5 Apps I Used in My Perfect Volleyball Lesson

Recently I completed a Volleyball unit with my year 7 students that I will be repeating at the National PE Institute conference later this month. With this in mind, I wanted to take you on an inside tour of how it all worked.

The Background

This year our Year 7 students have been issued with 1:1 iPad devices as part of our new e-Learning plan, this enabled me to think bigger than normal surrounding how to introduce this unit, whereas previously I was limited by just having my own personal iPad device. The unit’s key aspects included the self-directed nature made possible via the iPads, right through to powerful video feedback.

Here’s an overview of the five apps that the students utilised, all of which filled them with high engagement, led to noticeable skill improvement and heightened tactical understanding:

SworkIt – A completely FREE app that has a simple promise, getting you active. This all starts from when you open the app up, you get presented with four choices as seen below.


This is how my lesson started with my students entering the classroom and selecting a warm up of their own choice via their iPad. While most of the students select cardio based activities, the random nature of the app means that the workouts were all different. There was also a handful of students who because of injury, elected to complete stretching and yoga based session. The differentiation provided by the app is simply incredible, however in classes with access to only one device, you can have students gather around the device or use a confident student to become the ‘leader’ and mimic the actions taking place in the app.


Following on from the warm up students opened the app ‘iNigma‘ which enables them to scan QR Codes and interact with the content contained within them.

QR Code Skill Posters – As students we’re finishing the Swork It warm up at differing stages, it was important that the next activity could be independently started. This led me to introduce the exceptional QR Code skill posters designed by Joey Feith of The Physical Educator. The focus of the session was on the forearm and overhead passed which led to the use of the following QR Code skill posters which were printed out, and placed around the gym.
Screenshot 2015-07-19 12.45.35

The students then located the posters, and scanned them using the i-Nigma app on their iPads. This including them starting with the Video Demonstration which outlined the skill, followed by them working their way through the 3 level activities that are designed to develop and emphasize that skill. The best aspect of using this approach is that it fostered teamwork, collaboration and ultimately a self-directed approach to the learning they were completing. As the teacher, I got the opportunity to walk around the room and emphasise key points, encourage and reinforce and highlight students who were doing great things.

While the students were working their way independently through the activities, I quickly set up my iPad Tripod complete with the app BaM Video Delay.

BaM Video Delay  – Without a doubt the ultimate app, that enables you to delay video that has been recorded up to 2 minutes. This means that your students can execute a skill, and then have ample time to get to the iPad to review their performance. In my case, I set the delay to 10 seconds and moved around the room with the tripod looking for students whom could become teachable moments. This approach was also aided by the permanent large screen setup in my practical space, which means that students can simply glance up to review their performance from anywhere in the room. You can see this in action in the video here.

It’s worth mentioning that the replay was made entirely possible with just my teacher iPad, however, you could have students utilising BaM Video Delay on their own device in a 1:1 environment.

After completing the practice activities, I gathered the entire class together to reinforce the rules of the Volleyball game. This involved using the app ‘CoachNote‘ and the large screen that the students had gathered around. Essentially CoachNote is a coach’s whiteboard, which can be used to showcase rules, tactics in a very visual manner See how to use the CoachNote app here

Video Tagger – While the game was underway, I got started utilising the app ‘Video Tagger’ on my own personal iPad. Video tagger is a very simple, yet powerful app that enables you to record footage and simultaneously tag what you see taking place. This means that you can customise the tags to suit the performance you desire to observe. In my volleyball session, I tagged ‘Good’ and ‘Improve’ items during the recorded period of 5 minutes. This equated to me tapping the ‘Good’ tag whenever I observed something that matched our lesson objectives, and ‘Improve’ when I witnessed something could be improved. Following the completion of the recording the app seamlessly stitched together the various tags into one complete video that contained just the ‘Good’ & ‘Improve’ segments.  See how the app works in the video below.


Following the collation of the video segments, we sat down and reviewed these as a class exploring the lesson objectives and how the classes performance had matched these, as well as areas for improvement.

Scoreboard App – While this was all taking place, I had a student who had a broken leg using the Scoreboard App. The scoreboard was reflected LIVE to the big screen, helping create a fun competitive atmosphere.

The information gathered through all of these applications enriched the learning environment while providing various types of learning pathways for my students. It enabled them to not have to rely on the me solely in demonstrating or articulating a skill but had a variety of avenues to actualize the information and turn it into action. In turn, all of these applications helped me observe and recording the progress of my class. Not only was there raw evidence of student performance. The efficiency, creativity, and freedom these applications offer to me as the teacher has not only revolutionized a lesson in Volleyball, but has definitely impacted the expectations these students have around their learning and ability in the PE environment.

Do you have an app that you think would add to my Volleyball unit? Then leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to take a look. Check out the other top app lists here or grab the PE Apps App for a great one-stop collection of the best PE apps.

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