Episode 75 – Why It Pays to Start Small with Adriaan Defraeije

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast we speak with Adriaan Defraeije, a Physical Education teacher working in Tokyo, Japan. Adriaan discusses his background and how this led to the fusion of technologies in Physical Education & recognition as an Apple Distinguished Educator.

Resources & topics shared in this episode include

  1. The Apple Distinguished Educator Program
  2. Clipstro & Peer Assessment
  3. Slow Motion functionality on the iPad
  4. Hudl Technique
  5. Start small using an progressive approach to scale student skills & ability with technologies

Press play to listen to the episode below or listen here. Alternatively, download a full episode transcript here


[00:00:28] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the PE Geek Podcast and as always absolute pleasure to have your company and that fact that you sit here and actually put your headphones in and whether you’re moving or traveling or studying or whatever you’re doing means a lot. Now I’m joined today by a guest from Tokyo in Adriaan Defraeije, how are you?

[00:00:50] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah very good thank you, thank you Jarrod, thanks for having me.

[00:00:52] Jarrod Robinson: Now I hear it’s a pretty exciting time for you at this particular moment, is that correct?

[00:00:57] Adriaan Defraeije: That’s correct yeah, it’s very exciting times I had with a second baby.

[00:01:02] Jarrod Robinson: Unbelievable.

[00:01:02] Adriaan Defraeije: Due to arrive in the next maybe 48 hours or so.

[00:01:06] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah now I mean you’re based in Tokyo and is that somewhere you’ve been for quite some time or judging by your accent you traveled around the world a little bit?

[00:01:17] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah this is my third year at Tokyo International School, I arrived here one year to prior that and I was then working at Bridge School of Tokyo and before that I was six years in China at the British School in Shanghai and before Shanghai I was in Tanzania in Arusha at Braeburn International School which is great and did my teaching practice in Spain but obtained my teaching certificate in Belgium.

[00:01:45] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent, yeah. So I mean this is amazing thing about teaching isn’t it, there’s this cross cultural, cross country sort of profession that we can have in. So has it always been involved in phys ed or elements of that or is that something that’s come along as the years have gone by?

[00:02:02] Adriaan Defraeije: It’s always been part of the job and I graduated at as PE teacher but also as a computer science teacher, those are the kind of two passions that I’ve managed to combine in my studies and prefer to continue in my profession and it’s a really good mix. Some years it’s more PE and then some year it’s more IT and it gives that balance, that choice also to for different jobs, different positions.

[00:02:30] Jarrod Robinson: And it sort of reignites the passion in each of the entities as well because if you have a bit of time off and you get back into you sort of get inspired, like it’s very similar to what I studied as my second method, you may not know but my second method is information technology.

[00:02:47] Adriaan Defraeije: Oh fancy that, it’s very similar.

[00:02:48] Jarrod Robinson: I did all the undergrad computer science classes, not full programing but we did have some programing elements in there and that was very much reflective of my interest in tech at that time growing up and what that means is I’m the same as you I can teach that sort of tech side and also the phys ed side and I find it really quite complementary in many ways. So I mean was tech always something that you grew up is because that led you down that path?

[00:03:18] Adriaan Defraeije: It was something that I guess was naturally, that I was going to that and enjoyed doing so when I needed to decided what is it I’m going to continue with and at uni, I wanted to do something I enjoy doing and then something that maybe gets me high paid job.

[00:03:37] Jarrod Robinson: Yes for sure, yeah.

[00:03:38] Adriaan Defraeije: And it’s kind of natural from there.

[00:03:41] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, yeah absolutely and I couldn’t agree more, it was very much a passion thing for me and although I don’t get to teach the tech part as much it’s definitely found its way infused into the phys ed world. So was that somewhere, was that something obvious for you, like obviously you have them in these discrete subjects as well but when you started using them in phys ed was it because of your passion before or for other reasons?

[00:04:09] Adriaan Defraeije: I think infusion really didn’t happen for me until, oh I’ve aged, I finished my studies in about 2005/6 right and so then the first iPhone came out around a little bit later I think, 2007 and 2008 and I think that was really where it started, technologies was a lot more mobile, a lot more accessible certainly with the apps and I think from there it grows, it’s really something that was added later on, initially they were really two different things and it was really nice to have those two separate things and then the more I go into PE the more IT comes in, but I wonder sometimes how it’d be the other way around. I think it’s harder to infuse the PE into the IT as a coding thing and yeah so that’s how going to started.

[00:05:00] Jarrod Robinson: For sure, I think back to a placement that I went on, a teaching placement and we had to teach computer science to a group of like thirteen/fourteen year olds and we had to do it without computers and which I thought was just, because the computer room was not available at the time and this is pre laptop/mobile days, it was computer labs and we couldn’t get access to them, so being a phys ed teacher I was like how can I teach the concept, do you remember the programing language Logo and you had to use a little turtle and manipulate it?

[00:05:38] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah.

[00:05:38] Jarrod Robinson: We basically used that to create a phys ed style game and it wasn’t the greatest of things that we’d achieve but you’re right, it’s much more difficult to go back the other way trying to implement phys ed into tech but yeah I mean along the way it seems like you’ve done some really good things with technology infused in phys ed and that’s led you down to becoming an Apple distinguished educator, what’s that all about?

[00:06:05] Adriaan Defraeije: Well it’s, I guess it’s a recognition by Apple that showing and saying that you’re doing some really nice things with technology, trying to do new things and to develop, to enhance learning with technology and as it’s an Apple Distinguished Educator title.

We use a lot of, we’re an one to one school and we have a lot of iPads so we use a lot of the Apple tools in order to transform the learning that we do in a lot of different areas in school and it’s one of these things that enables you, the great thing about the ADE, that’s what it’s called, is that you get access to do all these other phenomenal people that are Apple Distinguished Educators and there is a website on the Apple website like a forum and where you interact with thousands of other ADEs and so simply you have access to all these fantastic minds of which I’m not one of them but it’s and it’s the great thing about this, it’s natural group really cool teachers that do incredible things.

[00:07:17] Jarrod Robinson: So did you put your hand up and for one of the enrollment cycles a few years ago or how does that whole process work because people listening they may have not heard of Apple Distinguished Education program and it might be something that they’re intrigued in.

[00:07:32] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah so every two years there is a, the new enrollment and the upcoming enrollment will most likely be starting around December with a deadline to submit most often it is video that shows how you transform the learning in your classroom with Apple technology so you submit the video on the Apple app site there’s a particular dedicated page to that on the Apple website and then from there you answer a few questions is all, you wait a couple of months and then you, yeah fingers crossed to getting the email to say that you’ve been selected for the program.

[00:08:12] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah that’s really good.

[00:08:14] Adriaan Defraeije: So that’s [00:08:14] (unclear). And then what we’ve just actually accomplished now, after this is being last week we received an email and we did a similar process with the whole school and so now we’ve become an Apple Distinguished School and that’s another every two years cycle and whirlwind for people who are interested in that.

[00:08:38] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent and then again I mean obviously that comes with the recognition that goes with it and it’s quite an attractive thing for promotion to people coming to schools in this modern day age I think it’s quite important that those things are set in motion. So obviously the Apple platforms had a bit of a role in your phys ed space and the thing that got me wanting to interview you in this episode was I think one of the best examples of a use of a particular app called Clipstro that I’ve ever seen and for anyone listening if you’ve never seen Clipstro it’s basically, what would you say, it’s a camera app that allows you to take a strobe like effect and you’ve been using it really well in what was the unit that you had it, the students using it for?

[00:09:27] Adriaan Defraeije: It was high jump unit and it’s called flying piper yeah.

[00:09:32] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, yup and they basically had to do what with it, they, because what I saw on the internet was just mind blowing.

[00:09:40] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah actually Jarrod that was, I think you’re, I’m talking about two different things here and so the first one, the one I think you talked about is the one with the javelin.

[00:09:50] Jarrod Robinson: Oh yes, the javelin.

[00:09:51] Adriaan Defraeije: And that was the first one, yeah not the high jump. But it’s where we, we work in an IB school and I often use it in my middle school classes where we do the MIP and in the MIP one of the criteria is that students need to analyze and summarize a performance and so in order for our students to really see a performance in the past they used to have camera with a high frequency shutter speed and take little pictures and I had the kids on Photoshop put it all together in different layers and it took them two hours.

This year I started looking at maybe a faster way because there’s that balance between how much time you put in and how much do you get out and it was a bit unbalanced and so I found this app and it’s gun sequence shot that it takes and very clearly showing exactly what is happening at very short intervals and then together with a rubric that the students created as well it just enabled the student to really summarize the performance much better than what we were able to do before.

[00:11:05] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah and I mean just you’re right, there’s, the benefit of doing something, it can be lost sometimes to how long that thing takes to be done and they’re just testament to this. I’m assuming they captured the javelin run up and release and the approach and then virtually had the completed product straight away, is that how it sort of worked?

[00:11:27] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah it’s a thirty second affair compared to almost a three day affair because they had to watch the video tutorial that I had made in YouTube before and all the challenges that came with it. So there’s this app that’s and it’s just a really cool app to see I mean the way it works. There’s a few things you have to kind of make sure you do in order for it to work well, but yeah it’s brilliant.

[00:11:56] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah so I mean if you wanted to have a look at this app in question you could head over to the pegeek.com/clipstro which is C-L-I-P-S-T-R-O  and you’ll find the blog post where we embedded the picture that was taken that really peaked my interest and I know you actually married it up with a rubric which I think is quite cool because a lot of educators might just take some snapshots and then basically show it, just for motivational reasons or just because they find it interesting but you actually married it up with assessment and I think it made really a lot of sense. So the approach phase, the drive, release and recovery and the image basically helped them identify that so what did they have to do? Did they mark themselves or did they work with a peer?

[00:12:43] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah so there was a peer coaching task, so it was a pre-assessment and then they analyzed the video, made a summery and then they had to set specific goals that they were going to try and work on with their athletes and [00:13:00] (unclear) students and then after we did a similar assessment and then we could compare and it was really obvious that our, the coaching had had impact or not. It is that powerful.

[00:13:11] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, yes and that’s the cool part about technology and that we can actually show the evidence of those things rather than assume it which I think for many years I’ve been victim of just making these assumptions based on not much and I think technology can have a massive role there. So I mean that’s a great example. Is there anything else that you’ve been playing around with over the years in terms of an app or a website, resource, etc. that you’re quite fond of as well?

[00:13:41] Adriaan Defraeije: Look, I think for me it’s all about feedback and understanding and one of the most powerful things for movement is really, is the slow mo, the most simple function, that even slow mo function on the regular iPads. If you show kids what they do themselves they get to learn so much quicker. That’s one thing that I think it’s free if you have an iPad and it’s really efficient for the kids to use again in combination with rubric, it really helps develop and understanding of their own movement.

Another thing is huddle technique which is brilliant I think, might have taken that from you from one of your conferences actually. It’s a tool that enables you to very quickly and annotate and if you do a snippet you can narrate over it, you can draw arrows and for kids to again look at it and highlight their own and things that they need to improve in or things that they are doing well, it’s very powerful.

[00:14:50] Jarrod Robinson: For sure, it just always makes me think about where we were. I remember doing some stuff like that back at university, some video analysis tasks, did you ever do anything like that?

[00:15:00] Adriaan Defraeije: No.

[00:15:01] Jarrod Robinson: We did it as part of sport science and it was so convoluted and just like it just again took away from the reason why we’re doing it which is the opposite of why we want to be doing these things. So I think they’re really powerful and anything that gives feedback sort of then and there is just going to be successful.

[00:15:20] Adriaan Defraeije: I mean if you remember what you needed in order, in terms of hard drive in order to do a computer analysis.

[00:15:25] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah we had a full on video camera. So not connected to a computer, it connected via FireWire if anybody remembers that and it was into a computer that had this funny USB authorization thing that you had to plug in and the software was a couple of grand and it was just, from getting a video recorded to actually then being able to see it was a half an hour sort of process and you just lost all of the timeliness about the feedback and why it was useful and it just took you out of the reason why you were there in the first place and yeah it really didn’t sell me on tech at all but then yeah things like huddle technique come out, they’re free, you can record and do it immediately, you can do it whether you’re a mom and you’re sitting at a basketball game of your kid or whether you’re like us a phys ed teacher. It’s just no limits. So yeah absolutely love it, absolutely love it.

I think feedback’s the key, anything that speeds that up. So along the way, like me I’m assuming you’ve made mistakes because I’ve made lots when it comes to using technology. I’d say one of the biggest things I’ve done is assuming that if it’s just tech based maybe the kids would like it or prefer it more and maybe I’ve thrown in something that doesn’t need to be there, that’s probably a common issue that I’ve made along the years. So what about yourself? Is there anything that comes to mind that sticks out as something that didn’t work so well.

[00:16:48] Adriaan Defraeije: I think one example was with huddle technique actually where I had a whole project planned where I wanted the kids to analyze a game play and I introduced the game straight away or the exercise straight away and then they had to use this app which was brand new to them and maybe my expectations were too high but although they knew apps and the kids still need time to get to know their new environment and so we ended up losing quite a lot of time because the kids just couldn’t use the app.

That was quite a good lesson for me to realize that okay you use a more complex that’s more than just taking a picture, I need to progressively introduce the application maybe in previous units before I can really use it for a full summative assessment. So that was really something that I’ve noticed that be careful in straight away trying something big with new technology as in start small and do the little bits first and if that goes well take the next step.

[00:18:02] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah I mean it’s this, it’s something that is really easy to do because you like yourself we connected through social channels and so on and you see what someone’s done but you don’t have the context about where they’ve progressed from that, they may have had some upskilling taking place with their students because I know I’ve been the same, I’ve ended up spending more time teaching the tool than the actual what we were trying to do it for. So I think that’s really good advice to start small.

[00:18:30] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah, yeah and there’s also the reliability right of especially the internet. We are, Google, a Google school as well so sometimes just the internet doesn’t quite work as you want to and then if you’ve planned a whole lesson and I think in the past I kind of tried to push through, it’s going to work but I think I’ve learned to, if it doesn’t work after a few minutes just abandon and try again later on rather than to keep pushing through because you end up losing really valuable time with the kids. I think that’s something else that I’ve learned along the way is to, it’s okay to try again.

[00:19:13] Jarrod Robinson: And I think yeah, I think it’s okay to make mistakes too and I think you’d be a testament to that, I would be and anyone who’s playing with this space of technology. Things are going to go wrong, things aren’t going to work all the time, but I reckon it really does model and I said it a lot on this podcast, it models what real learning is, we shouldn’t be afraid to make these mistakes and then come back and reintroduce it with some changes because ultimately that’s what we’re doing, or trying to get our students to do. I love it. So you’ve been a big connector online and where did that sort of start for you?

[00:19:51] Adriaan Defraeije: It started, coming to be honest, it started on learning 2.0 back in 2010 in Shanghai and it was I think I was part of the committee, we helped organize the event back then and I think you did one of the talks there and–

[00:20:13] Jarrod Robinson: 2011 I think I was there.

[00:20:15] Adriaan Defraeije: Oh 2011, yeah it could be.

[00:20:17] Jarrod Robinson: I think so, one of those, maybe, maybe.

[00:20:19] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah one of those and yeah from there it was like alright there is more to it, social media, there was a talk then from guys that were on Twitter and China I had been there for so long, it was really we were a bit shielded from it all with the great firewall but in moving out of China into Japan it really started there and I’m in a department where I’m the only middle school teacher and so having found the online community of PE teachers been tremendously useful for me where I can bounce off ideas and get new ideas. I’ve had so many positive experiences from that Twitter community and [00:21:06] (unclear) community. It’s been great.

[00:21:08] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah and I think you’ve, I think the reason why I valued it too like small school first year out in a small school and you know you’re craving to learn as much as you possibly can but you can’t always learn from the people around you and when you get to cast that net a little wider it’s just magical. So if you are listening and you haven’t signed up I know I encourage you a lot to do that but head over to the 14daytwitterchallenge.com and you’ll find a fourteen day guide to getting started on Twitter and connecting. So where can people find out more about you in terms of your social networks and where can they connect with you?

[00:21:45] Adriaan Defraeije: Well I’m on Twitter on @aDefraeije that’s on Twitter it’s my handle. I have a blog as well, adriaandefraeije.com and so yeah we’re very active as well, or trying to productive as well in the MIP physical and health education Facebook groups if people want to connect stop by that, more than welcome to anytime.

[00:22:13] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent, yeah I mean it’s one of these days where we’ve got so many different ways to connect with people often so if you want to connect with someone you can probably find a way to do it. So I guess the answer is find the medium that you enjoy, whether that’s Twitter like myself or I know a lot of people are fond of Voxer these days, whatever it happens to be just embrace that want and try and, you don’t have to be in all the platforms I think that’s a recipe for disaster at times but find the one that’s benefiting to you. So I want to thank you for stopping by and yeah look forward to seeing all the stuff that you continue to do.

[00:22:50] Adriaan Defraeije: Yeah thanks Jarrod, it’s an absolute pleasure.

[00:22:52] Jarrod Robinson: You’re welcome, speak soon.

[00:22:55] Adriaan Defraeije: Bye.

[00:22:56] Jarrod Robinson: Awesome man.


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