Lost Pedometers and Wearable Technology

Photo by: txkimmers
Photo by: txkimmers

During the current course on Teaching, Learning, and Assessment we were asked to create individual projects that involved creating/modifying a lesson to include technology that was meaningful.  Since, I teach physical education, my struggle was to consider what type of technology to use that would still keep my students active and engaged.  My goal was to pick something that would allow for modification of a lesson instead of simply substitution.   I finally decided that using pedometers (which is something I have never done,) would be a good starting point.

I created a lesson, which was adapted from a pdf on the Department of Education of Virigina’s webpage.  The main objectives of the lesson were for my students calculate the number of steps it would take to walk off the calories of a candy bar as well as for them to operate the pedometers accurately and properly.  The lesson would also involve the use of a SmartBoard to introduce the lesson as well as individual and group discussions about the nutritional differences of foods and calorie expenditure.

I was really excited to do this lesson, but unfortunately my pedometers were suddenly unavailable.  Therefore, I am going to reflect on what might have happened had this worked out as well as other possibilities.


If I did have the pedometers I would imagine that it would take a little bit of time for my students to get used to operating them correctly and that I would have to take some time to go over proper care and use before we even did anything.  I’m pretty sure my lesson would have to be broken down into at least two days in order to have time for them to actually do the activity as well as calculate the approximate amount calories they would have expended.  Additionally, I think that using the pedometers would have been a motivating factor in their movement for that class period.  Something new, like a pedometer, definitely motivates me to do more than I would normally do and I imagine that my students would have tried harder to reach their goal than they would have on a given day.

Photo by: Mike Mozart
Photo by: Mike Mozart

Alternatives – BYOD, Trackables, etc.

The pedometers that I had were fairly cheap ones that weren’t exactly very accurate.  I think something like this would be more effective with newer technology, but things like expenses are definitely an issue.  It also would have been great if I could have allowed students to bring their own devices (like a Fitbit or even carrying around a phone) and I imagine that would have even been more motivating for students than the pedometers I would have provided.  However, there would also be the issue of troubleshooting multiple devices from different sources.

What would be great is if I could eventually partner with a company/vendor or maybe receive funding to get trackables, such as a Fitbit, for my students.  I could imagine extending this lesson out even further by allowing classes to wear the device for a certain time period, say a week, and then calculating their step totals.  I have this vision of having whole grades, or even the whole school, wearing trackables to build awareness of their movement.  This would easily be able to translate into different content areas (especially math) if I partnered with classroom teachers and showed them how to track and use their results.  


Although, I wasn’t able to actually teach the lesson that I wanted, the process of creating it really allowed me to think creatively about how I wanted to incorporate technology into physical education and while reflecting my mind explored even more possibilities.  I’m excited to see what I can try in the future as technology is changing rapidly and hopefully at some point I can have access to at least a class set of devices so I can do some experimenting!

Pedometer Activities to Enhance Cross-Curricular Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/physed/walk_smart/pedometer_activities_lessonplans.pdf


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