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 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 – 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) or – 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
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) – 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 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 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 If you need any help with setting up any of the things mentioned above, feel free to ask a question below. /

3 thoughts on “New and Old Ideas”

  1. Wow! What a great post. I’m definitively going to be trying a few of those ideas in my gym.

    I’ve had my iPod Touch ever since they first came out. I’ve always dreamt of having an entire PE class using them to learn. Two years ago at the Association of Physical Educator’s of Quebec (APEQ)’s annual conference, we had Mike Metzler come in and give the keynote presentation. He spoke about instructional models for physical education as blueprints for education. He went on to talk about different models (sport education, TGFU, etc.), but one that caught my attention was the Personalized System for Instruction model. The PSI model’s motto is that students can progress as fast as they can, or as slowly as they need. Basically, students can a series of booklets that detail the various steps in mastering a skill/activity and then they go out and try to get through all of the booklets. They do this while working at their own pace and, if i’m not mistaken, get evaluated after each booklet (if they pass they move onto the next one). They keep doing this until they get through all of the booklets, at which point they should have mastered the skill.

    The thing is that I hate booklets, and so do my kids. My students have a great tendency to complain the second I inform them that there will be some written work involved. However, kids love using their fancy iPods. On top of that, the generation of students we teach today have been conditioned to learn from screens. So why fight that by making them learn from printed documents?

    I would love to create a PSI unit that would used videos instead of documents. The kids could watch the videos off of their iPod and even keep track of their progress through one of the thousands of apps available to do so on the App Store. That way there, the teacher could upload a series of videos to a students iPod and that student could work on the skill whenever/wherever he/she wants.

    Anyways, that’s just an idea I had. I know that they’re is research that backs the PSI model up, but I’d be curious to see if its ever been used with video and/or a mobile device.

  2. Love the post. Just wondering if you (or anyone else) had some data driven info about the benefits of using flip phones in P.E. I am trying to secure funding to purchase phones for the P.E. dept. but it is a money crunch year and I have to make the best pitch possible. Thanks.

  3. This is great- I’ve been looking for articles on this topic. At SPARK we’re very interested in how technology can help physical educators- and I’d like to know your thoughts on a couple other ideas.

    The iPad and other eReaders- do you see these as being valuable to instructors as a way to pull up their digital curriculum on the go? We’re looking to offer our curriculum through this medium so that teachers could pull up a SPARK lesson plan anytime/place they wanted, instead of lugging around the whole manual- but not sure if teachers would find enough value in it.

    Social Media- We’ve really been trying to find a way that social media can help teachers promote physical activity outside of the classroom- is there any ideas out there you’ve seen that work?

    Also, we have a new password-protected website called go in and sign up for a free trial, then check out the SPARKfit section. There are fitness circuit videos that teachers could use to project in a classroom and guide a class through a fitness circuit. There are hundreds of other videos and digital resources in there as well. Your feedback on the site would be greatly appreciated! You seem to be an expert on this topic- and there’s not many out there. You can email me at [email protected].



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