This week, ICSSPE caught up with the Faculty of Sports Science of the Negeri Semarang University in Indonesia. The discussion focused on the development of their project, Blended Learning to Enhance the Learning of Physical Education and how the relevance of blended learning in physical education has never been as important as now, following the coronavirus pandemic.
Technology and online learning have rapidly become core elements in educational institutions. The ability to adjust learning methods to online teaching has been a critical factor, across the global, in order to sustain education. However, adapting each subject to online learning comes with different degrees of difficulty – subjects come with varied teaching materials and resources. How, for example, can physical education be taught online?
This question is of great importance in the current physical education climate and comes. Coincidently, it comes 2 years after ICSSPE awarded Negeri Semarang University with the 2019/2020 ICSSPE Biennial Working Programme Grant to develop a new physical education system in Indonesia based on the concept of blended learning– A mixture of traditional learning and online learning.
The grant was given to Professor Tandiyo Rahayu, who sits as Dean in the Faculty of Sports Science, and her team – Mohammad Arif Ali, Gustiana Mega Anggita, Billy Castyana. Mohammad Arif Ali and Gustiana Mega Anggita work as lecturers in the Sport Science Department. Mohammad Arif Ali joined the project as the first team member and Gustiana Mega Anggita supports the running of the project. Billy Castyana is a lecturer in the Physical Education Department and works as an analyst for the project and assisted in the proposal phase.
The team sat down together with ICSSPE to share their insights and learnings on how educational institutions can continue to promote physical education and ensure that children remain physical activity through the use of technology.
ICSSPE: Can you explain what the project is about and why you chose to pursue this particular project?
Tandiyo: The instructional practice of physical education in Indonesia so far has not been satisfactory and it can be said that in fact there has hardly been a significant change since I went to school, almost 50 years ago. Most PE teachers are still trapped in the old-fashioned teaching culture. They teach as they used to learn when they went to school. When we tried to formulate the idea of the blended learning project at the end of 2018, all of us, especially in Indonesia, were hit by the euphoria of disruption. Learning in school started utilising IT as a medium and a source of information and Indonesia started to practice this widely. PE is a subject that lags and stumbles following the disruptive changes. The sport community and educators believe that it is impossible to use IT for PE instruction except for other subjects. Most teachers don’t have enough confidence to use IT to help deliver their learning materials. This situation encouraged us to be determined to develop a learning strategy by using IT. With the help of ICSSPE we were able to realise this dream. I say this is a dream for us in the academic PE area. It was a great coincidence that we put the programme into practice at the end of 2019, and due to this it can now be an immediate benefit during this global pandemic.
Ali: Our PE curriculum at the national level lacks time spent being physically active. It is only about 150 minutes per week of PE class. This is really not enough. Because in effect that 150 minutes per week, includes the teacher explaining the reason why they are studying the sport and so on. We would like to make the time spent in PE classes in school to be more active for the student.
ICSSPE: You mentioned that Physical Education has not changed over the past 50 years. How is the system of Physical Education structured in Indonesia?
Tandiyo: In the academic area, yes, we have progressed in studying the theoretical foundation for PE, yes we follow the new PE, but just in the academic field. When our alumni of the PE department go to the society they will face a different situation. Why? Because the society have an old-fashioned view on physical education.
ICSSPE: The coronavirus pandemic has forced a shift in educational institutions, with a varied response. How do you feel this will impact the relevance of blended learning within school physical education classes?
Tandiyo: We started the project before the pandemic with the hope that we can change the physical education strategy in Indonesia, or at least in Semarang city, my home town and where the university is. That’s what we thought in 2018. At the end of 2019, surprisingly, we faced the global pandemic and our schools in Indonesia also had to switch to online learning from home. All the schools were dismissed, so this was a blessing for our schools – for the schools that we worked with during our project, as they could still run the physical education subjects through the strategy of blended learning – based on the strategy that we gave to them to construct and develop IT material.
ICSSPE: How has the response from the schools been?
Tandiyo: Very good, the response was very positive. I want to say that they are very thankful for our project, as they could use it during the pandemic.
Ali: From the research data of teachers and students, 88% really agree and accept that blended learning can be used in physical education classes and only 10% said it is not suitable because of the difficulties in using blended learning. These difficulties they mentioned are the internet connection and so on. From the data set that agreed, 84% of agreed to use blended learning for PE.
ICSSPE: Taking into account the findings from your research, how do you think we can ensure that children remain physically active during this time?
Billy: The blended learning that we use asks the student to keep moving. We use 3 types of blended learning.
The first type, is the primary video of the teacher’s instructions. The teacher makes the video to show the students what kind of PE material they need and what kind of movement they will learn. After that the students will practice at home and the parents record their movements and this is then given to the teacher. The teacher gives feedback criticising and suggesting improvements for the movement. During this pandemic the parents and the teachers work together to record and to make sure the students will continue to move.
The second type of blended learning, is the PE equipment and material. Teachers announce what kind of PE material they need before the classes begin. At home during the pandemic the students can do the movement by themselves based on the instructions from the teacher, and after that the students will upload it through the classroom application. The teacher then gives feedback and the students repeat. Thus the students will learn again about the movement and they will upload it again, so the teacher can give adjusted feedback.
The third type is external resources. The teacher will give links to external resources, for example YouTube or other applications, the students will see and watch what kind of movement they need to learn, and then imitate the movements in the video which were given to them by the teachers. After that they will record the movement on their phone by their parents and upload it through the classroom or another application, so the teacher can give feedback again.
Through this blended learning system, we ensure that all students keep moving, because even though they learn from home, the teacher will make sure that all the movements are done correctly and also the parents will record and report the movement when they do it.
ICSSPE: How do you ensure that the families have the equipment? How do you ensure that they have the correct devices and the right internet connection?
Billy: This research is just spread out in the peripheral areas. We cannot yet spread it and promote it to the other areas due to the pandemic. So for the areas we worked in, we explained and socialised about the blended learning system and the equipment needed. Most of the families have the right internet access and most of the parents and students already use a smartphone. Parents and also the teachers use the application group chat to maintain contact and make sure that all the students are participating in class, doing their homework and assignments. The teachers continue to keep in contact with the parents to make sure that the student recordings are uploaded
ICSSPE: Other components of your project, such as the publication of the scientific paper and the workshops will soon commence. How will the pandemic influence the development of this?
Ali: You are right – in the second term we are now preparing the results which we would like to publish as a scientific paper. As you know, because of the pandemic affecting all the systems, in Indonesia we are promoting webinar series, so we have a lot of confidence that we will spread our results and to publish the scientific paper through a webinar. Anyone can access the papers via the journal or the webinar series which we are planning. In our university there will be an international webinar which we would like to join. About the workshop, we will also have this online.
ICSSPE: With regards to the pandemic, do you believe further research is needed? Do you plan to develop the project further?
Anggita: We need further research for our blended learning strategy because of the problem of internet connection and using public applications like Google Classrooms. We don’t yet have a preferred application for blended learning in physical education. We plan to build an application specifically for this purpose. We need support to make our dream come true.
Ali: We do have a plan and we really hope that the second year of this research can be accomplished successfully. According to the results and evaluation of what we have done in the first year, for further research, we think that we really have a lot to do.
ICSSPE: How do you envision the future of physical education? Both in Indonesia and globally.
Tandiyo: I am sure that IT, internet information and IT resources can be optimised for conducting physical education. Especially, I want to put some more explanation on what Anggita has already said – we have also planned to develop a platform for PE. It will be helpful for PE teachers if we have a specific platform for physical education. The user (in this case the students and teachers) are not dependant on internet access. They can download the material in areas with internet access, for example in school. Then they can remain physically active whilst they stay at home. For us, the future of PE means changing the mind-set towards IT accessibility. When we think about the future of PE we need to let go of the old-fashioned style of PE, and we should face the new physical education with an IT approach.
Billy: As Professor Tandiyo already mentioned, we want to develop a new platform that will be accessible for all parents, students and teachers. This platform will also help all the areas of Indonesia, especially the areas that are remote and are not accessible with the internet. Not all the areas have a good internet connection, that is why, through the platform, we hope we can help all the teachers and students improve the IT-centred approach of physical education.
We are facing a new global situation after this pandemic ends and it means that we have this platform as a solution for us and other countries. With regards to other regions that still need internet access – we will be developing a platform that can be accessible online and also offline. That’s what I want to emphasise.
Through their research project on blended learning, Tandiyo and her team have been able to support a collection of schools to sustain their physical education programme during the pandemic. This achievement calls for attention, as it demonstrates the potential and opportunity of adapting physical education programmes with a blended learning approach.