Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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Two engaging presentations on the future of athletic performance

The issue of performance enhancement was the focus of a recent KIN 6300 discussion. As a precursor to the group discussion, the class watched the following two videos:
David Epstein is an investigative journalist that focuses on issues relating to Sports Science.  In this TED talk, Epstein discusses the timeline of athletic performance; where we were, and where we are now, and where we are going.
Using a number of different sports, Epstein shows the progression of athletic performance, and the difference that innovation, genetics, and a changing mindset have on the sports world.
Epstein does an excellent job in showing how athletic performance has advanced throughout the years, and how sport is adapting to these performances.
Next, is a presentation by Hugh Herr, an MIT Professor who looks into Bionics and robotic prosthetics.  While he looks at helping those who have lost limbs or are unable to perform as they would like, he also discusses  those who are able-bodied, and what prosthetic limbs can do for them.
Many discussion question arose in KIN 6300 from these videos:
If these limbs for able-bodied athletes are ever perfected, do you think they should be allowed in sport? 
If this became the norm amongst athletic competition, where athletes are improving themselves by technological modification, what do you think the sporting leagues do? 
Would the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB ban athletes who wish to undergo these sorts of advancements?  What would be the concerns for allowing this? (This would be a massive blog post if I got into this)
I believe one day we will see a separate technologically advanced league.  There will someday be the Paralympics, Olympics, and a Transolympics for those who have and wish to transcend the human biology.  As a fan of the entertainment sport offers, I believe technology could only further that excitement.
-Joe Todd, November 2015


Technology’s influence on childhood obesity

Jamie Buote and Desiray Wells

Technology is more advanced than it ever has been before as we have witnessed growing up. Technology can have a very positive influence on our society as a whole but also can have a very negative impact on society if not used in moderation.

Technology can indeed affect one’s lifestyle and health. It seems like the facts are all there but parents are negligent when it comes to reducing the amount of screen time their children watch per day. From the ages five to seventeen one third of Canadians are obese. If we look at the statistics globally there is an estimated 43 million children under the age of 5 who were diagnosed with obesity in 2010. This large number is a 60 percent increase since 1990.

So what are children doing different these days than in the past? Well according the American Academy of Pediatrics children and adolescents can spend up to 7 hours of TV, internet usage and video games per day. But the recommended time for this is only 1-2 hours of screen time a day! This is a huge difference. All these extra hours of screen time is taking away from quality family time, reading, homework and exercise.


With obesity comes serious consequences, obesity can harm nearly every system in a person’s body including heart, lungs, muscles and bones, kidneys and digestive tract as well as the hormones that control blood sugar and puberty. These are just a few of the health risks that one is exposed to when they are obese. The main cause of obesity is sedentary living and poor nutrition and these causes are all increased by the use of technology. It has been proven that when an individual is watching television or playing video games they are more likely to be sedentary for longer periods of time along with increased snacking habits of high fat, high sugar, and high sodium foods. This can put someone on a fast track to obesity where they will be exposed to these health risks.

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Youth Development through Sport vs. Technology

The following interesting article we found on physical education teachers discusses how it might be beneficial to get them to start thinking like game developers.

Pill, S. (2014). Game Play: What Does It Mean for Pedagogy to Think Like a Game Developer? Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance; 85 (1). 9-15.

  • Game design has been applied as an analog for course and curriculum design. The article described how sport teachers in physical education can think like a game developer. Thinking like a game developer requires thinking about sport teaching as a carefully designed learner-driven system of interconnected experiences. This aspect of game design emphasizes the value of time spent in the design process (Pill, 2014).
  • Particularly applicable to the teaching of sport in physical education, the internal architecture of digital games (rules, goals, competition, space/environment) guide the design of a learning experience in which players act to solve problems that develop core competencies. Digital game play is governed by constraints just as the play of sport is defined by the constraints that permit, restrict, or eliminate actions from the game to provide internal logic of the play. The learning principles emerging from the cognitive sciences and being used by digital game designers should then be as applicable to sport teaching in physical education as they are to the construction of digital game play (Pill, 2014).
  • Teaching this way in physical education requires recognition that physical education extends beyond learning to move to intellectual aspects related to decision-making. This is a departure from the traditional physical education method and from the variability and critical interpretation of the learning environment toward a nonlinear pedagogy (Pill, 2014).

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