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Exergaming can engage students and parents at parent–teacher conferences

It is well known that parental involvement is an important factor in a student’s success in school. To get parents involved you have to get them in the door. Parent–teacher conferences offer a great setting to encourage parental involvement and actively engage parents in their children’s education both at home and at school.

During parent–teacher conferences at La Union Elementary, a small school on the U.S./Mexico Border, the school’s physical education teacher set up two Nintendo Wii exergaming stations in the school’s gym for family use between meetings with teachers. One station was equipped with Just Dance and the other with Dance Dance Revolution. Parents and students experienced exergames and valuable play time together first-hand.  The fun nature of the exergames helped ease some of the anxious tension related to the conferences and helped families get active together.

“It was a neat and different activity because you are not just waiting out in the hallway for the teacher to get ready for you, and it is a great way to get your blood circulating,” said parent Tina Guillen.

The school’s PE teacher, Hortencia Valterria, who had been using exergames with students in her classes and afterschool program, had already introduced exergaming to the students, but the games were new to many of the parents. “It was a great activity for parent–teacher conferences because a lot of parents do not know what exergames are, and on a day like this every parent is in the school, so everybody got to see them,” said La Union Principal Anabel Tanbe.

The exergames helped show parents and students alternative ways to get active.

“It is really important that our students get out there and move and it is really good for them to be able to have an alternative option and not have to be involved in team sports in order to be active,” said Valterria.

 

Making It Work:

– Think of school events such as open house nights or parent–teacher conferences in which to incorporate exergames for youth and parents.

– Find volunteers to help set up and offer assistance during these times. Approaching your school’s PTO is a good place to start.

– Use active games that are fairly easy to use and don’t have much set-up time. Just Dance for the Wii is a great option that can also engage several people at one time.

– Use games that appeal to different audiences, abilities and age ranges.

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Funding Information

© 2013. NMSU Board of Regents. All rights reserved. This project was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative (Grant #2008-55215-18837).

About Us

The Exergames Unlocked project includes a multi-state team of accomplished media education researchers, exercise physiologists, medical professionals and doctoral students. Contributing members are researchers in their fields and have helped launch the use of exergames as tools to combat obesity in their communities and beyond. New Mexico State University researchers and their partners have been funded to research the impact of exergames, develop specific recommendations for exergame use, and implement exergaming programs. As part of that project, this website provides access to resources based on research, sample projects, and input from the exergaming community. For more information, contact the project director: Dr. Barbara Chamberlin, Professor, New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service
575-646-2848
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Why Exergames Unlocked?

Why Exergames Unlocked? Exergames are videogames that encourage physical activity. Here, you’ll find the best and most effective exergames, as well as strategies and recommendations on using them with different audiences and in different locations.