Episode 46 – Self Directed Physical Education

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast, we explore the power of self-directed activities and how technology can support the implementation in your Physical Education classroom. I share the what

Resources explored during the episode include

  1. Balance It, Jump It, Stretch It & Work It Apps [Download All]
  2. Fitness BlenderSwork It & Swork It Kids
  3. QR Code Task Cards
  4. Animated GIF Creation
  5. Self Directed Games with CoachNote
  6. ConnectedPE Community 14 Day Trial [Join Here]

Press Play below to listen or visit the podcast page. Alternatively download a full episode transcript here

[spp-transcript]

00:29 Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone, and welcome to episode number 46 of the PE Geek podcast, and as always it is an absolute pleasure to be here and I really thank you for tuning in. Now, it’s been a pretty busy last six months for me. As some of you may have known as I have mentioned here on the podcast before, I headed off on a almost six months trip around the planet, heading off towards the US first and then continuing in that easterly direction around the globe. And basically I was running workshops and presenting at conferences and so forth, and I only landed back in Australia last week.

01:08 JR: So, this is the first episode that I’ve recorded in around about six months. The previous five months worth of content that you’ve been listening to, was done all on like about a one or two day batch recording process, and yeah, it was good to be able to keep the show out, and keep the show happening for the people that are listening. I didn’t want it to stop while I was away, but it’s also good to be back and be sort of regularly releasing shows because as we know technology changes a lot, and if you record an episode five months ago, the stuff you’re talking about may not actually happen anymore. Fortunately for us, that really didn’t take place, but yeah, it’s nice to be back into the swing of things. Now a couple of things have happened since we have gotten back in the last month. We opened doors to the ConnectedPE Community. Now, if you haven’t heard about or seen what ConnectedPE is, it’s our new membership center, and it’s all revolving around professional development. So, a place where you can go to get professional development, from not just me. This is from all areas of physical education.

02:22 JR: Experts in all different fields are available inside through training, webinars, courses, and so forth, and with everything that we do you get certificates, so it’s designed to really make it easy for you to get your professional development hours up and be able to show evidence of the things that you’ve done. So if you’re listening to this podcast, there’s professional development. Well, inside of ConnectedPE, you can actually generate certificates showcasing that you’ve actually been listening. As a special gift for anyone who is a podcast listener, you can head over to the pegeek.com/trial, T-R-I-A-L, and you can trial the community for $14. Sorry, for 14 days with $1. So it will give you a chance to see exactly what’s inside there, all of the live trainings that we had and you’ll be able to join us for any future trainings within that 14-day period. So I definitely recommend you head along there and check out the 14-day trial, and if you’re already inside Connected PE, I thank you for it and we’ve got some huge things planned for it over the 2016 period.

03:35 JR: Including if you wanna come to a PE Geek workshop, ConnectedPE members get it for free. And all sorts of things along that line, so I urge you to go check it out. Now in today’s topic we’re gonna be exploring something that I happen to talk about a lot. And that is this whole notion of self directed physical education. And we’re gonna talk about what that is, why I think it’s powerful and then I’m gonna share a couple of resources and simple ways that you can get started on this whole journey of self directed physical education. As I briefly alluded to you in the introduction, self direction is definitely something that I’m quite fan of, and you would have heard me speak about before if you’ve listened to episodes on this podcast, or read stuff on the blog. But for me basically it comes down to any activity that you would do in your class, whereby the students are responsible for interpreting what is supposed to happen and then acting on whatever the task is that you’ve set, without necessarily the direct intervention or the direct instructions from you, the teacher.

04:41 JR: Now traditionally, this is being done with things like station card, and task cards, things along that lines but there’s lot of opportunities to sort of introduce technology into this sort of equation to help us with explaining the activity without us techni… Sort of needing to be there. And the reason I think this is really powerful is because a student can arrive at whatever it is that’s gonna be disseminating the information to them. They can interpret what it is that you’re trying to get them to do, and they can work through it at their own pace. And you move as the teacher from being this really… The central figure in the class who is disseminating the information and is very much one to one type relationship, to being someone who is way more leveraged. What I mean by that is if you can lay out activities which explainable by a station card or a task card then people can interpret them at their own understanding, and they can work through them at their own pace. And ultimately, it frees you up as a teacher to be more supportive.

05:56 JR: So rather than being the barrier for growth in your class, you can become this sort of supportive role which really works to sort of grow and enhance what happens. Now, I’ve had some really impressive success with self-directed activities in my PE classroom, everything right through to having kids work on, and developing their own skills without me, really having to be involved. And I mean sure, I’m involved when I set the activity up which is self directed, but once you sort of present it to the students and they have done it a few times, it becomes quite powerful, and you really start to see them being responsible for their learning.

06:40 JR: Now, after sort of using self-directed activities in the past, I really got sort of interested in bringing these to life in an app form. And you may have heard me talk about the It series of the apps before, the Balance It app, the Jump It app, Stretch It app, and Work It app. Well, basically they’re built around these whole notion of self direction. So you’ve got ‘Balance It’ which is a collection of task cards, over 60 of them, hand drawn that show students the different balance activities that they can do in singles, or individual… Sorry, partners, and groups of three, and so on. And the very notion is that they look at the task card, they would complete it, and then they work through at their own pace. But if you’ve got your whole group who’s involved in doing this activity, and you’ve got multiple devices, then you would look around the room and you would see that people are at different stages, and it’s because of this self direction that that’s possible. In the traditional sense, if it was you at the front of the classroom, and you were presenting these things one on one, and everyone would copy what you were doing, basically you’ve stunted the progression of some of the students in your group, and you’ve also made it pretty impossible for those students who are struggling to focus on that for in the time that they need because you would need to move on.

08:02 JR: So, I think self-direction works not just to engage students, but it also works to help sort of accommodate with the different levels and abilities that you have in your PE class. So ‘Balance It’ has been really popular if you head along to the blog and do a search for ‘Balance It’, you’ll see lots of different examples of schools all over the globe who are using Balance It in that exact manner. ‘Jump It’, is the same thing as ‘Balance It’ but it’s all about jump rope skills. And as you know, if you do a jump rope activity in your class, everyone is gonna have a whole enormous array of ability, and the app starts off really simple with simple skills and activities, and progresses up to being much more difficult. And because it’s self-directed, you can really accommodate the different levels of ability that come into your class. Obviously, you’ve also got ‘Stretch It’, which is again, the same concept but for stretching, and then ‘Work It’, which is the same concept but for sort of exercise. So that rounds up the It series, and I really believe that there’s lots of value in sort of piecing them together.

09:10 JR: Now, they are available on iPhone and Android, and also as a downloadable e-book so that you can just print them out and present them to your students if you don’t have devices. But if you wanna get them all in one downloadable bundle, then you can just head along to thepegeek.com/bundle, and it’ll take you to the app store where they’ve been all put in to sort of one download, and it just… Yeah. It’s substantially cheaper than buying them all individually, you get all four on your device. So that is the Balance It series, and there’s lots of possibilities there, and I love hearing about the things that people are doing with ‘Balance It’ and the ‘It’ series apps.

09:54 JR: Now, one of my other favourite ways to provide self-directed activities is during warm ups. Now obviously, as your students come into your classroom, they may get changed, or they may arrive at different speeds, and quite simply, you end up with a group of students who are probably just sitting there waiting for that last person to arrive into your class. This is a common practice in lots of classrooms, you will have students who take or need longer to get ready. And I like the self-directed tasks being made available at the very start of a session because it sort of provides a student the ability to walk in and get active straight away with the task. Now, one of the things that I’ve done to make that possible is the use of the app ‘Sworkit’. Those ‘Sworkit’ is really fantastic because it’s free, it’s available on all devices, and basically, the students will come in, they would pick up a device if they have access to one, they would pick the type of activity they wanna do, whether it’s cardio, stretching, strength, or yoga, and they would pick how long they have. And then it would present them this random collection of exercises they do. And they would participate with those, and as other students walk in, they either join that student, or they’d pick up another device and they go and do the same thing. And what you basically end up with, is students self-directing their own warm up activity.

11:20 JR: Sure, this hasn’t need to be done with tech, you could just have a white board or a chalk board with some instructions on it, and as students come in, they get straight into the activity. There’s no need for them to be waiting and just sitting there inactive for the rest of the people in their group to arrive. And so, I like to do it through technology, but you can definitely achieve the same thing without the technology. Now, ‘Sworkit’ has been great as I mentioned. There’s also Sworkit Junior if you’ve got younger kids. They are basically activities that are a little bit more age appropriate for people in elementary or younger elementary levels. If you got the older kids, then I would check out the Sworkit app and if you don’t have access to iPhones, or iPads, or androids tablets, then you might just simply wanna head along to the website Fitness Blender. Now Fitness Blender is really quite amazing, and we have spoken about it before. It’s basically a YouTube channel and there’s a husband and wife pair and they’ve basically just recorded them doing these various work out routines. Some of them are only for 10 minutes long, right up to 40 minutes long, and you can filter them by type of activity and all those sorts of exciting things.

12:35 JR: And, basically what it means is that the student can get any device. They can be connected to the internet, they can visit fitnessblender.com for free. They search for the type of activity they wanna do, and they start watching. And whether that’s a laptop or a Chrome book, or any of the sort, they would be able to follow along with what’s happening and copy the various activities and skills and ultimately they’re all working through it self directed in many ways.

13:05 JR: Another cool twist to that is… Let’s say you’ve got one student who is really motivated, or you break your students into groups of four or five, give each of those students a device, and basically they stay in their groups of five, with one student who has or is watching the various activities that are taking place on the Fitness Blender video or this Work It App, and that person becomes like the instructor.

13:37 JR: So they’re performing their skills but they’re doing so, so that the other people in their little group are following them, but really what they’re doing is the person at the front of the room as the instructor, the student who is pretending to be the instructor is watching the video and then performing the skills and the other students are watching the student who’s watching the video.

14:00 JR: And basically becomes like this personal trainer type thing, and you could have kids rotate through and put them into small peer groups and they become sort of quite inspired and motivated by this whole notion of being at the front and center and taking their peers through a workout. So really I’m encouraged and recommend that you try something of that sort. Following the sort of warm up, a number of ways that I have self directed skill development has been through things such as QR code task cards. And the QR code obviously stands for Quick Respond Code and they’re basically they’re bar codes and you can scan them. And the best part is that it let’s you basically turn any physically object into a clickable object.

14:50 JR: And what I mean by that is that when you scan the QR code which could be on a poster or on a wall, it’ll creates an action which triggers on your device. Now that action could be that when you scan the code it takes you to a YouTube clip, and when you scan the code, it reveals this hidden text message or it takes you to a website. Any of that sort of stuff would be completely up to you but if you wanted to make them, you head to qrstuff.com and you can see the whole host of choices that you’ve got there. But I like to link them to videos, and I like to link them to videos of students, or elite athletes performing a specific action. So when we were learning how to volleyball spike, rather than me being at the front of the room and showcasing the exact method for this, I went and found someone who did it better than me.

15:43 JR: And I made some QR codes, got them from the physical educator website, it’s QR codes [15:50] ____ which I’ll link to in the show notes, and stuck them around the room and when people scan them it would reveal the video, almost instantly. And meant that they could watch the video, the skill, the activity, whatever it was that we were linking to, they would go and perform it, and independently progress through those different activities that we set up. And the best part about it is when I completed this, and looked around the room, there were some students that were progressing much faster and doing some of the advanced activities and others who needed more time. And because it was self directed, it meant that that was possible. I wasn’t trying to run to an agenda of the middle ground, I was running to individual needs and abilities and that sort of self directed notion made that possible.

16:41 JR: And the really good thing about it is that my role was really freed up, you know how crazy it can be in a class of students, but it meant that I could literally walk around and I could address people one on one, and see where they’re up to, what video they’re watching. What sort of instructional tips they needed from there, and it was basically like cloning myself. And the way I achieved that was by empowering the students to be responsible for interpreting and reading the information as it came to them. Now another opportunity that you can possibly look at is linking the instructional videos, not necessarily as videos but as animated GIFs. Now I did some blog post earlier in the year which I’ll link to. One called ‘Looping Skill Demos’, and this whole notion of creating and animated GIF from a YouTube clip is quite powerful.

17:36 JR: Now if you’re unsure of what an animated GIF is, essentially they’re like the images you see all over the internet where it’s like a picture and it’s moving. Like just an image, it’s not a video but it’s just a moving picture and it repeats. And they’re usually pretty short, but they repeat over, and over, and over again. So you can very easily create an animated GIF with a website such as ‘Make GIF’ and we’ll link to it in the show notes and basically you record, say, the skill being performed that might ask for a second or two seconds and it is a GIF. And then you would link a QR code to that GIF, and there you have it. You’ve got this video, oh sorry, this image that sort of plays like a video but is actually just a picture. And becomes really easy to share, to point people to. And because it’s looping over and over, it provides more opportunity than probably a video does to sort of reflect on it and look at what needs to happen. And, again, the students could be interpreting it and performing these actions as they need. So, yeah, I highly recommend using GIFs particularly for this whole notion of self-directed activities.

18:53 JR: Now, the final area of self-directed play that I wanna talk to you about revolves around the area of game play. Now, that is whether it’s to do with sports and teaching students about a sport, or whether it’s about mind games and that sort of area. Now, an app that I’ve used in the past to help me achieve this has been CoachNote. Now, CoachNote is really amazing because what it does is it’s basically a coach’s whiteboard and if you can imagine you’ve got, say, a basketball court up on your screen, on your iPad, or on other device, and you can move players around. So, you can move them to show where they’ve run from, or where they’re running to and you can do all of those sorts of things. So, with this particular app, I have in the past actually recorded me explaining the rules of a specific game. Now, in this instance, I taught the game, Korfball, which you may have played before. It’s extraordinary. It’s a really good fun game.

19:51 JR: And I basically taught that game ahead of time on the iPad, recorded it as a video, which it can do, inside the app, and have my voice over the top. And it showed where you could run, and where you couldn’t run to in the game. And I presented that to the students with no extra support from me. And then we got started playing it. And the students had to try and interpret what was happening in the video, remember the rules, and see if we could just actually play the game. It was a really unique experience because it actually sort of ensured that they were learning them on their own sort of capacity without me directly needing to teach it. And the best part about this was that we actually did the video outside of our normal school hours. So, that was made as some sort of task they needed to complete, and then we could just get straight into the game. And, sure, there were some students that didn’t know all the rules because they weren’t quite sure what was being said in the videos, but for the most part it worked really well because we were able to actually move on much faster than if I had started the lesson having to explain some rules or objectives, or talk about some of the basic strategies. It was already done and the students had the opportunity to sort of develop that mindset on their own.

21:20 JR: Now, further to this, I did blog about some self-directed student setup of activities using the app CoachNote. And essentially what I mean by that is if you’ve got a game or an activity then you just show how that game or activity is setup, what equipment you need, where the equipment sits, and so forth. And you do it in CoachNote. And then, as the students are ready to play this activity, you just have this on the screen of your iPad, where all the information, where all the equipment needs to go, and they need to look at that, and they need to actually go and set that up in the actual physical space. And in the blog post that I mentioned it’s been really powerful to sort of sit back and see them actually build the things that we’ve been talking about. I remember the first time we ever did this. I set up this basic tag game but had some equipment, different cones and markers laid out around the room, and I just got the equipment out and I put it in the corner of our gym and on the screen of the iPad was the exact setup of how it needed to be. And as a group, they had to try and work together to set that game up within two minutes. And it meant that I didn’t have to set it up. So, it saved me time, which was good, but it also gave me an opportunity to see how they were at directing their own sort of learning. And it was a really valuable experience. I certainly try and replicate this as often as I possibly can. So, another option for you.

22:49 JR: Now, that brings us to the end of our episode number 46, looking at self-directed learning and various technological tools that you can use to make this a feature in your classroom. As I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be with technology in order for it to be self-directed. This whole notion isn’t new, but there’s obviously lots of potential leverage that can be achieved through incorporating technology and by leverage I mean being able to disseminate it across many students and without sort of having to rely on one channel being you or a book that may have the information in it. So, highly recommended, I think it’s one of my favourite models to use in a classroom for many, many reasons. It challenges students, it challenges you, takes you out of that leadership and authoritarian role, and puts you into this more supportive role, which I think is a great mindset. Now, if you have any questions, please feel free to head over to thepegeek.com/voicemail and leave a voicemail message and as I mentioned if you’d like to jump into the ConnectedPE Community and trial it for 14 days then head along to thepegeek.com/trial. That’s T-R-I-A-L.

24:04 JR: And use the coupon TRIAL to give you your 14 days. And I certainly hope that you jump in and see just how valuable the content is inside. Now, as I’ve mentioned, this is our last episode for 2015. I really thank you for tuning in over the course of the year. We’re gonna be back just after the New Year. And we’re gonna be diving into a whole host of new topics in the PE technology space. Looking at things that are maybe, maybe sort of going to be popular in 2016. And I’m gonna make a few predictions about that, and I’m gonna be refining some of these other areas that have been presented throughout the last few years. So, until then, keep trucking along with your technology and PE journey. And I really look forward to getting back and speaking with you next year.

[music]

[/spp-transcript]

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[spp-transcript]

00:29 Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone, and welcome to episode number 46 of the PE Geek podcast, and as always it is an absolute pleasure to be here and I really thank you for tuning in. Now, it’s been a pretty busy last six months for me. As some of you may have known as I have mentioned here on the podcast before, I headed off on a almost six months trip around the planet, heading off towards the US first and then continuing in that easterly direction around the globe. And basically I was running workshops and presenting at conferences and so forth, and I only landed back in Australia last week.

01:08 JR: So, this is the first episode that I’ve recorded in around about six months. The previous five months worth of content that you’ve been listening to, was done all on like about a one or two day batch recording process, and yeah, it was good to be able to keep the show out, and keep the show happening for the people that are listening. I didn’t want it to stop while I was away, but it’s also good to be back and be sort of regularly releasing shows because as we know technology changes a lot, and if you record an episode five months ago, the stuff you’re talking about may not actually happen anymore. Fortunately for us, that really didn’t take place, but yeah, it’s nice to be back into the swing of things. Now a couple of things have happened since we have gotten back in the last month. We opened doors to the ConnectedPE Community. Now, if you haven’t heard about or seen what ConnectedPE is, it’s our new membership center, and it’s all revolving around professional development. So, a place where you can go to get professional development, from not just me. This is from all areas of physical education.

02:22 JR: Experts in all different fields are available inside through training, webinars, courses, and so forth, and with everything that we do you get certificates, so it’s designed to really make it easy for you to get your professional development hours up and be able to show evidence of the things that you’ve done. So if you’re listening to this podcast, there’s professional development. Well, inside of ConnectedPE, you can actually generate certificates showcasing that you’ve actually been listening. As a special gift for anyone who is a podcast listener, you can head over to the pegeek.com/trial, T-R-I-A-L, and you can trial the community for $14. Sorry, for 14 days with $1. So it will give you a chance to see exactly what’s inside there, all of the live trainings that we had and you’ll be able to join us for any future trainings within that 14-day period. So I definitely recommend you head along there and check out the 14-day trial, and if you’re already inside Connected PE, I thank you for it and we’ve got some huge things planned for it over the 2016 period.

03:35 JR: Including if you wanna come to a PE Geek workshop, ConnectedPE members get it for free. And all sorts of things along that line, so I urge you to go check it out. Now in today’s topic we’re gonna be exploring something that I happen to talk about a lot. And that is this whole notion of self directed physical education. And we’re gonna talk about what that is, why I think it’s powerful and then I’m gonna share a couple of resources and simple ways that you can get started on this whole journey of self directed physical education. As I briefly alluded to you in the introduction, self direction is definitely something that I’m quite fan of, and you would have heard me speak about before if you’ve listened to episodes on this podcast, or read stuff on the blog. But for me basically it comes down to any activity that you would do in your class, whereby the students are responsible for interpreting what is supposed to happen and then acting on whatever the task is that you’ve set, without necessarily the direct intervention or the direct instructions from you, the teacher.

04:41 JR: Now traditionally, this is being done with things like station card, and task cards, things along that lines but there’s lot of opportunities to sort of introduce technology into this sort of equation to help us with explaining the activity without us techni… Sort of needing to be there. And the reason I think this is really powerful is because a student can arrive at whatever it is that’s gonna be disseminating the information to them. They can interpret what it is that you’re trying to get them to do, and they can work through it at their own pace. And you move as the teacher from being this really… The central figure in the class who is disseminating the information and is very much one to one type relationship, to being someone who is way more leveraged. What I mean by that is if you can lay out activities which explainable by a station card or a task card then people can interpret them at their own understanding, and they can work through them at their own pace. And ultimately, it frees you up as a teacher to be more supportive.

05:56 JR: So rather than being the barrier for growth in your class, you can become this sort of supportive role which really works to sort of grow and enhance what happens. Now, I’ve had some really impressive success with self-directed activities in my PE classroom, everything right through to having kids work on, and developing their own skills without me, really having to be involved. And I mean sure, I’m involved when I set the activity up which is self directed, but once you sort of present it to the students and they have done it a few times, it becomes quite powerful, and you really start to see them being responsible for their learning.

06:40 JR: Now, after sort of using self-directed activities in the past, I really got sort of interested in bringing these to life in an app form. And you may have heard me talk about the It series of the apps before, the Balance It app, the Jump It app, Stretch It app, and Work It app. Well, basically they’re built around these whole notion of self direction. So you’ve got ‘Balance It’ which is a collection of task cards, over 60 of them, hand drawn that show students the different balance activities that they can do in singles, or individual… Sorry, partners, and groups of three, and so on. And the very notion is that they look at the task card, they would complete it, and then they work through at their own pace. But if you’ve got your whole group who’s involved in doing this activity, and you’ve got multiple devices, then you would look around the room and you would see that people are at different stages, and it’s because of this self direction that that’s possible. In the traditional sense, if it was you at the front of the classroom, and you were presenting these things one on one, and everyone would copy what you were doing, basically you’ve stunted the progression of some of the students in your group, and you’ve also made it pretty impossible for those students who are struggling to focus on that for in the time that they need because you would need to move on.

08:02 JR: So, I think self-direction works not just to engage students, but it also works to help sort of accommodate with the different levels and abilities that you have in your PE class. So ‘Balance It’ has been really popular if you head along to the blog and do a search for ‘Balance It’, you’ll see lots of different examples of schools all over the globe who are using Balance It in that exact manner. ‘Jump It’, is the same thing as ‘Balance It’ but it’s all about jump rope skills. And as you know, if you do a jump rope activity in your class, everyone is gonna have a whole enormous array of ability, and the app starts off really simple with simple skills and activities, and progresses up to being much more difficult. And because it’s self-directed, you can really accommodate the different levels of ability that come into your class. Obviously, you’ve also got ‘Stretch It’, which is again, the same concept but for stretching, and then ‘Work It’, which is the same concept but for sort of exercise. So that rounds up the It series, and I really believe that there’s lots of value in sort of piecing them together.

09:10 JR: Now, they are available on iPhone and Android, and also as a downloadable e-book so that you can just print them out and present them to your students if you don’t have devices. But if you wanna get them all in one downloadable bundle, then you can just head along to thepegeek.com/bundle, and it’ll take you to the app store where they’ve been all put in to sort of one download, and it just… Yeah. It’s substantially cheaper than buying them all individually, you get all four on your device. So that is the Balance It series, and there’s lots of possibilities there, and I love hearing about the things that people are doing with ‘Balance It’ and the ‘It’ series apps.

09:54 JR: Now, one of my other favourite ways to provide self-directed activities is during warm ups. Now obviously, as your students come into your classroom, they may get changed, or they may arrive at different speeds, and quite simply, you end up with a group of students who are probably just sitting there waiting for that last person to arrive into your class. This is a common practice in lots of classrooms, you will have students who take or need longer to get ready. And I like the self-directed tasks being made available at the very start of a session because it sort of provides a student the ability to walk in and get active straight away with the task. Now, one of the things that I’ve done to make that possible is the use of the app ‘Sworkit’. Those ‘Sworkit’ is really fantastic because it’s free, it’s available on all devices, and basically, the students will come in, they would pick up a device if they have access to one, they would pick the type of activity they wanna do, whether it’s cardio, stretching, strength, or yoga, and they would pick how long they have. And then it would present them this random collection of exercises they do. And they would participate with those, and as other students walk in, they either join that student, or they’d pick up another device and they go and do the same thing. And what you basically end up with, is students self-directing their own warm up activity.

11:20 JR: Sure, this hasn’t need to be done with tech, you could just have a white board or a chalk board with some instructions on it, and as students come in, they get straight into the activity. There’s no need for them to be waiting and just sitting there inactive for the rest of the people in their group to arrive. And so, I like to do it through technology, but you can definitely achieve the same thing without the technology. Now, ‘Sworkit’ has been great as I mentioned. There’s also Sworkit Junior if you’ve got younger kids. They are basically activities that are a little bit more age appropriate for people in elementary or younger elementary levels. If you got the older kids, then I would check out the Sworkit app and if you don’t have access to iPhones, or iPads, or androids tablets, then you might just simply wanna head along to the website Fitness Blender. Now Fitness Blender is really quite amazing, and we have spoken about it before. It’s basically a YouTube channel and there’s a husband and wife pair and they’ve basically just recorded them doing these various work out routines. Some of them are only for 10 minutes long, right up to 40 minutes long, and you can filter them by type of activity and all those sorts of exciting things.

12:35 JR: And, basically what it means is that the student can get any device. They can be connected to the internet, they can visit fitnessblender.com for free. They search for the type of activity they wanna do, and they start watching. And whether that’s a laptop or a Chrome book, or any of the sort, they would be able to follow along with what’s happening and copy the various activities and skills and ultimately they’re all working through it self directed in many ways.

13:05 JR: Another cool twist to that is… Let’s say you’ve got one student who is really motivated, or you break your students into groups of four or five, give each of those students a device, and basically they stay in their groups of five, with one student who has or is watching the various activities that are taking place on the Fitness Blender video or this Work It App, and that person becomes like the instructor.

13:37 JR: So they’re performing their skills but they’re doing so, so that the other people in their little group are following them, but really what they’re doing is the person at the front of the room as the instructor, the student who is pretending to be the instructor is watching the video and then performing the skills and the other students are watching the student who’s watching the video.

14:00 JR: And basically becomes like this personal trainer type thing, and you could have kids rotate through and put them into small peer groups and they become sort of quite inspired and motivated by this whole notion of being at the front and center and taking their peers through a workout. So really I’m encouraged and recommend that you try something of that sort. Following the sort of warm up, a number of ways that I have self directed skill development has been through things such as QR code task cards. And the QR code obviously stands for Quick Respond Code and they’re basically they’re bar codes and you can scan them. And the best part is that it let’s you basically turn any physically object into a clickable object.

14:50 JR: And what I mean by that is that when you scan the QR code which could be on a poster or on a wall, it’ll creates an action which triggers on your device. Now that action could be that when you scan the code it takes you to a YouTube clip, and when you scan the code, it reveals this hidden text message or it takes you to a website. Any of that sort of stuff would be completely up to you but if you wanted to make them, you head to qrstuff.com and you can see the whole host of choices that you’ve got there. But I like to link them to videos, and I like to link them to videos of students, or elite athletes performing a specific action. So when we were learning how to volleyball spike, rather than me being at the front of the room and showcasing the exact method for this, I went and found someone who did it better than me.

15:43 JR: And I made some QR codes, got them from the physical educator website, it’s QR codes [15:50] ____ which I’ll link to in the show notes, and stuck them around the room and when people scan them it would reveal the video, almost instantly. And meant that they could watch the video, the skill, the activity, whatever it was that we were linking to, they would go and perform it, and independently progress through those different activities that we set up. And the best part about it is when I completed this, and looked around the room, there were some students that were progressing much faster and doing some of the advanced activities and others who needed more time. And because it was self directed, it meant that that was possible. I wasn’t trying to run to an agenda of the middle ground, I was running to individual needs and abilities and that sort of self directed notion made that possible.

16:41 JR: And the really good thing about it is that my role was really freed up, you know how crazy it can be in a class of students, but it meant that I could literally walk around and I could address people one on one, and see where they’re up to, what video they’re watching. What sort of instructional tips they needed from there, and it was basically like cloning myself. And the way I achieved that was by empowering the students to be responsible for interpreting and reading the information as it came to them. Now another opportunity that you can possibly look at is linking the instructional videos, not necessarily as videos but as animated GIFs. Now I did some blog post earlier in the year which I’ll link to. One called ‘Looping Skill Demos’, and this whole notion of creating and animated GIF from a YouTube clip is quite powerful.

17:36 JR: Now if you’re unsure of what an animated GIF is, essentially they’re like the images you see all over the internet where it’s like a picture and it’s moving. Like just an image, it’s not a video but it’s just a moving picture and it repeats. And they’re usually pretty short, but they repeat over, and over, and over again. So you can very easily create an animated GIF with a website such as ‘Make GIF’ and we’ll link to it in the show notes and basically you record, say, the skill being performed that might ask for a second or two seconds and it is a GIF. And then you would link a QR code to that GIF, and there you have it. You’ve got this video, oh sorry, this image that sort of plays like a video but is actually just a picture. And becomes really easy to share, to point people to. And because it’s looping over and over, it provides more opportunity than probably a video does to sort of reflect on it and look at what needs to happen. And, again, the students could be interpreting it and performing these actions as they need. So, yeah, I highly recommend using GIFs particularly for this whole notion of self-directed activities.

18:53 JR: Now, the final area of self-directed play that I wanna talk to you about revolves around the area of game play. Now, that is whether it’s to do with sports and teaching students about a sport, or whether it’s about mind games and that sort of area. Now, an app that I’ve used in the past to help me achieve this has been CoachNote. Now, CoachNote is really amazing because what it does is it’s basically a coach’s whiteboard and if you can imagine you’ve got, say, a basketball court up on your screen, on your iPad, or on other device, and you can move players around. So, you can move them to show where they’ve run from, or where they’re running to and you can do all of those sorts of things. So, with this particular app, I have in the past actually recorded me explaining the rules of a specific game. Now, in this instance, I taught the game, Korfball, which you may have played before. It’s extraordinary. It’s a really good fun game.

19:51 JR: And I basically taught that game ahead of time on the iPad, recorded it as a video, which it can do, inside the app, and have my voice over the top. And it showed where you could run, and where you couldn’t run to in the game. And I presented that to the students with no extra support from me. And then we got started playing it. And the students had to try and interpret what was happening in the video, remember the rules, and see if we could just actually play the game. It was a really unique experience because it actually sort of ensured that they were learning them on their own sort of capacity without me directly needing to teach it. And the best part about this was that we actually did the video outside of our normal school hours. So, that was made as some sort of task they needed to complete, and then we could just get straight into the game. And, sure, there were some students that didn’t know all the rules because they weren’t quite sure what was being said in the videos, but for the most part it worked really well because we were able to actually move on much faster than if I had started the lesson having to explain some rules or objectives, or talk about some of the basic strategies. It was already done and the students had the opportunity to sort of develop that mindset on their own.

21:20 JR: Now, further to this, I did blog about some self-directed student setup of activities using the app CoachNote. And essentially what I mean by that is if you’ve got a game or an activity then you just show how that game or activity is setup, what equipment you need, where the equipment sits, and so forth. And you do it in CoachNote. And then, as the students are ready to play this activity, you just have this on the screen of your iPad, where all the information, where all the equipment needs to go, and they need to look at that, and they need to actually go and set that up in the actual physical space. And in the blog post that I mentioned it’s been really powerful to sort of sit back and see them actually build the things that we’ve been talking about. I remember the first time we ever did this. I set up this basic tag game but had some equipment, different cones and markers laid out around the room, and I just got the equipment out and I put it in the corner of our gym and on the screen of the iPad was the exact setup of how it needed to be. And as a group, they had to try and work together to set that game up within two minutes. And it meant that I didn’t have to set it up. So, it saved me time, which was good, but it also gave me an opportunity to see how they were at directing their own sort of learning. And it was a really valuable experience. I certainly try and replicate this as often as I possibly can. So, another option for you.

22:49 JR: Now, that brings us to the end of our episode number 46, looking at self-directed learning and various technological tools that you can use to make this a feature in your classroom. As I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be with technology in order for it to be self-directed. This whole notion isn’t new, but there’s obviously lots of potential leverage that can be achieved through incorporating technology and by leverage I mean being able to disseminate it across many students and without sort of having to rely on one channel being you or a book that may have the information in it. So, highly recommended, I think it’s one of my favourite models to use in a classroom for many, many reasons. It challenges students, it challenges you, takes you out of that leadership and authoritarian role, and puts you into this more supportive role, which I think is a great mindset. Now, if you have any questions, please feel free to head over to thepegeek.com/voicemail and leave a voicemail message and as I mentioned if you’d like to jump into the ConnectedPE Community and trial it for 14 days then head along to thepegeek.com/trial. That’s T-R-I-A-L.

24:04 JR: And use the coupon TRIAL to give you your 14 days. And I certainly hope that you jump in and see just how valuable the content is inside. Now, as I’ve mentioned, this is our last episode for 2015. I really thank you for tuning in over the course of the year. We’re gonna be back just after the New Year. And we’re gonna be diving into a whole host of new topics in the PE technology space. Looking at things that are maybe, maybe sort of going to be popular in 2016. And I’m gonna make a few predictions about that, and I’m gonna be refining some of these other areas that have been presented throughout the last few years. So, until then, keep trucking along with your technology and PE journey. And I really look forward to getting back and speaking with you next year.

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