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PE Web site named best by Education World

By Sandy Broughton

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 24 - March 20, 1997

PE Central, an Internet Web site designed specifically for physical-education teachers to share information and ideas, has been named one of the top 20 educational sites on the Internet for February, 1997, by Education World, a clearinghouse for issues and information related to education.

The Health and Physical Education Program in the College of Human Resources and Education at Virginia Tech announced the operation of PE Central last August. Since then it has had more than 20 thousand "hits" (or visits) from teachers and parents in the United States, Canada, and from such diverse locations as Brazil, Belgium, Spain, and Finland.

PE Central was created by physical-education doctoral students Mark Manross and Todd Pennington, who serve as senior editors and who will incorporate information on the use of the Web site into their dissertations, under the guidance of Physical Education Professor George Graham. PE Central features include alternative-assessment techniques, physical-education and health-lesson ideas, instant activities and weekly wellness tips, quotes from kids, links to top sports, links to professional associations, Web sites for teachers, and job and conference announcements. PE Central is located at http://www.chre.vt.edu/~/pe.central/.

Before the creation of PE Central, there was little on the Internet related to teaching physical education. "Most people think of physical education as sports, and while the Internet is full of sports sites, there was no information targeted specifically to physical-education teachers, to help them guide youngsters in the process of becoming physically active for a lifetime," Graham said. "Typically, a physical-education teacher is the only one who teaches that subject in a school, so they tend to be somewhat isolated. PE Central gives them an opportunity to exchange ideas and keep up to date on what is going on in the world of physical education."

Users of PE Central are encouraged to both contribute to the site and to comment on it. Recent comments include:

"You have an incredible page, thanks for the hard work and the PE teachers in my district love your page. I am a technology coordinator and when I teach my basic Internet Classes, yours is one of the pages we go to. Thanks for the great work."

"I can't wait to share this site with other teachers! I'll upload the revision to my web page (under Teaching Resources) later tonight. I'd like to develop a set of web pages under the topic "Health and Safety" in the future. Yours is a keeper!"

"Thank you so much for providing the wealth of information on the NET. I have just joined the many who search for better ways of "teaching". Information, lesson plans, quotes, and other "stuff" I got from your work will help me as I daily attempt to add new ideas in my classroom."

"Impressive! I look forward to sharing this page especially with my husband, who is a tennis teaching pro here in Durham, NC, where we just moved. At any rate, great job, and I just wanted to let you know!"

PE Central got high marks from Education World for content, aesthetics ("bright, colorful, good use of space") and organization ("easy to identify sections and links"). Education World's review of the site praised not only its content as an on-line resource for educators, parents, and students interested in physical education, it also noted PE Central's promotion of participation through mailing lists which allow users to communicate with each other and on-line forms for submitting ideas. "Anyone involved or interested in the physical education field should definitely look over the site," Education World concluded. The review is posted at http://www.education-world.com/awards/.

Education World is not the first to recognize PE Central as an exemplary Web site. Last fall, PE Central received a 5/5-star, top rating from Blue Web'n, a division of Pacific Bell which designs applications for Internet and Videoconferencing. In October, PE Central was recognized by Your WebScout as a high-quality educational web site. PE Central was also featured in their Education and Sports Newsletters.