Episode 25 – Young Kids, Technology & PE

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast we explore a collection of free and affordable resources that you can use with younger students. How can you use it motivate physical activity, inspire learning and get them moving. Resources shared in the episode include

1. Adventure to Fitness, GoNoodle & Cosmic Kids Yoga

2. Time to Move & Lets Move Podcasts by the BBC

3. Active Kids Color, NFL Play 60 & Bit Breaker Apps

4. CFit Classroom Fitness, Workout in a Bag Kids & Yoga Kids Apps

Press Play below to listen or visit the podcast here


00:28 Jarrod Robinson: Hello, everyone and welcome to Episode 25 of the PE Geek Podcast. And as always, thanks for tuning in and spending some time here today as we go through another episode related to technology and physical education. And as we’ve been doing in the last few weeks, and maybe the last 10 episodes, we’ve been focusing in on one particular topic, and sort of drilling right down into that, and how you can use technology in that particular thing. And as a result, we’ve seen an enormous increase in the amount of people who are listening to the podcast, who are identifying with that episode and sharing it, because the episode is actually one cohesive sort of unit, as opposed to the first 10 episodes, where we were just randomly sharing some ideas related to all sorts of things.

01:16 JR: So, we’re gonna continue with this format, we have a number of episodes coming up to get us to Episode 30, which will be really exciting. We’re also bringing on a couple of guests and PE teachers in spaces that are doing some really cool things with tech, and I wanna share what they’re doing with you. And we also have a number of expert guests, and you may even say a few celebrities, which are coming on to the podcast in a few episodes’ time. So, I’m really excited where this is headed; it’s certainly something that I absolutely love doing, and I’m looking to ensure that it is coming out every fortnight for you. And even if that means I have to schedule a few episodes ahead and have them come out like that, that would be great.

02:00 JR: So, in today’s episode, we’re about to dive into technology and how you can use it with younger students. And by younger students, I mean, that lower elementary, up to eight years old, nine years old, 10 years old, and everywhere in between underneath that, to try and boost motivation, and get them learning, and get them moving, and so forth. So, there’s lots of things that can be done in this space, and lots of little free resources that we can use to try and make that happen in our classrooms. Obviously there is so many resources that we’ve shared that are more high school appropriate, and obviously, when you get down into the younger levels, there’s a difference in needs, and there’s a difference in what is expected, and what they are capable of, so this episode is definitely gonna focus on that younger age group. Even like kinder age, and hopefully you can get lots of stuff from it, so let’s dive into today’s content.

03:03 JR: Now, the first couple of resources I wanna share with you are in fact, in podcast form, and they’re just audio-based podcasts, they’re not video, nothing like that, but they are of exceptional high quality produced by the BBC. And it’s a weekly podcast that is all about getting kids moving and active in cross-curricular style topics. And the predominant use of this is for the classroom, and every week, they release a new episode from the “Let’s Move” podcast. So, if you head to thepegeek.com/letsmove, it’ll redirect you to the place where you can subscribe and download all the episodes. And it’s worth pointing out that this is entirely free; there’s no cost attached to this; it’s incredibly high quality content. And every week, there’s a new episode, and the episodes all revolve around a particular theme where there is always some sort of intent in that particular activity to tell a story, and to weave it through with music, and movement, and so on.

04:12 JR: Now, I had the fortune of trialling this over a period of weeks with my grade one class last year. We had a three-part series that was “Alice in Wonderland”. And it was basically the story of “Alice in Wonderland” broken into all of these little activities that they could do to inspire movement. So, when it was time to run down the hole… Or the tunnel, sorry, in “Alice in Wonderland”, there was actions based on that. And when we encountered, is it the hare? We had to do a certain series of actions related to that as well. And the students basically have to listen, and they have to interpret, and they have to follow along. And then there’s moments when they’re sitting down and listening to the story, but it was amazing. And to say that they were enthusiastic would certainly be an understatement. And I was just blown away with the opportunities that had arose from that. And they just continued to release more and more episodes; it’s a regular thing, and they’ve got a really big production team obviously behind it, because they’re exceptional high quality.

05:23 JR: There is another podcast that they have along the same vein, which is a little bit more to do with dance than just movement, and it’s called, “Time to Move” podcast.” So, thepegeek.com/timetomove, and the other one is thepegeek.com/letsmove. And the episodes stay up for a period of time, so what I do is I head along there and I always download them to my computer, so that I can always come back and access them. And if you know how to subscribe to podcasts, you can go along and you can subscribe, and your mobile or your iPad, or your computer will download those episodes automatically for you.

06:04 JR: So highly recommend those two podcasts. Given that they’re audio, they’re really powerful, really simple to use, just connect them to a set of speakers and get moving. Now on to the next series of resources. I’ve spoken about these on numerous occasions, and that is video resources that you can basically just press Play on, and the whole intent is that you copy the actions that are actually occurring on the screen. The number one in this space is “Adventure to Fitness”. They are producing a series of workout-style videos that are very similar to the podcasts we just spoke about, but they actually have some visuals to go along with it. They probably spend a little bit too much time teaching about the various things that are going on, so they’re trying to connect it to a curriculum and so forth, a little bit less movement. So a great potential brain break activity for people in a classroom setting, more so than trying to fit it into a PE setting, where movement is the focus.

07:08 JR: But certainly worth checking out, “Adventure to Fitness”. There’s some great reviews. I’ve heard of a lot of teachers who are using it with great success. The one that I think is fantastic is GoNoodle, and you can sign up for free at gonoodle.com. I spoke about this in the last episode as well, but GoNoodle is fantastic with young kids. It’s sort of designed as that being the target audience, and there’s a collection of videos of incredibly high quality all about brain breaks and all about getting people moving and active in the middle of classrooms, your standard general classroom teacher role. They’re all about getting the wiggles out, you might say. And that’s actually what they use as their sort of marketing for GoNoodle.

07:54 JR: There is a premium access account for GoNoodle as well, but the free one comes with a whole host of videos that you can trial and use, and then see how it fits your needs. I used it with that same group last year to do some Zumba dance, and there is some Zumba resources in there that you can have them doing and having some fun with, as opposed to some of the more adult-style Zumba moves that are a little bit too advanced for some of the younger kids.

08:23 JR: Now moving on from that, the same style of having a video that is playing a resource that you can follow along with. There is an app that I’ve recently discovered called “Yoga Kids” and it is available for the iPad, and basically it’s yoga in disguise, almost, in that it’s targeted at students, it’s mixed with storytelling. And the basic premise is that, let’s say you’ve got one iPad; you can connect it to a large screen, or you can just have students crowd around their own device, whatever it may be, and follow along with the various actions and moves that are presented on the screen. I’ve played around with it myself. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it in a classroom yet. I cannot wait because it looks really powerful, and I just love the storytelling aspect that goes along with it.

09:14 JR: Now on the same vein, if you’re looking to do yoga, there is a resource called Cosmic Kids Yoga which doesn’t require you to have an iPad. It’s simply a YouTube channel. If you do a Google search for “Cosmic Kids Yoga” or visit thepegeek.com/cosmic it’ll redirect you there, and it’s the same idea. There’s a presenter who’s really knowledgeable, and she takes you through, all the students for that matter, through a series of yoga-style adventures. And the basic idea is that they copy what’s happening on the screen and get to replicate the sort of things that are going on. I just love these resources that are free, that are accessible, that are really interactive that get people moving. And those ones that we’ve covered so far certainly fit that need and that sort of mentality of movement and engagement.

10:05 JR: Now the next series of apps are probably more geared towards exercise-style activities, so different types of resistance and cardio-based stuff, and obviously, in this particular vein, you wanna be able to ensure that the resource is geared towards that audience. So this first app is called “Workout in a Bag”, and it’s designed particularly for kids. There is the “Workout in a Bag” app, which is the general workout application that’s used, not just for children, but this particular “Workout in a Bag” app for kids is designed, obviously, for kids. And the best part about it is it uses things like exercise names that are quite fun and quite gamified. So you’ve got things like, “frog hops” and “spidermans” and “flamingos.” They’re some of the names of the exercises that the kids are doing.

10:55 JR: But the best part is, as they work their way through the different bags of exercises, they earn points, and they have a little exercise buddy that follows them along, and they sort of build up their skills and their experience over time, and they can use this to unlock particular medals and badges as they make their way through. So I love that it applies that game theory, which we’ve spoken about on previous episodes into a really fun, very applicable workout-style adventure for kids. And it does definitely hit the mark in that it has over 50 age-appropriate resistance and cardio exercises, everything from beginner right through to kids who have been doing it a little bit longer, and it includes pictures of kids and moving pictures to guide them through it.

11:47 JR: So in that same vein that we continue to speak of, you can have this up on a projector or share it with a large group, and know that you’re going to get a lot of engagement from it. And for $2.99, it’s… These sort of resources are just no brainers, in terms of access to your classroom. Now, the next app I wanted to share with you is one that I released myself last year, I think it was, and anyway it’s called “Active Kids Colour.” And the premise of Active Kids Colour is pretty simple; it is a colouring book app. But as opposed to just being a colouring book where all you can do is colour in the pages on your iPad, the actual pages you’re colouring in are geared towards movement. So, the basic idea is that while people are colouring in the pages, and there’s some sort of artistic elements to it, and you’ve got different coloured pens and pencils and so forth, the students are actually supposed to do those actions. So, you might be colouring in a picture of a rabbit who’s running really fast. Well, you can get them doing that action while they’re doing it. So, it’s a free app, and it’s available if you search for “Active Kids Colour” on the App Store on the iPhone or the iPad, and I’m thinking your students will find it quite fun.

13:05 JR: Now, each of the colouring sheets is actually broken up into the alphabet, so they’re learning the alphabet, they’re learning about the actions, they’re learning about the actual movements that are happening, and they’re having a bit of fun while they express their own creativity with the colouring. So, yeah, go and check it out. It’s a good, fun app that I released last year, and it’s great to see that people have quite enjoyed it. The next one in that sort of vein of apps that can come out is one of my favourites, and it’s actually part of the PE Geek Workshops, and it’s called “”Bit Breaker”.” Now, I don’t necessarily think that this is designed for younger students, but it absolutely applies. So, think back to the ’80s, early ’90s, when there was that popular game called “Pong”, and you had the little paddle, and you had to hit the little ball on the screen, well that’s what “Bit Breaker” is, but the difference here is that it actually tracks you, the person. So, as you move left to right, the paddle moves left to right. And as you jump, you can impose some power on the ball that comes towards it. And it does this by tracking you with the front facing camera.

14:10 JR: So you rest your iPad down, you stand back a metre or so and you move left to right and you can see the paddle will move. And the objective is you’ve gotta hit all the tiles by moving left and right and deflecting them back up and so forth, just like in the game. The cool thing is here that, when an adult stands in front of “Bit Breaker”, we can sort of already do these actions. We know how to move left and right, we know those fundamental motor skills that are required to do it, but if you give this to a younger student, let’s say in kinder or early elementary, that is necessarily not something that they find quite as easy as us. So, I have directly witnessed younger kids who initially were not able to even get one reflection from the ball back to their blocks, learn. And you can see learning quite evident when people play “Bit Breaker” for long enough. So, I do know of a number of schools that have actually integrated it into circuit rotations in primary and elementary settings, or even kinder settings.

15:13 JR: And they’re using it to sort of… They might have one station which is a particular activity, and the next station, the students are playing “Bit Breaker” and they’ve got one iPad. And the kids who are there, well, they’re actually learning some of the fundamental motor skills that they could do in other ways, but this is just another fun way to integrate that into your group. And I guarantee you that if you give it to a group of students, they will find it really enjoyable, and not to mention you will see learning. You will clearly be able to see it, because initially, they won’t be able to get any rebounds. And initially they’ll find it quite difficult, but eventually they’ll get it, and they’ll see some learning occur. Now, in the same vein, there is an app that I have played with a lot, and I know participants in the PE Geek Workshop has downloaded it in case we get around to it, and it is called “NFL Play 60.”

16:04 JR: And if you’re familiar with the game “Temple Run”, then you’ll be familiar with what “NFL Play 60” does. And it was released to get kids moving and have a bit of fun surrounding the movement, but the basic idea is that you actually have to physically hold your device and run. And as you’re doing that, you’re moving your player in the game, and in order to jump, well, you need to jump as well. And in order to turn left, well, you need to physically turn your device left and right. And the idea is that it’s sort of like “Temple Run”, you’ve gotta run along and get the coins, and jump over objects, and avoid obstacles and so on, but you physically actually have to run and do that. It’s quite challenging. I’ll be honest. And you’ve got to interpret what’s happening on the screen and put that into action with the real movement. So, again, give that to a younger student and tell me that there is no learning that takes place there. I think you’d be really surprised that there absolutely is some deep learning that can occur from these seemingly trivial little games that are available on the App Store.

17:07 JR: Now the final couple of apps that I have a real likeness… Liking to, I should say, are the C-Fit Kids apps. And the C-Fit Kids are a collection of applications, and there’s three of them in different spaces, and the one that I’m thinking of that definitely needs to be shared is called “C-Fit Classroom Fitness.” And I think the C-Fit stands for “Children’s Fit”, there’s a C-Fit Dance and a C-Fit Yoga, but this particular one here is C-Fit Classroom Fitness. And inside of it, there’s video lessons geared towards younger kids. And you’ve got things like cardio kick-boxing inside of there, and fitness fun, and lots of other little things that kids can just follow along with and experience in this gamified style approach. So, as you can tell, there is a whole host of applications and video resources and podcasts that are geared towards younger kids.

18:06 JR: I think this space is definitely only going to grow as more and more sort of devices and so forth become even more accessible. But as we’ve touched on, most of these are free and most of these, or they’re a couple of dollars, and they definitely add something to that dimension of inspiring and motivating young kids to be active. So hopefully, you can find something there that you might wanna check out in your classroom. If you have any apps or resources that you use with younger kids, let me know. Send me a voice mail at thepegeek.com/voicemail, and I’ll be sure to share it with my audience and in future episodes. If you want all the episode notes from today’s podcast including transcripts, in case you don’t have the opportunity to listen to the podcast, then you can head to thepegeek.com/25 and you’ll be able to find all of that there. Until next time, have fun, and I’ll see you in Episode 26.



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