Florida Elementary School Uses Interactive Video Games To Promote Physical Education


Belle Witter Elementary School in Tampa, FL is the recent recipient of an XRKade "active gaming" room, implemented as part of the University of South Florida's XRKade Research LAB at the school's College of Education.

The XRKade platform--developed by iTech Fitness--is designed to combine video gaming and exercise to motivate children to be physically active. The gaming room is equipped with video-enabled bikes, XRBoards, and Dance Dance Revolution, as well as other games that promote physical activity. USF provided the XRKade and gaming systems to Belle Witter through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and will use the deployment to conduct case study research.

"We chose fifth graders because research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the biggest decline in physical activity occurs in 9- and 10-year-olds," said USF Ph.D. student Lisa Hansen, who co-directs the research program, in a prepared statement. "They think that games are fun, but exercise is work. When kids use active gaming equipment, we can get them to think, 'This can't be exercise. It's too much fun.'"

The original XRKade Research Lab opened at USF in January 2007.

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Chris Riedel is a freelance writer based in Illinois. He can be reached here.