New and Old Ideas

When I was asked to present at the 2009 ACHPER annual conference I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The main reason for my motivation was that as a Physical Education & Outdoor Education teacher I had always been disappointed with the professional development I had received around the use of ICT within my classroom. I found this to be a common ingredient when discussing training sessions with fellow phys ed teachers. While I support the provision of professional development within the area, It was never promising to complete a session ran by a highly experienced user of ICT whom had no knowledge of how it could be used within a phys ed classroom.
With this in mind I set out to prepare a presentation what would hopefully offer practical advice on how to utilise a variety of emerging technologies.
1) Flip Video Camera - The first and most essential tool for a Physical Education teacher. No other camera is as simple to record video footage, making it a snap to film and analyse sporting techniques and game play.
2) Mp3 Player/Recorder – With the abundance on MP3 players today you can be sure to be able to buy an excellent player full of features for a small price. For as little as $20 you can purchase a player with the ability to play and record mp3 files and connect to the radio. One of the ways I utilised it within my classroom has been to create podcasts or recordings of my own teaching that can be loaded onto the Mp3 player for review at a later stage. This also allowed us to complete theoretical course content while we completed a casual walk or ride around the lake. This really assisted the kinesthetic learners who enjoyed the ability to move while they learned. Buy a class set of 10 and rotate them through the group.
3) Mobile Phones – Regardless of peoples perceptions of mobile phones being timewasters, they are without a doubt the single most must have item of today and why shouldnt they be? Today’s mobiles are like the swiss army knives of the 1800’s, with every modern piece of equipment you could ever need. It is now impossible to find a phone that is simply ‘just a phone’.
a. Calendar – Have your students use the phones calendar as a diary for recording important dates and information. Never again will you hear the excuse that they didn’t realise an assessment was due
b. Clock/Stopwatch – Use the inbuilt stopwatch and alarm to help organise and time training sessions. In this example, students move from passive participants within a session to the role of trainers as they are forced to organise the session.
c. SMS – use this feature and a service such as www.smsexpress.com.au to send bulk messages to more than one phone from your laptop. Easily allows for instant communication with a large group or class. Makes late minute changes to the sports draw of outdoor education camp easy to communicate. Use it as an alternative to paper and pens during a sports session or camp and have students answer questions based on their participation.
d. Camera/Video Camera – Use them within all practical sessions as a way to film and analyse performance instantly. Most phones even come with video editing software allowing students to edit their own footage.

4) Tube Chop.com – With the absolute plethora of videos on Youtube it is a must for Physical Education teachers. The great thing about Tube chop is that it allows teachers to select a certain section from a youtube video and share only that section. Great way to filter the nonsense in Youtube.
5) Youtube.com or Vimeo.com – Have your students teach a sport or physical skill and film it with a Flip Video camera for uploading to Youtube. Sit back and watch as people from around the world watch and comment on the video.
6) Google Docs – Spreadsheet – Share a google docs spreadsheet to all your students with simple formulas to work out and graph averages. Have each member of your class have a copy of the spreadsheet loaded on their computer screen. Complete a step test, and record heart rates pre, post and every minute after, for 5 minutes. Results are collated instantly from all computers within the room and displayed in one graph. This gives students a way to visualise their changes in heart rate in comparison with their peers. (Instructions here http://thepegeek.com/2009/05/23/watching-my-classes-heart-beat/)
7) Skype – Without a doubt my number one tool within a Physical Education classroom. Use skype to make free phone and video calls to other skype members all aroud the world. Connect your students to the textbook author to engage in a face to face chat worlds apart. How abouth having your students teach a game to another group of students from across the world? All it takes is an internet connection and a webcam and you can be linked up in no time. My students recently used skype to interview a sports nutritionist within the Australian Institite of Sport, who talked about the foods Australian Athletes would be eating in the lead up to a major competition.
8) Posterous.com – Simplest way to make an online digital portfolio of your sporting performance that can be reviewed and analysed over time. Simply film or record the desired skill and send the video file within an email to [email protected] This will turn your email into its very own unique website where the video will be able to be watched online. Have a new video or document you would like to include? Simply send a new email to [email protected] By far the easiest, no fuss way to put anything you like online.
9) Nintendo Wii – With the influx of video games now requiring physical movement to play why not introduce them into the curriculum. Have your students wear heart rate monitors and while participating within a simularion sport game on the Nintendo Wii, then compare and contrast this to the ‘real’ sport for excellent discussion about how intensity effects heart rate.
10) Nintendo WiI Remote Control – Attach a single Nintendo Wii remote control to your computer via Bluetooth (Instructions here http://tinyurl.com/csslwy). This will allow you to utilise the inbuilt accelerometer within the control to track the movements and forces applied to the control as it is manipulated in space. Take it one step further and place it inside a dodgeball to record the forces applied to a throw within a game. All forces are displayed in a real time graph on your laptop for on-the-fly analysis. These graphs can then be utilised to prompt excellent discussion about acceleration around an axis.
11) Ipod Nike Sensor – Have students bring their Ipods to class or buy a class set. Students then attach a Nike Sensor to their shoe which communicates and records their physical activity. Students records are then sent to their own website where they can view and track their training progress and compete against others from all over the world.
12) Geocaching – Geocaching is the free high-tech treasure hunt where you use your GPS receiver to find caches hidden by other players. It’s a great way to be outdoors, enjoy the environment and the revel in the thrill of the hunt!. Simply logon to www.geocaching.com and search for a cache within your area ( your bound to find 100’s) and begin your hunt with the GPS. The hidden cache may require more smarts than meets the eye and reward your with a special prize, it really depends on the cache. Why not ha ve your students make a virtual tour of their town as a series of hidden geocaches.
13) iPhone
a. Runkeeper – Have your school purchase an iPhone and utilise the free application called RunKeeper, which keeps track of your physical activity via the GPS. Simply return to your computer to view the path/average distace/speed/elevation and calories exerted throughout the journey.
b. 100 Pushups – Have your Iphone work as a coach to motivate and work you towards a training goal of 100 pushups. The application adjusts its training depending on how you feel and the results you achieve.

For a complete copy of the presentation go to http://thepegeek.com/achper-2009. If you need any help with setting up any of the things mentioned above, feel free to ask a question below. /

All This fuss About Storage Space

2010 is going to be a big year for my school as it will be the last time the school is officially known as Boort Secondary College. By the final stages of first semester work will commence on a brand new school on our existing campus that will eventually house both the Primary and Secondary schools within our town. I personally am over the moon at the prospect of receiving an entirely new school that incorporates cutting edge designs and innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

However, as you could imagine the new school, and the subsequent demolition of our existing school, is causing quite a lot of worry amongst some of our staff. In some cases, there expertise into their own teaching areas has been highly valuable, and has contributed towards healthy discussions about what would work best. However in recent meetings, I have grown frustrated with the utterly pointless conversation that is happening between the staff.

The basis for the conversation have been around the lack of storage space within the new school. In direct comparison the storage is around 50% of the capacity of the existing school. The argument from some of the older staff is that the new school will not be able to house all of the stuff we currently have and we will be forced to throw things out. Now while this is a major concern for some I really couldn’t care the slightest about something as trivial as the size of the cupboards or how many filing cabinets it can store.I especially couldnt care when the teaching resources the staff are holding onto have been around since the 50’s and havnt been used in a classroom since the 80’s.

I say this forced clearance of our school, will be a great opportunity to sort through the junk and keep the stuff that is actually worthwhile. Anyway so after one of the meetings I was asked by a senior member of the staff if I would have enough time to move my teaching resources from the existing school to the new school, if a wrecking ball was to come crashing down by weeks end. To her amazement I replied with… “ I wouldnt have to take anythying, as everything I’ve ever used in class or created is online for me to access from anywhere in the world”. 

I’ve heard the saying that “Teachers don’t like change” but to be honest this has gotten to the point of being ridiculous. It’s time to move on…

So if anyone from my school is reading this, promise me one thing, that we will NOT talk about the size of the store rooms in future meetings, but use the time to talk about the reasons we cannot wait to enter the new school.

For our students sake I hope this happens……