eHPE: a history of the future

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Gard, M 2014, 'eHPE: a history of the future', Sport, Education and Society, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 827-845.

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A grand convergence looms. It seems at least plausible that health and physical education may soon be lived by students in ways that are radically different from the past and sharply at odds with the imaginings of its founders and generations of academic aficionados. Perhaps in some respects, the differences will be superficial and less important than the continuities. Nonetheless, I draw connections between some recent futurist literature, developments in social theory and trends in health education, physical education and school-based health intervention—fields that I collectively call ‘HPE’—in order to imagine their digital futures. I contend that there is much for these fields to consider as developments in digital technology, the commercialisation of education, the spread of surveillance culture and medicalisation reshape how people think about HPE and its reason for being. But rather than an apocalyptic warning, this is an invitation to others to engage with some important questions that, although already urgent, have gone largely unnoticed. For example, what kind of thing will eHPE be if/when it exists primarily to generate profits and monitor and measure the minutiae of everyday life? At the very least, my argument here is that if it is not already the case, questions of pedagogical process and effectiveness may soon struggle for relevance in HPE's digital future.

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