Last updated: 11.10.13

Tablets 'boosting uptake of PE in schools'

Video learning delivered through tablets is helping to reduce levels of obesity in schoolchildren and improve uptake of physical education (PE).

In Scottish institutions, government guidelines demanding that pupils commit to at least two periods of PE each week are being met and exceeded, with technology a main driver behind the positive results.

Official figures have revealed that since June this year, 96 per cent of high schools have reached national targets, compared to less than half in 2011, reports the Edinburgh Evening News.

Educators are using the tablets to conduct video reports of children's techniques, which are analysed to encourage the kids to improve their performance.

This comes after WeightWatchers research recently found two-thirds of people living in Edinburgh spend more than 20 hours a day sitting or lying down, with technology and TV the main reasons for this.

However, education leaders are now proving it is possible to use devices like tablets in a positive way, to boost exercise levels in school pupils and bring down obesity.

According to Kevin Brown, PE development officer for Edinburgh, funding grants from Education Scotland have been used to introduce technology to PE and change the way children engage with their lessons.

Last year, around £40,000 was accessed by a number of the city's facilities that recognised the tablets as useful tools for transferring information on pupil progress.

Mr Brown explained: "With the iPads, you can see video clips or other methods of capturing [the pupils'] performance that can help their transition."

Schools not just in Scotland, but all over the UK, should be looking for ways in which technology can boost uptake of PE among students and combat obesity.

They could look to introduce courses run by external training providers such as Virtual College, which offers online modules in various aspects of children's health. These include foundation programmes in Nutrition, Healthier Foods and Special Diets and Childhood Obesity and Healthy, Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young (HENRY).