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Title: Virtual Field Trips as physically active lessons for children
Author: Norris, E. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 7234
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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Children spend a large proportion of their days in obligatory sedentary lessons: with notable consequences to health and educational outcomes. This thesis tested Virtual Field Trips (VFTs) as a new format of physically active lesson: integrating educational, globe-based content on classroom interactive whiteboards with related physical movements. It aimed to assess the feasibility of VFTs in primary school settings, before exploring their potential to increase children’s physical activity, on-task behaviour and student engagement. Firstly, a literature review assessed current understandings of childhood physical activity and sedentary behaviour levels and effects on health and educational outcomes. This review also considered school-based intervention attempts to improve these outcomes and also introduced physically active lessons as novel interventions which integrate physical activity into school lessons. Secondly, a systematic review collated the methods and findings of published physically active lesson interventions. Thirdly, a qualitative study assessed teacher and pupil perceptions of a pilot physically active VFT, with identified considerations from this and the systematic review used to refine VFT development. These revisions were used to develop and test a pilot cluster-randomised controlled trial of VFTs named ‘Virtual Traveller’, featuring a six-week intervention period and three month follow-up. Accelerometer- and observation-assessed physical activity, observed on-task behaviour and questionnaire-assessed student engagement outcomes were measured in this intervention. A full process evaluation of the intervention assessed its delivery and the perceptions of participating teachers and pupils. Results show the Virtual Traveller intervention to have no effect on overall, school day or weekend day activity but to significantly improve children’s lesson time physical activity. On-task behaviour was also significantly improved during Virtual Traveller sessions compared to control lessons. There were no effects of the intervention on self-reported student engagement. Prolonged effects were not seen at three month follow-up for any outcomes. Finally, a discussion reflects on the potential for VFTs as physically active lessons, implications for policy, critiques the thesis and identifies avenues for future research. This thesis presents the first example of a physically active lesson intervention specifically developed to use existing classroom technologies. It provides evidence that VFTs as physically active lessons can be integrated into mainstream teaching to increase lesson time physical activity and on-task behaviour, without detriment to student engagement.
Supervisor: Shelton, N. ; Dunsmuir, S. ; Duke-Williams, O. ; Stamatakis, E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available