My Google Teacher Academy Appplication

With the upcoming 2013 Google Teacher Academy being held again this year in Sydney, I thought I would take up the opportunity and trial my luck at an application. Heres an abstract from the Google Teacher Academy Website 

The GTA is a FREE professional development experience designed to help primary and secondary educators from around the globe get the most from innovative technologies. Produced by CUE, each Academy is an intensive, two-day event during which participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in a supportive community of educators making impact.

One of the most important aspects of the application is accompanying video, which must go for no more than 1minute and address one of the following areas - “Motivation and Learning”, “Classroom Innovation,” or “Positive Change in My Community.” So without further a do, here is my video application which focuses on Innovation within the Physical Education Classroom.

Wish Me Luck

The Quantified Self & PE – Tracking Everything

I’ve always been interested in sport and technology, ever since I received my first ever sports watch as a teenager making it possible to time my laps and splits during athletic training. However while my passion for physical activity has remained, technology sure has advanced in leaps and bounds. Its truly unbelievable and with every new device,  we move closer and closer towards the quantified self.

So what exactly is this quantified self that everyone is talking about? Gary Wolf best describes it in the video below;

My journey on this quantified self journey began with a Polar Heart Rate monitor many years ago. The ability to exercise, while simultaneously observing my heart rate was something that motivated me to improve my overall health in ways I never thought possible. These same motivational qualities are reflected in our students, who revel at the ability to identify their physiological response to a lesson. The theoretical concepts that can also be explored are fantastic opening up a myriad of laboratory activities to improve student understanding.

Not too long after receiving my first iPod Nano, I found myself purchasing a Nike+ iPod sports kit which enabled me to track the distance and relative speed of my runs with a reasonable level of accuracy. However it wasn’t until the iPhone 3GS arrived that my obsession with tracking activity went to a whole different level.

The first ‘app’ that I downloaded on my new iPhone was Runkeeper. I found the whole idea of activity tracking truly out of this world, making it possible to accurately track all of the important metrics one would want within activity. My fitness levels rose to new heights and I began blogging on all of the ways in which activity tracking could be used in the PE Classroom. To this day, GPS apps have been used to teach senior PE concepts such as energy systems, training principles and acute responses in ways I could never have imagined when I was learning. Taking this even further saw the development of Heart Rate sensors such as the Wahoo Blue HR or the Polar H7 Screen Shot 2013-02-21 at 9.47.00 PMwhich would enable HR tracking inside of the GPS apps. The data from these activities is full of rich goodness.

In recent months, my pursuits of health data has led me to purchase a groundbreaking device called a FitBit One. Which is an all in one tiny device that allows fluid wireless physical activity and sleep tracking. This has resulted in me being 100% aware of the total steps, total distance, stairs climbed and much more. I’m even informed of my sleep cycles and gently woken by a vibrating alarm when I’m in a light sleep phase.  All of this data is wirelessly accessible via the FitBit website or app allowing me to keep track of everything I do.

To extend my data tracking even further I have recently purchased a FitBit Aria Wifi Smart Scale, which allows me to track my daily weight, BMI and body fat percentages all of which are also uploaded to my FitBit account. This combined with the My Fitness Pal app enable me to keep an eye on my food intake and subsequent energy expenditure in a completely social environment.

This whole world of data collection and mapping truly excites me, making it possible to track health and teach health concepts in ways we could of only dreamed of in years gone by. I’m excited by where these opportunities might take Physical Education and the message we seek to instill in our students. With tremendous growth occurring in wearable technology you can be rest assured that as we gain access to even more data, the data itself will become even more readable and useable by all. This is the space I cannot wait to be in.

Bring on the Quantified Self 

What are you currently tracking? Where do you see this type of technology taking health and physical education as it becomes even less obtrusive and affordable?

Top Apps for PE Teachers – Part 22

Living Lung

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 9.36.18 PMA superb FREE app that helps teachers showcase the internal workings of the human lungs. Users can modify the breaths per minute to see how this varies the lung volume. Use it with students learning anatomy, or during practical activities to help students visualise the acute responses they are experiencing.

Whack A Bone

The gamification of learning continues to excite me and this app is no exception. “The game is designed to draw beginners into the curious and fascinating world of anatomy, guiding them toward a commanding recall of the major bones of the human body”.

BasketballPE & SoccerPE

Two excellent resource apps made by PE Teacher Nicholas Stratigopz. Each app features over 100 games and activities to help students learn concepts, skills and strategies within both respective sports. Check out the video below highlighting the many features BasketballPE app.

Skitch

An incredibly diverse iPhone/iPad app that makes it easy to annotate and markup anything you like. Use shapes, arrows, sketches and text annotation to get your point across fast. Mark up photos, screenshots, maps, and webpages then share them with anyone you like. A brilliant FREE addition to the PE practical classroom. Use Skitch to;

  • Annotate skill performance and tactics within game play
  • Showcase player position understanding of rules and playing areas

Powers of Minus 10

In this version of POMT, zoom into human bones, see how broken bones heal, and investigate some of the cool and weird cells found in the middle of our most sturdy organs. Another useful tool for exploring a wide variety of theoretical concepts in the PE or Health Classrooms.

Check out the other top app lists here – Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4Part 5 – Part 6 - Part 7 Part 8 - Part 9 – Part 10  – Part 11 - Part 12 – Part 13 – Part 14  - Part 15  -Part 16 Part 17 Part 18 Part 19 Part 20 - Part 21 - or grab the PE Apps app for a great one stop collection of the best PE apps.

Superb Junior Dance Podcasts

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 9.51.38 AM

Last year I discovered two brilliant podcast series geared towards younger students involved in dance and fundamental movement units.  The episodes which appear weekly are produced by the BBC and available to everyone worldwide for free via number of channels. If your unfamiliar with how podcasts work I suggest you check out this video

The most exciting aspect of these podcasts is that they combine simple dance elements with storytelling in a completely engaging manner. A simple way to make them available for your students is via subscription within the Podcasts App or to download them your computer as MP3. You might also like to check out the mobile web app I built last year to house all the series (Visit it on your mobile device)

Time to Move Podcast

Dance resources for children aged 6 to 8 covering popular cross-curricular topics, primarily for school use. Presented by Diane Louise Jordan and featuring music specially-composed for the series. Programmes available on Thursdays with new episodes added the same day each week, during term time. Programme duration: 20 minutes.

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 10.01.03 AM Lets Move Podcast

Dance resources for children aged 5 to 7 covering popular cross-curricular topics, primarily for school use. Presented by Katy Ashworth and featuring music specially-composed for the series. Programmes available on Wednesdays with new episodes added the same day each week, during term time. Programme duration: 20 minutes

Dance Workshop Podcast (UK Only)