A study published in Health Education and Behavior looks at the effects of introducing physically active lessons into primary school classes. Norris and her colleagues used the Virtual Traveller (VT) intervention to evaluate whether physically active lessons had any effect on pupil engagement, physical activity and on-task behaviour.
Virtual Traveller is a programme of pre-prepared physically active lesson sessions delivered using classroom interactive whiteboards during regular lessons. A total of 219 children aged 8- to 9-years-old from 10 schools in Greater London took part in the cluster-randomised controlled trial. Children in the intervention schools received 10-minute VT sessions three times a week, for six weeks, during Mathematics and English lessons. To assess the effectiveness of VT, pupils’ physical activity levels, on-task behaviour and engagement were measured at baseline (T0), at weeks two (T1) and four (T2) of the six-week intervention, and at one week (T3) and three months (T4) post-intervention.
The results showed that:
- Pupils in the intervention group showed more on-task behaviour than those in the control at T1 and T2, but this was not maintained post-intervention.
- No difference in pupil engagement between the control and intervention groups was observed at any time point.
- VT was found to increase physical activity, but only during lesson time.
Conclusion of the paper pointed out that interactive whiteboards can integrate physical activities into teaching with no detriment to educational outcomes.
Source : Norris, E., Dunsmuir, S., Duke-Williams, O., Stamatakis, E., & Shelton, N. (2018). Physically active lessons improve lesson activity and on-task behavior: a cluster-randomized controlled trial of the “Virtual Traveller” intervention. Health Education & Behavior. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1177/1090198118762106