Video games now in gym class
Years ago, gym teachers waged a war with video games, blaming them for turning children into couch potatoes.For hours on end, children were glued to their seats while their fingers ran rampant over controllers. That all changed when physical education teacher Don Prorok’s brother bought a Nintendo Wii over the summer.“I was playing in the garage and I was tired and sore all over,” Prorok said.When the school year began, Prorok and the other gym teachers at Chelsea Intermediate School wrote a grant proposing to buy the Nintendo Wii systems to implement into the physical education curriculum. The interactive video game forces players out of their seats and makes them use their arms and legs, which allows for a cardio workout.
Prorok said that convincing administration wasn’t difficult at all.
“They loved it and they were right on board with it,” he said. “Our administration really supports us in what we do.”
The school bought seven systems with 28 controllers, also purchasing Wii Sports game that comes with tennis, bowling, boxing, baseball and golf. The whole school can use the systems, but the gym classes have priority.
Fellow gym teacher Kay Elam said that they were all excited about the game because it brings technology into the classroom and helps develop positive attributes in the children.
“It’s developing more sportsmanship and comradery among the kids,”she said.
Fourth-grader Hannah Stovall said she received a Nintendo Wii for Christmas and that she enjoys the active games.
“I like that you don’t have to do it with the controller, you can actually use motion,” she said.
Madeline Vaughan enjoyed the Wii system for very different reasons.
“I think its the ability to play video games at school,” Madeline said, laughing
Prorok said that incorporating the video game into the curriculum was his way of trying to be innovative, as well as beating the enemy at his own game.
“They’re going to play video games anyway, we might as well steer them to the right ones,” he said.
John McGinn, also in the fourth grade, said that he enjoyed how active the game was and how fun it was.
Steven Ogbonna said he enjoyed how life-like the game was.
“Its how real life, it’s real actual physical education,” he said.
Prorok said that another reason he brought the Wii system into the school is because of the friendliness of the game.
“That’s why I love Nintendo games, there not like shooting games,” he said. “I mean how can Mario be mean?”
Author: Shenequa A. Golding, Southtown Star 20th January 2008