Cloud-Based Personalized Movement Student Learning: An In-School Case Study

Cloud-Based Personalized Movement Student Learning: An In-School Case Study

Thomas Kourtessis (Democritus University of Thrace, Greece), Andreas G. Avgerinos (European University of Cyprus, Cyprus), Haralambos Tsiantis (Doukas School, Greece), Maria Liberi (Doukas School, Greece) and Emmanouil Goufas (Doukas School, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3053-4.ch019
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Abstract

This chapter presents a case study related to the development of an in-school framework that is concerned with the identification, assessment and interventional management of children with developmental coordination disorder and motor learning disabilities. The aim was to use reliable and tested procedures of identification and assessment as well as to adopt teaching methodologies that discover, reveal and use the individual characteristics of each child to reduce the limitations and to make in-school movement situations accessible to all students. The initial goal was not necessarily the immediate improvement of motor dexterity of the child, but the improvement of the psychological and socio-affective.
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Background

It is a widely accepted fact that a child’s ability to move highly determines their participation both within school physical education activities and out of school leisure/recreational physical activity. This results in a situation where children who are clumsy or who do not have the appropriate motor coordination are excluded from a large part of the educational process. Motor clumsiness has been recognized as one of the most frequent developmental disorders in childhood and has been defined as the child’s inability to acquire or to develop fundamental motor skills.

In 1994, the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association recognized motor clumsiness as a unique motor learning disorder (MLD) that falls under the term of “Developmental Coordination Disorder” (DCD). Its incidence varies between 5 and 7% of the total school population (American Psychiatric Association, 1994; 2013). Children with DCD consist of a heterogeneous group. There is significant variability regarding both the severity of the disorder as well as the type of the motor difficulties. Some children face difficulties in almost every movement while others have very specific motor problems.

Furthermore, recent research has shown that comorbidity is a frequent situation and motor learning disabilities, such as DCD, frequently coexist with other learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Kourtessis et al., 2008; Tziva-Kostala et al., 2011). This is very important considering the high incidence of children with specific learning disabilities whose movement disorders have not yet been identified.

It is widely accepted that many and sometimes severe problems, emotional, social and academic, are linked to low motor abilities in childhood. A serious cause has been the lack of information among both teachers and parents regarding the severity and consequences of such a situation. Because of this, many children with low or even medium level motor abilities are often characterized by teachers as being bored or naughty. Even as a one-time event, the above-mentioned situation can seriously disturb the psychological and social world of a child. Since movement can be complicated and easily observed at the same time, motor ability presents a wide range of psycho-social dimensions. The positive correlation existing between motor ability and desired social characteristics such as self-confidence, self-esteem, social acceptance and status, have been noted repeatedly. Therefore, the more skilled children are, the more easily they adjust individually and socially, whereas children with motor difficulties are prevented from participating in group motor activities which leads to delayed motor development. This is the way to create an impermeable “cycle of failure” that characterizes the development of children with motor difficulties (Katartzi & Vlahopoulos, 2011; Smoll, 1974). Poor motor ability leads to low recognition and prestige among peers and to exclusion from group games. Additionally, and since clumsy children are finding it difficult to hide their difficulties, they are often the easy target for taunting and poking fun at. This situation leads to the avoidance of motor and group activities since these are directly linked to feelings of failure (Katartzi & Vlahopoulos, 2011; Smoll, 1974). As a result, the existing motor difficulties become even more obvious and severe. Even the more basic abilities necessary for motor development, are often not developed. Recent research studying children with DCD and their regularly developing peers, has revealed that body composition, cardio-respiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance, anaerobic capacity, power, and physical activity have all, to varying degrees, been negatively associated with poor motor proficiency (Rivilis, Hay, Cairney, Klentrou, Liu, & Faught, 2011). In addition, DCD may be a risk factor for overweight/obesity in childhood and early adolescence (Cairney, Hay, Faught, & Hawes, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Locomotor Activity: Any content that makes the body move from one location to another and which students should perform and accomplish during the Physical Education lesson (as members of a group, as individuals, as a classroom, etc.).

Interventional Management: To use reliable and tested procedures of identification and assessment as well as to adopt teaching methodologies that discover, reveal and use the individual characteristics of each child to reduce the limitations and to make in-school and out of school movement situations accessible to all students.

Comorbidity: A situation where motor learning disabilities, such as DCD, frequently coexist with other specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia and ADHD.

Individual Learning in Physical Education: The teacher is able to accurately assess the movement performance of each child and then choose, design, personalize and evaluate the educational activities experienced by the students participating in the lesson. All students can improve as individuals and achieve their personal goals in the Physical Education class if the teacher adapts the Educational Activities to their abilities! The adaptation will result in the movement evolution of ALL students, while enabling them to interact positively, develop self-confidence, and acquire the desired knowledge and attitudes.

Developmental Coordination Disorder / Motor Learning Difficulties: The child’s inability to acquire or to develop fundamental motor skills, in the absence of any known pathological cause.

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