Over the last 8 years of using Technology in PE, I’ve made MANY mistakes. Many of these have been learned the hard way through trial, error and major fails. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, as these have become lessons that are now the guiding principles I use to ensure my lessons are always improving and that the resources I share on this website are of the highest quality.
So with this in mind, here are the Top 10 Lessons I’ve learned using Technology in PE
- No Substitute for Good Teaching.
This is without a doubt the single most important thing to remember in any teaching situation. You are the most important thing in the classroom, NOT the technology that you bring into it. Not the iPad. Not the app that you’re using.
In all cases, good teaching is the key to all of this. Give a bad teacher access to technology, and all you have is a more expensive Bad Teacher. However on that very same token, great teachers who think really well about their practice, who get given great tools, such as what technology can provide, can go on to be even better. So, I firmly believe that is one of the biggest lessons ever. No matter what, you cannot replace good teaching.
- Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome.
Just because it’s tech-based, or just because there’s an app for it, doesn’t mean it’s actually better. I’ve certainly been guilty of this over the many years, often finding something that was being done in a traditional sense, and then going, “You know what? I’m going to try and find an app version, because obviously it has to be better”. So with this mind, I truly believe that you need to be very clear on what exactly you’re hoping to achieve in that particular situation and then decide whether or not it’s going to enhance your session objectives.
- Personal Network & Sharing Are Key.
There are lots of examples of people who work independently and are able to do some good things in their classes, but what’s the point of that if you’re not actually able to share it and help the community grow at large? The lessons that you learn can definitely be applied to other people and other situations and this discussion through personal networks is the key for me in actually ensuring that my classes and everything that I do online is constantly improving. What are you sharing?
- Value Reflection.
I remember learning about the value of reflection during my University days. At the time, this would involve us soon to be graduates, completing a lesson plan, teaching a lesson and then writing a reflection. To be honest, I hated it.
I absolutely despised the whole process of forced reflection. I didn’t see the value in it. However, upon graduating and starting this website in 2008, I actually started to see the value of the reflective process for improving your own practice. How are you reflecting?
- No Such Thing as a Perfect Lesson.
Contrary to my post last week, you should never assume that a lesson is perfect. There really is no such thing as a perfect lesson.Even if you think that it’s been the most impressive lesson you’ve ever taught, there’s always room for potential growth and improvement. We need to be prepared to think about it, in a case by case example, and think about how you can use it next year to make it better and more applicable to the new group of students that come in.
- Digital Natives don’t exist.
It may be a little bit controversial – but I don’t believe for one second that digital natives exist. I know this depends on how you define what a digital native is, but the idea that students come into your classroom already skilled in the effective use of technology is a complete fallacy. It still depends on what they’ve grown up with, the schools they’ve been to prior to and the access to devices they’ve got.
- Focus on Student Use.
The power is in student use. Sure, lots of tools are successful in the hands of teachers, however, the best applications come from student use. So this means that even if you’ve only got one device, then put yourself in a situation where a couple of students get access to using it, and you as the teacher rotate students through that device. It shouldn’t necessarily be about you and how YOU use it.
- PE is about Movement.
Physical Education should be about movement and learning, ALWAYS. Using technology in your classroom therefore, becomes a tool to make that possible. It should be never seen as a replacement. It’s simply just a tool to help you reach whatever learning or movement objectives you have set.
- Be Prepared to Fail.
Let’s face it, things aren’t going to work all the time. Mistakes will happen and after all, isn’t that where the best learning occurs. I can think of numerous examples where I’ve gone to try something, and it just hasn’t worked.
So the only way you know whether things work is if you’re willing to give them a go, and if you’re willing to fail. Too many teachers are afraid to fail in their classes – There is absolutely nothing wrong with failing in front of a group of students.
- Don’t ever stop learning.
Don’t ever stop trying to improve. This characteristic is ultimately what we want to instil in our students. We want them to know that even when school finishes, that learning never stops. So, for me, reflecting this trait is without a doubt one of the most important attributes. How are you showcasing lifelong learning qualities?
What lesson’s have you learnt using technology in PE? You can share them with me on social media, via an e-mail or by leaving a voicemail message here