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Teachers' perspectives on the acceptability and feasibility of wearable technology to inform school-based physical activity practices

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posted on 25.11.2021, 09:22 by Georgina K Wort, Gareth WiltshireGareth Wiltshire, Oliver Peacock, Simon Sebire, Andy Daly-Smith, Dylan Thompson
Background: Many children are not engaging in sufficient physical activity and there are substantial between-children physical activity inequalities. In addition to their primary role as educators, teachers are often regarded as being well-placed to make vital contributions to inclusive visions of physical activity promotion. With the dramatic increase in popularity of wearable technologies for physical activity promotion in recent years, there is a need to better understand teachers' perspectives about using such devices, and the data they produce, to support physical activity promotion in schools.Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 UK-based primary school teachers, exploring their responses to children's physical activity data and their views about using wearable technologies during the school day. Interview discussions were facilitated by an elicitation technique whereby participants were presented with graphs illustrating children's in-school physical activity obtained from secondary wearable technology data. Interview transcripts were thematically analyzed.Results: Most teachers spoke positively about the use of wearable technologies specifically designed for school use, highlighting potential benefits and considerations. Many teachers were able to understand and critically interpret data showing unequal physical activity patterns both within-and between-schools. Being presented with the data prompted teachers to provide explanations about observable patterns, emotional reactions—particularly about inequalities—and express motivations to change the current situations in schools.Conclusion: These findings suggest that primary school teachers in the UK are open to integrating wearable technology for measuring children's physical activity into their practices and can interpret the data produced by such devices. Visual representations of physical activity elicited strong responses and thus could be used when working with teachers as an effective trigger to inform school practices and policies seeking to address in-school physical inactivity and inequalities.


South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP)

Economic and Social Research Council

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  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Frontiers in Sports and Active Living




Frontiers Media SA


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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Frontiers Media under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Gareth Wiltshire. Deposit date: 23 November 2021

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