A monitoring system to provide feedback on student physical activity during physical education lessons

Timothy B. Hartwig, Borja del Pozo-Cruz, Rhiannon L. White, Taren Sanders, Morwenna Kirwan, Philip D. Parker, Diego Vasconcellos, Jane Lee, Katherine B. Owen, Devan Antczak, David R. Lubans, Chris Lonsdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


School-based physical education (PE) provides opportunities to accumulate moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), but many students are insufficiently active during PE lessons. Providing teachers with feedback regarding their students' physical activity may increase the effectiveness of PE for achieving MVPA goals, but existing physical activity monitoring technologies have limitations in class environments. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and validate a system capable of providing feedback on PE lesson MVPA. Equations for translating step counts to %MVPA were derived from measures in 492 students who concurrently wore an ActiGraph GT3X+ (ActiGraph) and Yamax pedometer (Yamax) during a PE lesson. To enhance feedback availability during PE lessons, we then developed a bespoke monitoring system using wireless tri-axial pedometers (HMM) and a smart device app. After developing and testing the monitoring system, we assessed its validity and reliability in 100 students during a PE lesson. There was a strong correlation of 0.896 between step counts and accelerometer-determined %MVPA and quantile regression equations showed good validity for translating step counts to %MVPA with a mean absolute difference of 5.3 (95% CI, 4.4-6.2). The physical activity monitoring system was effective at providing %MVPA during PE lessons with a mean difference of 1.6 ± 7.1 compared with accelerometer-determined %MVPA (7% difference between the two measurement methods). Teachers and students can use a smart device app and wireless pedometers to conveniently obtain feedback during PE lessons. Future studies should determine whether such technologies help teachers to increase physical activity during PE lessons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1312
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • accelerometer
  • ActiGraph
  • moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity
  • physical education
  • step counts
  • moderate-to-vigorous physical activity


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