Zachary Wahl-Alexander

Associate Professor
Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education
College of Education

Course(s) Targeted by this Innovation

KNPE 343: Elementary School Physical Education Methods and Field Experience
KNPE 344/544: Field Experience in the Elementary School 
KNPE 449: Current Issues in Physical Education and Sport
KNPE 479/579: Field Experience in Secondary Physical Education

Purpose and Impact

At NIU, our physical education students are part of a cohort system where they learn together over several semesters consecutively. The courses targeted by this innovation courses build on one another, culminating with the student teaching experience. Each bundle of courses (343/344/544 & 449/479/579) combines a three-hour lecture course with a clinical teaching experience out in local schools. Each of these courses and clinicals experiences are required for licensure and to advance within their studies.

The purpose of this curricular innovation is to expand upon the work I am currently doing teaching in the metaverse, by developing a 360-degree video bank of experienced Preservice teachers (PT) and experienced teachers providing high quality physical education instruction that would be integrated into all of these courses.

Description of Innovation

This past fall (2023), NIU partnered with Meta to build one of 10 metaversities throughout the United States. I was selected and have been successfully integrating VR into several of my courses (KNPE 335 and KNPE 343). Currently, I am utilizing this technology to provide high quality teaching experiences for my PTs where they are able to practice content they learn in-class in an extremely realistic environment that replicates a gym space they will be using in the future.

The current innovation hopes to build off of this experience by creating a 360-degree video bank of high-quality physical education lessons. 360-degree video is a type of videography where the viewer has an all-around view of what’s happening. This immersive experience allows for a more complete understanding of the scene. Although this type of video can be watched on any device, it can be used in VR to allow the viewer to explore or experience the content as if they are actually in the space (picture a fully immersive Imax experience).

My proposal is to create a video bank of expert/experienced physical education teachers from a diverse background, teaching a diverse variety of student populations. Taking this a step further, I will record a variety of content (e.g., isolated skills, sports, fitness activities), being taught using an assortment of pedagogical models and teaching styles. Once I have created this video bank of lessons, I will have the ability to integrate this technology into lectures and assignments focused on a wide range of skills (i.e., behavior management, effective teaching practices, content). For example, I can have my students watch a specific video, have them pause the footage at specific time points following a teacher behavior, and identify the impact of the teacher behavior. Finally, as time progresses, I can incorporate my own students filming their own teaching and using the VR footage to conduct extremely thoughtful reflections. Not only is this novel, but there are significant scholarly implications here as well.

Contact Us

Center for Innovative
Teaching and Learning

Phone: 815-753-0595

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