More physical education-specific professional development is needed in our public schools with the intent of promoting teacher change by assisting teachers in their efforts to improve instructional practices. PE Central is one of the most commonly used PE websites in the world—currently receiving some 162,000 visitors and over 1.6 million page views each month. PE Central, however, has never been studied in order to understand who is using the site, user satisfaction, or the whether the site provides PE-specific professional development for teachers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was (a) to assess the usage and satisfaction with PE Central and (b) to ascertain whether PE Central constitutes a valid source of professional development leading to changes in teaching practices and student learning outcomes based on Guskey’s model of teacher change.
A two-part survey was developed using standard development procedures to compose and pilot questions based on a Likert scale. Participants (45 pre-service and 288 in-service teachers) from within the SWD AAHPERD completed an online survey assessing the effects of using PE Central on their perceptions of usage, satisfaction, professional development, teacher change, and student engagement.
Descriptive data were analyzed using SPSS on variables of interest. Differences between participants were analyzed on usage and satisfaction using a chi square tests, and cross tabulations. Cronbach alphas and Pearson corrleations were calculated to estimate the internal consistency and magnitude of relationships between the items on the two-part survey. Finally, Cohen’s d were calculated for the between groups differences related to Guskey’s model (M1-M2/SDpooled). Results indicated no significant differences between pre- and in-service teachers in usage and satisfaction of PE Central, but that on average the sample population uses it monthly and are more satisfied than not with the site. Results further indicated that PE Central is positively related to provisional and permanent teacher change, and increased student engagement.
Researchers conclude that PE Central is, in fact, accomplishing their mission in assisting teachers with resources to deliver quality PE. Based on the findings, it is recommended that PE-specific professional development modules be created as an approved source of professional development (CEU credits). Following this study developers, researchers, and teachers now understand more fully the impact that PE Central is currently making on teaching and learning, and the potential of the site in providing valuable professional development to teachers.