their progress in the unit, the teacher may spend more time on technical skill than in other lessons. Consequently, there is a likelihood (as can be seen from the infographic) that higher levels of game play in the lesson would lead to higher levels of MVPA - the infographic shows that physical activity is significantly higher in game play than in skill development aspects of the lesson. That said, the 50% MVPA criterion may not be met in all lessons, but may be an attainable goal over the course of a unit of work, if it is well delivered, the teacher is faithful to the model (using requisite pedagogies such as questioning - see Harvey & Light, 2015) and has a decent balance of knowledge, game play and skill development. However, if it is a teacher's first time delivering classes using a specific model, the 50% MVPA may not be met. In addition, anything the teacher can also do to reduce the time spent managing students is likely to assist in increasing student physical activity levels.
Here is the link to the Evidence for Models-Based Practice Presentation: