In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast we explore the power of mobile devices by looking into the various interactions I have with my device over a 24 hour period. What apps do I use to support my teaching, learning, entertainment and so on. This episode is a follow up to a popular blog post I completed in 2012 where I explored in detail the apps I had used and why. While some of the apps and so on have changed, the fact remains that the mobile environment is here to stay, and has changed the game for my teaching in more ways than one.
Apps & Resources explored
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00:28 Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to Episode 26 of the PE Geek Podcast. And as always thanks for tuning in, no matter where you are it’s great to able to connect with you and be able to share the physical education and technology stuff that’s happening in and around the planet. I mean, it’s really exciting to me and I hope you get to experience that every time you listen to these episodes.
00:50 JR: Now, in today’s episode we’re gonna be focusing on a blog post that I did around about 2013, and even before that, surrounding 24 hours in my life and a mobile device. So, a couple of years of ago I sat down and I documented in journal style all of the apps and so forth that I used over a 24 hour period. And I did this to try and emphasise the fact that mobile devices are central to everything that we do in today’s day and age, whatever you want to achieve on a mobile you can do.
01:28 JR: I mean, it’s got to the point where they’re sort of on parity with our desktop computers and so forth. So for me, the mobile is a massive figure in everything that I do, and if you listen to the previous podcast episodes or see the blog posts, you would probably be aware of that already. I mean, I’m sure it’s a big part of your everyday life as well, I mean you might be listening to this podcast right now from your mobile device. And that is basically why in 2013 I chose to sit down and actually document exactly how I’d used it for a 24 hour period. Now, I’m gonna do that again, it’s almost like a modern version of that particular post in a podcast format, and just sort of see how that sort of changed compared to the previous example from a couple of years ago.
02:16 JR: Now, the other reason I did this post was it sort of emphasises the fact that we are in this mobile world, but so are our students. And the mobile device is not just central to me and everything that I do as a teacher, and as someone who wants to be entertained and informed and so on, it is also a central figure in the student’s lives. And may be even more important to their day-to-day functioning. And that’s really apparent, that’s really important and another reason why I look to sort of utilize these tools in the PE classroom when appropriate. So, I’m looking forward to sharing with a day in the life of me, 24 hours that is, and a mobile device.
03:04 JR: Okay, so for me, my day starts at around about 5:30 AM And like many of you, the alarm that wakes me up just so happens to be a mobile device. Now, I actually have to keep mine away from my bed, and I do that so I actually have to physically get up to turn it off. Now, a couple of times I’ve experimented with some different alarm apps, one called “Freaky Alarm,” which is still on the app store, it is a lot of fun. Basically it’s an alarm, and in order to turn it off you actually have to physically get up and take a picture of whatever is your trigger picture. So for example, you could take a picture of your kettle, or you could take a picture of your letter box, and unless you take that same picture the alarm doesn’t turn off. And the whole idea being you actually physically have to get up. So, I quickly got rid of that one, because it made it impossible to sorta hit that snooze button.
04:01 JR: But for me, 5:30 AM, I get up, then I get into getting ready and so forth. And then finally I get to sit down while I’m having breakfast and start going into probably the first app I use throughout the entire day, which is Gmail. And Gmail is what I use to bring in all of my different emails into the one spot. And over night time, the sort of eight or nine hours that I try and get every night… Sorry, a bit less than that, about seven hours that I try and get every night, is usually around about 30, sometimes up to 50 emails that are sitting there waiting for me to process. I try and unsubscribe to any that are spam style, just marketing type stuff and there’s a really good website for that called Unroll.Me. And if you keep getting lots of those sort of emails then you can very easily with one click unsubscribe from all of them, but make sure you don’t unsubscribe from the PE Geek blog newsletter. Because it will pick that up and see if you want to unsubscribe to it.
05:04 JR: But yeah, email is the first thing that I have to process through, and I use a couple of tools to help prioritise that so that I spend as little as time as possible doing it. And everyday I strive towards inbox zero, which means that my inbox is not used as a to-do list, it’s basically kept completely empty. And the things that I have to do get processed and put into different places, so that I can action them. So, I have a folder called “Action,” and I have a folder called “Waiting On,” and things go into that based on the responses.
05:39 JR: So after I’ve processed my emails, I usually jump on Twitter and there’s usually some conversations that have been happening that I jump into and people direct messaging me, and at replies. And then finally, I’ll end up looking at the actual traditional news, via one of the news apps that’s on my device.
05:58 JR: So, clearly it’s the first couple of interactions I’ve had. In the morning, I’ve had already four interactions with a mobile device. A separate basic app functions and at this stage, it’s still not even quite 6:00 AM, and I’m just basically starting the day. So, even at this early stage, the mobile device is central to everything. And I mean I could jump on a laptop and do much of the same thing, but I mean, I find the mobile device is a really easy way to churn through a lot of those quick and easily accessible tasks.
06:32 JR: So, the next step is, obviously, I jump in my car everyday and I drive an hour and 10 minutes to work at [06:42] ____ District School and I mean I leave the house at around about sort of 20 past six-ish, around about that time, and the first thing I do, is I go straight to the Audible app which is, for those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it’s audible and it’s a Podcast, I mean not a Podcast app. It’s an audio book service by Amazon and, basically, I buy all of my audio books through there and I listen to books. And I find it to be absolutely a great way to get through things that I would never get a chance to read if I had to sit down and physically read them, and I mean, I make the effort to try and get through one book every single month and all of last year that was sort of my little mini-goal, basically, was lucky enough to be able to do it, because I spend so much time in the car.
07:30 JR: So, on the way to work, I always listen to audio books. And at the moment, I’m listening to some autobiographies, which is one of my probably favourite books to pick. And on the way home, I don’t listen to audio books. I tend to listen to Podcasts, but I’ll talk about that when we get to later on in the day. So, eventually, I’m in the car, I’m driving, I’m listening to audio books, and at this stage, I usually, at some point, will click on the Voxer app, you know, maybe when I’ve just arrived at school, and what Voxer is, is it’s a social network that is all about voice pretty much, and it’s basically like having a walkie-talkie and there’s heaps of physical education teachers that connect with each other through Voxer.
08:20 JR: And every morning I wake up and there’s all of these discussions happening. And the great part about Voxer is that you actually hear the person’s voice. So, it’s like having an actual staff meeting with teachers from all over the planet. And the best part about the Voxer app is that you can just hit ‘Play’ on the first voice message that you received throughout the time that I was sleeping which is usually quite a lot. And they’re not directly talking to me, but it’s a conversation amongst the people in Voxer, and you just get to sit back and it’s connected to my car stereo and everyone’s talking and, you know, I basically make mental notes to jump on there after I’ve listened to them and respond, but overall, it’s a seriously amazing professional development experience for PE teachers.
09:08 JR: And, I mean, the app is free, Voxer. Search for it and find it and then you can connect with PE teachers and start the discussion and, I mean, ask a question and then hear someone actually physically talk to you to bring that to life. So, I’ve got a immense value from Voxer and really value it. Now, at some point, I actually arrive at school. Now, I like to get to school at 10 to eight. Our first classes don’t start until 9:00 AM. That gives me, you know, a fair bit of time to sort of get planning and do some initial work and organise the various things that I’m going to do. I mean, it’s a routine now, so, it’s just what I’ve always done.
09:44 JR: So, the very first thing that probably happens on a daily basis is I would log into say Google Drive which is where everything in our school is sort of organised based on our morning bulletin and our calendar and everything else to do with our school existence side of the Google Drive, and I mean, we are a Google apps-based school. So, that is fantastic for mobile devices. I mean you got all of the apps available for us to be able to do everything that we need via mobile.
10:19 JR: At this particular stage, you know, I will be sitting down in front of my laptop, as well, where I’m accessing much of the same information, just on a bigger screen. But, you know, I don’t necessarily need that, I mean, I can do everything that I would need to do on my iPhone, on my iPad and much the same way that I would work from my iPad or from my laptop.
10:38 JR: At this stage, you know, my first class is turning up and I would jump onto Google Classroom which is another little addition to the Google apps environment and I would post some sort of status updates about what is happening for that particular class, so that when I walk in, I can basically know that students are gonna log onto Google Classroom and they’ll have an announcement that basically informs what they are going to do throughout the duration of that particular session. Now, the first class that I had on this particular day was a classroom-based senior physical education session where we were learning about functional anatomy and so forth, so we weren’t in a practical space so it made sense that Google Classroom was used and we could use it to sort of connect resources together and so forth.
11:25 JR: So, I’d be setting up Google Classroom with what’s happening for that particular session and at the same time, I would be getting that information from Easy Planner which just so happens to be an app that I built myself for this exact reason for lesson planning and for sort of making notes of the various things that are happening in the classroom. So, Easy Planner is definitely amongst my daily use across all my mobile devices and my laptop. You can go and sign up for free at easyplannerapp.com.
11:54 JR: And then finally, I would be sort of getting my days ready in terms of attendance in the Easy Attendance app, which is one that I built for myself. That let’s me track attendance and make groups based on various situations and so forth. So each day you go in and you generate an attendance for that particular class, and that means you can then track the attendance for that class when you are in it. That’s sort of the preparation in the morning for my first sort of classes. It’s mostly documents, and curation of documents, and printing things and so forth.
12:32 JR: But all of it, happens from a mobile device or potentially from a mobile device, every single morning. Now, eventually we have my first practical class of the day. On this particular instance, I had two double period sessions that were actual physical activity in a practical gymnasium space. And I mean this stat… The objective was in the first instance about swimming and second one it was a sport unit.
13:02 JR: So in the PE class that’s happened first, we took the students down to the pool. And besides from using Easy Attendance to track who was here, and make notes about that, I had used the Swim Games app in the lead up to it. Now Swim Games is a resource that I put together literally for myself. Like a lot of my apps are. That basically has a list of beginner, and intermediate, and advanced games that you can use. And I mean every time I open it up, I am reminded of games that I placed in there and completely forget about. So it’s a great resource for helping with reminding the various games that you can play in the swimming pool. Now, the focus of those swimming sessions is on a variety of different things. And in this particular instance, students were learning some of the safety entries that basically exist in a pool and outside of that. And with this sort of life saving slant to it.
13:57 JR: And one way to sort of get across what students are doing and be able to give them feedback when they are at the pool, is by using the app Ubersense. And now if you are unfamiliar, Ubersense is a video analysis app, it’s now my preferred video analysis app. And it let’s you film something on your mobile device. And then you can go frame by frame on your mobile device and show something. Forward, and reverse, and you can draw on the video and really emphasise points. So the best way for me to be able to showcase to a few students why they were having limited success with these entries, why they had to keep their head above the water, was to use a video. And I could basically, and I did film them, highlight exactly what they needed to do and what they did. And it was a great tool to be able to then have them experience some level of success the very next time they did an entry.
14:55 JR: So Ubersense was a great part of that session. I mean I didn’t have it out the entire session, but a couple of times it was appropriate to use it. And to use it to showcase to a student something that they were doing that could be improved. So that’s the first practical session I had for the day. I mean that was an hour long session. And then eventually we had recess and those sorts of things. And at this stage, I’m just basically relaxing and getting ready for the next class. And the second class was, a Nukem session. Now a Nukem session is sort of like a modified volleyball where they catch the ball. And it’s a great game for junior levels. But in this instance, I had set up Fit Radio which is an app that let’s you stream music that’s appropriate for workouts and sort of high intensity activity and so forth.
15:46 JR: They have a physical education channel now. That’s highly recommended. And you can go there, and connect it to a set of speakers, and then hit play on the physical education channel, and then you can just sit back while this great music appropriate to your class gets played. So that was used for our warm-up. And while we were doing that, we were actually using the application 7 Minute Workout by Bluefin which is… There is a million different seven minute workout apps, but this is the one that I like the most. The music we used was Fit Radio. And we had the 7 Minute Workout app, working to basically take students through the classic seven minute workout, that is star jumps and things like that, jumping jacks I should say. Yeah, that was our warm-up activity with the music over the top.
16:38 JR: Now, once we’ve done that, I got my students to set up BaM Video Delay. My ultimate app which I think I talk about on every single podcast episode. And placed it in the corner of one of the Nukem courts. And I had that air played to the projector in the stadium. And if you wanted to see what that looks like, you can go to bigscreenpe.com. And you can see what I mean by using BaM and having it wirelessly project to a large screen. Now, in this particular instance, I was using BaM to help emphasise the coaching points, the teaching points in the game of Nukem. Now, as they were being projected out wirelessly, whenever there was a certain situation that would be appropriate to showcase as a learning objective, I would stop playing. I would direct the students attention to that particular point. And it helped me emphasise things with real world examples that had happened a few seconds before.
17:38 JR: Now, BaM is without a doubt my favourite app. And if you are unfamiliar, it let’s you do instant replays in the classroom. You can set up a delay timer and basically shows you what happened in a delay. So it’s the easiest way to create an instant replay in your class. And you can do up to two minutes. In this instance, I had 10 seconds. And I had it set up in the corner and pointing towards one side of the volleyball court, and whenever I saw something, it was just used to help explore that particular thing.
18:07 JR: So at this particular stage of the day, we’re up to… It’s just gone sort of 1 o’clock, and I’ve had 17 interactions with different apps throughout the course of the day thus far. And there are other apps that I’ve gone into and out of, other communication things and I’ve sent maybe some text messages and so forth, which technically are apps, but these are all deliberate in terms of they are actually something that I’m trying to achieve through a given purpose throughout a period of time. They’re all related to my job or related to things that I enjoy, so for entertainment purposes and so on. But 17 different interactions with different apps, and I’m not even really trying.
19:24 JR: But the next thing that I actually had to be part of was an after-school meeting. Now an after-school meeting, we have an agenda item and so forth, and I like to take my notes inside of Evernote. If you’ve never used Evernote, it’s basically a note-taking tool on steroids, so you can take notes, you can attach audio to them, attach documents and create these really amazing tagged notebooks that let you search by tags and search for words and convert your handwriting into text, and so on and so forth. And it’s sort of collaborative as well in that you could have shared notebooks, take notes, and so on. So it has the app that has the elephant trunk on it, and it’s probably one of the most downloaded apps ever, and it’s for a good reason, because it is such a powerful app and something that I would highly recommend you go and check out if you never have.
20:20 JR: At this particular stage, some dates and so on get shared and I’ve added them to Google Calendar via the CalenMob app on my iPad or directly to CalenMob on my laptop, and it just means that I’m able to keep note and track of all the various things that I’m doing. Now, often during school meetings, I have to share something related to the various roles that I have, and what I tend to do is hit record in Evernote and actually record myself giving whatever it is the message, passing that on to staff, and so on. And in case someone is not there, I can then forward that particular audio recording direct to them. And the first time I ever did that, people were blown away and they thought it was some sort of elaborate time-sucking thing to do, but all I did was press one button and then shared the notebook with them and there was the notes and there was the actual recording of me explaining whatever it was that they were not able to do.
21:27 JR: Now, as the day is finished, I tend to hop in the car and as I mentioned, on the way home, it’s not about audio books. I usually find my mind’s racing too much and in the morning it’s a bit more relaxing and I can sit down and listen to a book. But on the way home, I just wanna consume as many podcasts as I possibly can, and there obviously are some phys ed related podcasts that you can definitely check out other than mine.
21:51 JR: There is the PhysEd podcast that Joey Feith and Nathan Horne do, and then there’s the PHYSEDagogy podcast that’s a new addition where they interview teachers and so on. But yeah, I tend to go outside of teaching-related podcasts as well, and I do subscribe to a couple of podcasts in the business space and in the short story space, which is really interesting. This American Life is another great podcast, and another podcast that I’m a big fan of at the moment is called the StartUp Podcast, which is all about a person creating a business from scratch and documenting it and so forth. So yeah, so really interesting things that come through that podcast’s app everyday. And I must admit, I learn so much from podcasts, and I hope that this is the reason behind why you listen to them as well.
22:43 JR: And eventually at some stage, I get home and I might put some music on through Spotify while I just basically relax for a little bit. And at some stage, I have to make that mental switch and do a bit of planning for the next day, which would be in Easy Planner, the app that I spoke about earlier on. But eventually I have to switch into the PE Geek mode and basically get things ready for the blog and the podcast and all those sorts of things. And the way that works for me is I utilize an app and a website called Trello, and Trello is like a project management type software or app, and it lets you create these boards which you can use to say specific tasks and so on underneath.
23:33 JR: And I mean without it, I’m not sure I’d be able to keep track of all the software and the apps and the blog posts and so on that I’m doing. I’m also fortunate to have or be able to employ people that also work with me on those Trello boards. So for example, the different software developers that I work with and the different support people that I work with and graphic artists and so on. They work with me on those Trello boards so that we can keep everything happening behind the scenes as smoothly as possible.
24:04 JR: In and amongst using Trello, which is central I would be communicating with people on Skype, lots of PE teachers that connect with me through that platform and most of that happens on a mobile device as well. Finally, I’ve been on Twitter and I send out a few more tweets and had a few more conversations on Voxer as well usually by this stage and eventually I might jump on and check out what’s happening on Facebook with my friends and my community and maybe have a chat with someone in Facebook messenger.
24:37 JR: But across the entire day, the mobile space is certainly quite busy. The predominant vehicle across all the things that I do digitally is in a mobile setting. It would be hard to say that this is not the central device that I use even though I have a laptop, and even though I’m probably more productive on a laptop most of the work that goes into my teaching and goes into the running of the PE Geek site and so on happens on a mobile device and I don’t think I’d be alone in that. I probably think most of you are finding similar things in terms of the amount of time that you spend on mobile devices compared to other devices.
25:20 JR: Now, I think it’s worth saying that there is the risk with such easy access to a mobile device that we spend too much time on mobile. And that’s also something that we have to be very mindful in our student cohorts, but we also need to not underestimate the power that these things have in terms of being able to support what it is that we’re doing. Now, I’m a real big advocate for mobile not just because of that, but because of the fact that there never has been a time ever where we’ve been able to experience the power of technology while we’ve been active. This is a really big thing.
25:58 JR: We’ve never had a time where it’s been so accessible to be able to do the things that we’re talking about. So, I think mobile is definitely a massively positive thing across all sectors, across people in education, across people running businesses, across entertainment factors and so forth. And it’s not going to change, and this is the world that our students are in, so being aware of it and knowing that they’re not just doing these because they wanna be different or difficult. They’re doing this because that’s actually the world that they occupy and that’s the world that we all occupy now.
26:36 JR: So yeah, hopefully you found it a little bit interesting to go through and check out what it looks like for me over a 24-hour period. It’s not really 24 hours ’cause that includes sleep, but I would definitely recommend going and having to think about what and how many times per day and different things that you do on your mobile device. You might be fascinated to know that pretty much everything that you do on a day-to-day basis can now be achieved in a mobile fashion and I think that’s really exciting and really testament to how far we’ve progressed and sort of a bit of a glimpse into where we’re headed.
27:11 JR: Alright, until next time. Let me know if you have any questions via thepegeek.com or hit me up with a voice mail question at thepegeek.com/voicemail and until Episode 27, see you later.
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