Talking ‘bout digitality
An analysis of PE curricula in German-speaking countries
Digital technologies have permeated most aspects of modern life. In particular, the intersection of digitalization and physical activity has seen significant developments. Such digital technologies have become constitutive of adolescents’ life, being a main source of information and a strong influence for their knowledge and behavior in physical activities. These developments have raised significant questions among educational stakeholders worldwide, providing the basis for digital education at all school levels. One of the core goals for the future is preparing the next generation to be able to use digital technologies within physical activities competently, while at the same time taking a constructive and critical perspective on the potentials and risks. The subject of physical education (PE) plays a major role in this intersection. Since it is the central role of a curriculum to act as a systematic framework for the course of learning, it is of particular interest to what extent issues of digitalization appear in PE curricula. Against this backdrop, this paper examines how digitalization is interpreted for official curriculum texts in and across current PE curricula in three German-speaking countries. A qualitative comparative document analysis has been applied. The findings demonstrate differences in what is valued in terms of digitalization and PE. Digital media appear with a predominantly functional character where media are primarily used as tools, for example, for movement analyzes aiming at improving sports skills. In addition, the critical reflection regarding the medial effects of, for example, fitness trends or body ideals embedded in media is only rarely addressed. The paper concludes that future curriculum reforms should address digitalization and PE in a more comprehensive way to empower students critically navigating through sport and movement in the digital realm.
Copyright (c) 2023 Stefan Meier, André Poweleit
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