Episode 57 – The A-Z of PE Apps

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast, I set myself a challenge to come up with a list of apps that follow alphabetical order, selecting only one app from each letter.  The process of compiling the list proved to be difficult, as many share the same starting letters, ultimately resulting in a need to select one between many favourites.

So what criteria did I use?

  1. They needed to be Apps that I personally have used and found value with.
  2. They could be either teacher use/efficiency tools
  3. They could be tools to help you achieve something you couldn’t do without it
  4. They could be student/teacher resource based tools
  5. They could be student focused and help students create or reconstruct meaning in different forms
  6. They could be teacher professional learning aides

See the complete list of apps shared below

  1. Anatomy 4D
  2. BaM Video Delay
  3. CoachNote
  4. Decide Now
  5. Easy Portfolio
  6. Fit Radio
  7. Group Games
  8. Hudl Technique
  9. iDoceo
  10. Jump It
  11. Kahoot
  12. Living Lung
  13. My Jump
  14. Nearpod
  15. Overcast
  16. Polar Team
  17. Qrafter
  18. RaceSplitter
  19. Seconds Pro
  20. Team Shake
  21. Unique Trainer
  22. Video Tagger
  23. Work It
  24. Xender File Transfer
  25. Yoga Studio
  26. Zombies, Run

Press Play below to listen. Alternatively, download a full episode transcript here


00:30 Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone, and welcome to episode number 57 of the PE Geek podcast, and as always thank you for tuning in. Now, in today’s episode I’ve set myself a little bit of a personal challenge to give you the A to Z of PE apps, and I mean that quite literally. What I’ve done is I’ve gone and got a piece of paper, and I’ve listed out all of the letters of the alphabet, A right through to Z, and the challenge was to assign an app that began with that particular letter and go through the entire alphabet and present to you the list of apps that are in that order. Now, it’s been quite challenging because a number of apps all share the same starting letter, and it’s been difficult for me to sort of validate and pick which ones I would share ahead of others.

01:22 JR: The letter B, for example, is quite popular, and I’ve done it. I’ve come up with the list. These are all apps that I see value in, I see teachers using, they’re either things that can assist you the teacher just to be more efficient and effective, they’re tools that you can use with a student or sort of anywhere between that. Skill based apps, so apps that help you to recall information and so on, there’s some of those in there. There’s some content based apps and things that you can use to teach content or help people research and so forth. And then there’re a lot of function based apps, apps that do something that help students take some information they have and turn it into something different. So going to go through list, and you can definitely get a list of all of these different apps in a PDF form over at the PE Geek/57 where you can download also a full episode transcript as well. Okay, let’s do it.

02:21 JR: Now, kicking us off at the very start is letter A obviously, and we’re gonna pick Anatomy 4D. Now you have heard me speak about this on numerous occasions. It’s a fantastic app as that introductory activity for teaching any sort of anatomy base concept. You’re talking about the circulatory system or any of the other systems of the body. Essentially you print out the pieces of paper which are inside of the app and you hand them out and put them around a physical room, and then when you look at the app, you get to look through the camera and you point it at that piece of paper, and basically it brings to life the human body. It’s an example of augmented reality where the actual image gets overlaid over the top of the piece of paper, and what it looks like is it looks like the piece of paper has come to life, and you get to sort of treat it as if it was a real cadaver or a real human heart sitting on the piece of paper in a sort of three dimensional plane. It’s really amazing, and you can sort of treat it like a real organ or a real human, and you get to sort of zoom in and see different perspectives. It’s always an absolute hit with my students and with teachers when I show them in the PE Geek workshops. That’s letter A.

03:39 JR: Letter B was probably, like I said, one of the most difficult to do, there’s so many apps that start with B, but I’m gonna go for BaM Video Delay. It’s no secret here, I absolutely love it. It’s so powerful. It’s just an example of what happens when technology moves ahead and you’re able to do things that you couldn’t do previously. So BaM Video Delay enables you to do up to two minutes of live video delay so that you can be recording and simultaneously showing what’s taking place on a mobile device, and that means that a student can, say, do a high jump, and they can get back to where the iPad is, and they can see their jump, and basically because the showing of that video footage is set to a delay and you can do that anywhere from 0.25 seconds all the way up to two minutes delay which gives you an amazing capacity to sort of present feedback to yourself or to your students. Absolute game changer.

04:37 JR: Letter C is, without a doubt, one of the most useful little apps, but I think it has a name that probably doesn’t resonate quite as well as I think based on the features that it lets you do, and that is Coach Note. Coach Note sounds like you have to be a coach to use it, but it’s so much more than that. Essentially it’s a white board drawing tool where you can draw on the screen, and you can move players around, and it gives you all the different sports, and I mean hundreds of different sports that you can pick as in the actual diagrams or the court dimensions. So you open up a court and then you can place players or virtual players on the field. You can move them around and show where they need to go. So if you’re teaching tactics or strategies this is ideal, but for me I often use it to leave lessons for replacement teachers or CIT teachers so that they know exactly how I wanna set up a game. So Coach Note is amazing, I’ve also used it to help explain rules and regulations of games that students have yet to play, and then you can give them the video of those rules ahead of time so that you can spend more time playing the game. So Coach Note is amazing.

05:51 JR: Now on to D. Now, this was difficult because it had a couple in here that I could’ve chosen, but I’ve gone with Decide Now. Now, Decide Now is not necessarily just a PE app. It’s very wide and open, but it’s essentially like a spinner, and you put different options on the spinner board and you can customise them to suit. And then when you spin the spinner, it basically just picks one option. Now, the thing I like about it is that there’s been some really creative teachers using it to create random exercise draws where they spin it and… Spin the spinner and a random exercise will come up, then the students perform it. So there’s a lot of different ways that you can use this random feature in a PE setting. You can have kids names. You can have activities again. And it’s just a bit of fun, and it sort of is a tool that you can use to introduce a bit of the unknown into your classroom.

06:47 JR: Now letter E. I went to Easy Portfolio for this. Now, Easy Portfolio is one of my apps, built it many years ago to make portfolio creation really quite simple. And the reason I still pick it even though there’s some really impressive portfolio apps out these days is because it’s all about offline portfolio creation. So there’s a number of teachers that I work with all over the planet, and the notion of storing files immediately to cloud devices and servers and so on really does not apply to everyone. Some people… Their schools and systems where they just won’t do that. I don’t agree with that, I think you should be able to use a cloud tool, but I’m realistic in that not every teacher is in the capacity to do so. So Easy Portfolio is for that purpose. You can take photos or videos or picture, etcetera, documents, web links, and you can store them against specific students’ names. And then over time you build up this nice library of stuff that they’ve done. So that’s Easy Portfolio.

07:47 JR: The next one, the letter F, would be Fit Radio, and I commonly get asked about music for classes. What do I recommend? Can it be clean language and all that sort of stuff. And I can’t go past Fit Radio these days. Fit Radio is a free app, you download it, you click start, and you get this DJ mixed music which is all about getting people moving and active. And it’s appropriate for activity. It’s the right sort of tempo, and it’s sort of fantastic. And inside of there, there’s actually a brand new phys-ed channel which is curated for phys-ed teachers. So it’s a one-stop shop for plugging in your iPad, iPhone, Android device into a set of speakers and hitting the channel and off you go. If you’re worried about language, then you just need to turn the setting on to make sure that it just uses clean language, and you never have to worry about that. So great thing, don’t have to pick songs; it just plays them for you and you know that you’ve always got music there to suit.

08:51 JR: Now, we’re on to letter G, and I’ve gone and picked Group Games. This is an app that I built. Essentially it’s all about doing little activities or games that you can play in groups that don’t really use equipment. So it’s little brain break activities or ice-breakers or team based challenges, things of that nature. Not necessarily phys-ed games of… Phys-ed type games, but I’ve used them in PE settings to sort of showcase and teach those important skills that are often sometimes hard to definitely set up. So Group Games is fun. It’s also been good if you’ve got a group of students, and you’ve got 20 minutes of spare time, and you haven’t got equipment to go out and get stuff. And you can just look at the app, find some really quick games that you can play then and there, instantly almost, and you know that the kids are going to enjoy it.

09:41 JR: Now, for letter H, we couldn’t go past Hudl Technique. Now, Hudl Technique used to be known as Ubersense, and it’s a video analysis app that lets you compare people side by side, you can draw on the video, you can measure angles, and so on. So it’s really quite powerful for people looking at biomechanics or high level coaching of students or athletes, etcetera. If you’re in a younger PE setting, then you can have kids compare themselves pre and post and talk about how they’ve improved in whatever it is that you’re looking at.

10:22 JR: Get us to I, and I’m gonna look at iDoceo. IDoceo is a teacher’s assistant essentially, and it’s a great iPad app that basically you can do your marking and attendance on, you can do lesson planning, you can do documentation and record keeping. Pretty much everything you would want from applications of that nature in a classroom you can get inside of iDoceo. So it’s an amazing app. You can do all your assessment in it. It’s definitely a one-stop shop. Bit of a learning curve, but for those people that spend that time to get it set up and so on, they just absolutely love it.

11:00 JR: Now for J I’ve picked Jump It. Now, Jump It is an application that I built a couple of years ago, and it’s absolutely phenomenal to see teachers all over the planet using it in their classroom. Now, Jump It stands for basically jump rope activities. It’s a collection of task cards that you can use with your students. Basically they get the application, and they progress through the different jump rope activities in difficulty, and they get harder as they go. And they are designed to, once they have completed the activity, and they’ve interpreted what it’s telling them to do, they can take a picture of it and share it with the rest of the people using the app. So Jump It’s been great. A lot of teachers who’ve just got maybe one device and they’re projecting the different images up onto the screen and then having the students work through them, so it’s a great self-directed approach.

11:53 JR: For K, I’ve picked Kahoot! . Now, Kahoot! Is a quiz-based activity that’s sort of like Play Station for your classroom. It’s absolutely amazing how engaging this can be when you’re trying to get kids to revise for any theoretical aspects to a course that you might teach. I see my students using it and just absolutely loving every second of the time we spend in Kahoot! , so essentially the teacher runs a quiz running Kahoot, completely free service. You can just pick from the millions of quizzes that are already made or you can make your own. The students then, on their screen or on their device, they visit the specific web URL which is unique to that room that you’ve just set up, and they get going. And the questions come up on the screen, and the students respond on their devices. And the net result is an absolute, absolute over-enthusiastic group of students responding, and it’s got a leader board, and you can see who’s moving up and down, and the faster you respond the more points you get. It’s absolutely great for those lesson finishes or trying to capture initial understanding on a topic. Amazing stuff.

13:06 JR: Now for L, I’ve picked Living Lung. So Living Lung is very cool because it’s sort of like Anatomy 4D in that it’s for teaching the initial aspects of anatomy. In this case, it’s the lung. And Living Lung, it’s basically just a diagram that you can view in 3D, and you can change the breathing rate, and you can see sort of what’s happening in the body related to breathing. So cool little hook for what would then lead to more in depth anatomy lessons.

13:35 JR: I’m gonna go with My Jump for M. So My Jump is an application which has been created to enable you to do and conduct the vertical jump test using nothing more than your iPad or your iPhone, and it does it with scientific level accuracy. So the people who built that app actually did so in sort of a study to see how it could translate into accurate results, and they managed to make it happen. So essentially what you do is you open the app, and it guides you through filming someone jumping, so you have to watch their feet in the air, and you watch them jump, you record that part, their feet only really, and you mark when they leave the ground, and you mark when they land on the ground on the video, and it’ll tell you exactly how high they jumped. And it uses some mathematic calculations to determine the amount of flight time and what that equates to in terms of vertical jump. So really cool stuff. If you haven’t got a place to do vertical jumps, then you’re gonna really appreciate that.

14:36 JR: Next on the list I would have Nearpod. So Nearpod is a presentation tool for teachers with more assessment based stuff included in it. But imagine you’ve got a classroom scenario where you’ve got more than one device or more than one iPad or tablet, etcetera. You can push your presentation out to every kid’s device so that they can see on their screen what you see. So really cool, amazing little tool.

15:00 JR: Next on the list, I’m gonna pick Overcast. Now Overcast is the podcasting application that I use to consume the podcasts that I listen to. So I listen to other Phys Ed podcasts through Overcast. I listen to other podcasts that I have, interesting like the Tim Ferris show and so on. And the cool part about overcast is it lets you actually use smart speed increase, and what that means is if the application recognises a gap like say this… In the podcast, so if there’s a short little gap, it will basically skip through that gap so you end up actually being able to listen to podcasts much faster. Really amazing, it has push notifications so that you know when new episodes come out. It’s absolutely, without a doubt, my favourite podcasting platform.

15:52 JR: Now for P, I’ve picked Polar Team. Now, Polar Team is useful for people who have the Polar H7 heart rate monitors. When you’ve connected those to a student or a class of students, up to 40 of them, and you open the Polar Team app, then you can actually see on the device all the heart rates happening at once with your students, and it gives you the capacity to track each student’s heart rate, see what they’re doing. And this is amazing, so I use if for senior Phys Ed. Here in Australia we do very high level Phys Ed which is anatomy and physiology and exercise science based, and it enables us to look at things like energy systems and contributions of energy systems. We can record the results and share with the students how much time they spend in each zone and dig deep into that data. I know other teachers use it to give students an idea of how hard they’re working during fitness based activities. It’s really cool. So it’s called Polar Team, but you do need the Polar H7 devices for that.

16:57 JR: For Q, I’ve gone with Qrafter so Q-R-A-F-T-E-R. It’s a QR code scanning application. Sure, there’s lots of QR code scanning applications. This is one of the best. Obviously, it lets you scan QR codes, and store where you’ve scanned them previously, go off to the websites that they link to, and so on.

17:16 JR: For R, I’m gonna pick Race Splitter. So Race Splitter is an application which you can use to do timing for cross country or triathlon based events. It’s really powerful because up until using Race Splitter in our school when we did our cross country meets we would have to have multiple stop watches for each different race, but with Race Splitter we put all the kids in, we say what races they’re in and what times those races are, and then we just set the kids off, and we can time everyone from one device. It’s really amazing. The results get pushed up to the internet live, and anyone from anywhere can follow along with their results as soon as we tap the kid’s name and then say that they’ve finished. So yeah, Race Splitter.

18:03 JR: For S, I’ve gone with Seconds Pro. Now, Seconds Pro is an interval timer, and it is by far the best interval timer that you can possibly have. So you can create different timers for different situations, everything from Tabata workouts to just straight warm-ups. It’s really simple because you set how much time for warm-up periods and work periods and rest periods, and then all you see is this nice, beautiful clock that counts down and sort of lets you know what it is that you’re going to be doing at each stage. You can also compare or add music to those particular warm-ups so that when the music is on and off, it gives you a bit of an idea. So it takes a little bit to sort of get the hang of how Seconds Pro works, but once you’ve sorta set up your different timers, then I believe it’s so much more valuable in a PE setting than you walking around with a stopwatch or looking at your watch because you got to try and keep track of that and 65 other things in your class. So this sort of lets you automate it and forget about it so that you can focus on what really matters. So that’s Seconds Pro.

19:10 JR: Now for T, it’s no surprise here, I’ve picked Team Shake. Now, Team Shake is simple. It’s a teacher tool that lets you create teams instantly by shaking your device. You put your list or your class list in, and you rate the students on their ability, so you can say that they’re either weak, strong, strongest, etcetera, and basically when you shake the device, it puts them in even teams based on the ratings and so on that you’ve given specific students. So I guess the power in this app is you can create teams instantly without having to stand there and manually do it, but it also has the benefit of being able to do it so that you end up with the students who work best together and all those sorts of things. So it’s got both benefits of different ways to pick, so completely random, that’s good, but if you do completely random with any other sort of device, then you can probably get teams that are uneven, you can get all boys, all girls. If you want a bit more control over that, then this is what the app lets you do. So it has both benefits of doing it quickly, but also having a little bit of selection criteria as to why certain people can or can not work together. So Team Shake.

20:23 JR: Now for U, I am going to go no further than picking the app called Unique Trainer. So Unique Trainer is a cool little application that basically lets you conduct a series of different work-outs and so on, all from your device, but I like the fact that it takes you through a series of tests. So I did this personally the other day for my own fitness activities, and all it did is it took me through a series of different tests that you can conduct from your device without any equipment, and from that it then produced a set of workouts that you can do that match your level of fitness. So I liked it because it broke them up into fitness components so that you could focus in on specific things that are sort of unique to you. And the other cool part about it is that it sort of brings in fit-spiration, so different little quotes and so on from sources to motivate you to get active and so on, and it sort of presents those in this really nice imagery. So that’s called Unique Trainer, and you basically don’t need anything to conduct the different warm-ups and activities that it produces.

21:34 JR: Now for V, I’ve selected Video Tagger. Now, Video Tagger is one of my apps. I built it based on my desire and my needs in a PE setting. Many years ago, I used to sit there and record students performing activities, like on a camera, and I’d film them in the final week, and then I would spend the next week sort of piecing together this highlight clip and highlight reel. And I spent hours doing this. It would take me so long. And the students loved it, but the benefit of it was probably not worth the amount of time that I spent to do it.

22:06 JR: So Video Tagger lets me tag a performance of students as things happen. So basically you create six tags, and it’s basically the six describing words of what you’re trying to actually observe during the performance. And then you start recording and you look through the camera, and overlaying over the top of the screen there’s those six words, and when you see whatever it is that takes place, whatever the student is doing, so let’s say they’re doing a basketball free throw, you would tap the free throw tag, and what it does is it stores just the free throw in a clip on its own. So when you finish recording, it’ll assemble all of the same skills or the same tags together, and you just get to watch back the highlights rather than having to focus in on the entire clip and forwarding it to the 40-second mark where this thing happened or that thing happened. It just makes a highlight reel for you automatically, without you doing anything more than just tapping the screen when certain things occur.

23:09 JR: For W, I’ve picked Work-It. So you would have noticed before I spoke about Jump It. Well, Work It is the same thing. It’s a collection of task cards in app form, but it’s all about different warm-up or exercise skills, so things like sit-ups and push-ups and different things like that. You can basically start the activity and work through it and get warmed up or get moving with students picking the activities that suit them. So, Work It for W.

23:37 JR: Now for X, I’ve gone Xender File Transfer, and that’s X-E-N-D-E-R. Xender File Transfer is exactly what the name sounds. It lets you transfer all sorts of files between your iPhone or iPad, so you’ve got a colleague, you want to get a video to them, you can send it through Xender. If you’ve got a heap of files and photos and so on and videos on your phone, one of the most annoying things you can do is have to plug it in and connect it to get those files off, but with Xender File Transfer, all you need to do is go to your web browser and type in a IP address that the app gives you, and then you can download your files and photos and videos without needing to actually use a cord, and it’s much faster. Sure, you can upload files and photos and videos and so on to cloud based tools, but then you’re gonna need an internet connection and reliable upload speed, but with this, it doesn’t use internet, it just uses the Wi-Fi network to make that happen, and it’s super quick to put gigs and gigs of files onto your iPod, or off your iPad. Whatever you need to do, Xender File Transfer will make it happen.

24:42 JR: Now, onto Y, I’ve picked Yoga Studio. Now, this is an absolute no-brainer for why Yoga Studio is like having a professional yoga instructor on an iPad. Now, for me, I had a group of students that wanted to do yoga multiple times. I couldn’t teach it, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But with Yoga Studio, I can connect it to a nice big screen, and I can hit play and pick the different categories, whether they’re beginners, or intermediate, or whatever, and follow through with the amazing yoga activities that get presented to me. And all I need to do is assist the students one-on-one, or better yet, model what’s actually happening by joining in. And every time that I’ve done that, we’ve had tremendous lessons, focusing in on these different skills that I don’t even have, and Yoga Studio has been a big part of that.

25:33 JR: And the last one for Z is Zombies Run. Now, Zombies Run is… We’ve spoken about it before. It’s a nice way to game your physical activity. So, basically you put your phone and your headphones in, and you hit play, and you get set in this post-apocalyptic world where zombies are in-charge, and you have to run away from them. So, you hear the story through your headphones, and you’ve gotta run, and every now and then you’re gonna get chased by the zombie horde, and you can hear them getting closer, then closer and closer. And if you stop, then they will consume you, and you’ll lose, and you’ll have to start the mission again. But, if not, then you will pass the mission, and you will collect the supplies, and you’ll do whatever it is that you’re meant to do, and you’ll get to continue. So if you want to go for a run or go for a walk or a ride, and you wanna make it a little bit more exciting and sort of do interval training in disguise, then Zombies Run is for you. It’s an absolute amazingly fun tool.

26:38 JR: So, there you are. There’s the A to Z of PE apps. Bit of a challenge for me, hopefully useful to you. Like I said, I’ve picked things that I’ve actually used or know that teachers use in PE settings, whether it’s for that initial hook in an anatomy lesson, or whether it’s for helping you do something like picking teams which is a cumbersome and time-consuming process, or whether it’s an actual student tool, something that they can use to build and showcase their knowledge of a particular area, then these tools are definitely gonna fit that need.

27:15 JR: So, I’m gonna try and do it again for part 2 later on in the year, and we’ll start another A to Z of PE apps, but until then, if you have any questions, then head over to the blog at thepegeek.com, and you can get all of the episode notes as well as the PDF of different apps and so on that I’ve mentioned today, over at thepegeek.com/57. See you later.



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