Episode 79 – Talking Advocacy & Transparency with Andy Hair

In  this episode of the PE Geek Podcast we speak with none other than Andy Hair, a passionate Physical Educator from Victoria Australia. Throughout the episode we touch on the importance of providing transparency in all that we do and how Andy has achieved this with the use of tools like Persiscope, Blogs & Photography. We also touch on the power of a growth mindset & how today’s teachers can get involved in a variety of conversations on social media.


  1. Why I Teach PE
  2. Mini Mudda
  3. Periscope & LIVE Steaming in PE
  4. Spikeball
  5. AussiePhysed & Growth Mindset
  6. Follow Andy on Twitter

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


[00:00:25] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the PE Geek Podcast, episode number 79. Now I’m joined today by another phys ed teacher who’s doing excellent things in their classroom and more importantly just open to sharing beyond their class to everyone around the globe none other than Andy Hair, welcome to the show.

[00:00:44] Andy Hair: Hey Mr. Robinson what is going on?

[00:00:47] Jarrod Robinson: Well I mean it’s the end of the year for us obviously as we record this but exciting times and I’m really excited to have you on the show and hear about your journey with tech in the phys ed space but for all the listeners that may not know about where you teach where exactly are you based?

[00:01:04] Andy Hair: Sure currently my role is a physical education coach based in Geelong for the University of Canberra.

[00:01:13] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent stuff and I mean previously you’ve been working in a whole wide variety of schools in around what part of Australia?

[00:01:22] Andy Hair: Yeah so Geelong was my home so I spent 20 years down there teaching physical education and then this year just needed a gap year so went up to Werribee just to get into myself a very multi-cultural environment to expand the knowledge bank and expand the love of physical education.

[00:01:45] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, perfect. So does this love for you, did it map back to your childhood like do you have those fond memories of yourself being involved in sport and phys ed and etc.?

[00:01:55] Andy Hair: Yeah I wrote an article last year for ACHPER and it was all around my love for physical education where it started and my earliest memory is of a insane PE teacher by the name of Dale Constable and I lived in a place called Moriac which is about ten minutes from sort of Anglesea-Torquay way right on the surf. And this guy Dale Constable would rock up in his combi van with his surf boards on the roof, bare feet out of the combi van dusting the sand off his shoes, sand off his feet and then stepping into his running shoes to inspire us to have fun and just that whole intake of physical activity.

And it was then, they were the really addictive moments I think of physical education. I think subconsciously it was something that I was destined to always be involved in. But it’s that flow on of inspiration that really enraptured me.

[00:02:57] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, it’s interesting isn’t. We share many similar paths having that person to inspire us. And I know you personally are really quite and advocate for physical literacy but not just in traditional senses. I mean you’ve done a lot of things over the years of kids being involved in physical activity in some less traditional activities like the mud run activity that you set up. Do you want to explain what that was all about?

[00:03:22] Andy Hair: Yeah so it was just a modified version of a tough mudder. We wanted really something to change the way we raised funds but also got our whole community involved. And when I talk about a whole community we’re talking about all the teachers, all the students, all their parents and all the clubs and community people, shop owners, everyone that you can think of that was based in Leopold and ran this unreal event.

We ran it for two years and it was just ridiculous like the engagement level was out of this world, it was nothing that I’ve been involved in before and just you are wanting to be in it every single year because of the nature of it. We had 800 kids go around the course during the day but we would have had easily 4,000 visitors to the school just to see what was happening and be part of it. It was unreal.

[00:04:26] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah and that sort of stuff really does flow into lifelong activity like the showing that the community support’s there and these are the things that will get students by when we have disappeared long into lives. So I love it, I think it’s a tremendous example. So along this journey that you’ve had, it’s very varied and full of exciting projects. Somewhere along the line tech has found a way for you. And how did that begin?

[00:04:55] Andy Hair: I was thinking about this the other day and you will, you’re probably too young to remember this but so I was at Lara Lake primary school in 1999 and I’d come from Sydenham Hillside which was up in Melbourne. My last year of Sydenham Hillside I had managed to buy a camera out of my budget.

It was a Sony and it was revolutionary, I hope you’re sitting down as you’re going to hear this. But this thing would have been probably 15 to 20 centimeters square, so 15 high, 15 wide and in it you actually inserted a 1.44 megabit floppy disk that captured all your photos on it. And on that disk I could capture 500 photos. 1.44 megabits. So and that was it.

That I remember was the time that I sort of got really energized into making a difference and all of a sudden the young PE teacher was in the school taking all these photos and then putting them up around the school and parents were going nuts because they were actually able to see what was happening in PE. So it was advocating to a lot of cause.

And then I remember another, like I just I love my devices they’re like, they’re just my toys. It was about three years later I came across, well what it was is I was watching people at the state athletic championships using pen and paper all day long and I was in charge that year of the children with disabilities.

Now for those that are unsure when kids with disabilities go to athletics events it’s not first across the line, it’s closest to your world record is the winner of the race. And so these officials had pen and paper and these kids were going across the line and these poor little kids had to wait for an hour before they knew where they placed.

And it was that year that I decided hey you know what I know a device that will kind of do it and it was a little PDA that I’d bought from a shop in Geelong and on it had a function that I could put on excel document but then I could preprogram that excel document to do the calculations so the kids got instant feedback at the end of the race where they knew they had finished and that then was probably the earliest moment where I knew that I could make a massive impact in a wider sense with IT.

[00:07:37] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah I love it. I think you’ve struck at what I’ve observed from you, some of the real core elements that still stay with you today. I mean you mentioned with that, just a simple camera, taking photos and it was all about advocating for what you were doing. And I’m sure you’ve got a parallel to what you’re doing now in the classroom that’s exactly the same thing. But the tech may have changed but the actual goal of it is still the same. What would be the equivalent of that today that you’re sort of using or doing in your classes.

[00:08:06] Andy Hair: Well the big one for my PE collogues around the world is Periscope and it’s exactly the same, it’s on my device, it is sending it out via the instant viewer and people around the world can get a sense of the feel because we can post on Twitter, we can post on Facebook, we can put anything we want in a blog but until you actually feel the essence inside the room and the energy with the kids and the voice of the teacher and the feeling of anyone that comes across that then you’re not really getting a full grab of the impact of that moment and I reckon that’s probably my equivalent.

For parents-wise it is still photos because a lot of my parents are, you say the world Periscope and they’ll ask where the submarine is. But in terms of our parents it is really as well opening up the doors to transparency and I talk about this one a lot and it’s really going okay well if I’m really going to make sure these kids get a life long journey then parents need access to my curriculum, they need access to all the videos, all the flipped learning videos that I put together. They need instant to access to photos that we can put up on our blogs. I’m toying with the idea next year of having a Instagram account with education just to be able to do that same thing like a private one.

But anything that can really give parents almost an almost live-time experience because it is sad that the cost of living is so high these days and this is the picture that I’m always having in my head. I’ve got one child that goes to a sporting carnival and their parents both have to work yet they can sit at their work and have on their computer a live score going or a photo-feed that they can be actively engaged and see their child once. Then those parents are going to be happy because they’re going to be able to have a communication with their child when they get back home and that’s the whole key to it.

[00:10:23] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah, I completely agree and I just love that that’s an underlying theme regardless of the tech that’s being used and I think a lot of the time people get caught up in oh if I adopt this then next year something’s going to change and I’ll be using a different piece of tool but that’s true, but the underlying themes remain the same and I think that’s important that we grasp unto those because that’s really why we’re using the tech, it’s not about the tool itself but what you’re attempting to do. I think you’d say the same about the initial use of your PDA to make things more efficient and effective for you then, I’m sure you’ve got equivalents in today’s day and age about things that you’re doing now that are the same, trying to make things more efficient and effective. Is that right?

[00:11:07] Andy Hair: Oh absolutely. I’ll give you the most recent example was our attempt with Spikeball EDU we got permission from Spikeball America to be able to trial for the very first time a school’s tournament. It hadn’t happened anywhere in the world, it’s something they’ve done with adults over in America but never school kids into school.

So what we ended up doing is knowing that there was going to be a few eyes around the world, especially from the Spikeball headquarters over in the USA so we simply created a Google Sheet and had the WIFI down at Deacon University going all day long. So every time we added the scores in Spikeball over in America was able to see live-time who was winning, the ladder was changing around, people on Twitter were able to see it, people back at the schools were able to see it.

And so it again it’s, it encompassed what we were looking for was really to go okay well these are athletes for the day, these 200 kids that were at the tournament are our athletes for the day. But the 3,000 people that are watching on theoretically back at schools, workplaces, overseas are the audience and they’re the spectators that are cheering in their offices and cheering in their classrooms because their teams, their favorite teams have got up to the final. What we weren’t able to do obviously was stream it live because we didn’t have the permissions from all the kids to sign off from that with privacy act. But that’s the next level again is to bring in that.

And I did that a few years ago actually at a basketball tournament. I had the live stream going and then I had the, I turned the basketball score sheets into a Google sheet so the two basketball scores were using the computer rather than pen and paper. And then we had the schools back in, because I think I had a school from Horsham and a school from Colac in the final. So they were able to watch it but at the same time they were able to see the score sheet how it was unfolding up on the board. That was NBA style that, that was awesome.

[00:13:32] Jarrod Robinson: Amazing and again, it’s another solid foundational bedrock that you’ve laid the tech around, being more efficient and effective and I think there’s obviously collaboration elements in there too and these are the same things that no matter what year it is are things that we need to do and tech can be part of that. So like the collaboration element for you is massive and I know you’ve been involved in many projects here, overseas and internet and the technology has been a big part of that. And more recently the sort of Ozzie phys ed group that you’ve working with is doing some tremendous things. So do you just want to share a little bit about who they are and what you do?

[00:14:10] Andy Hair: Yeah so the founding members of Ozzie phys ed, it all happened just through a phone call actually with Arron Gardiner, Dan in Geelong and Sean Demortan who is up in Melbourne.

And we knew the great things that our buddies over in California were doing with the Voxer, podcast and I needed an essential element to be able to network teachers back here and Twitter was okay, it wasn’t doing it for me. Facebook at the stage I wasn’t on Facebook. But even email like it’s archaic but we needed live time conversations to happen to really push the barriers down and really give people an opportunity to grow themselves through choice and the choice is do I listen or do I, if I do listen what do I do that information’s been shared.

And so what we ended up doing, we had a really cool drive with Ozzie phys ed. We just grew it organically, we didn’t go out there and go hey you guys you should be on this, you should be on this. We’re like this is a platform, if you guys want a conversation join in. And it trickled away for a little while until I think late last year we spiked it about 130 members and it got pretty big.

And then May 2016 we ended up breaking the group up into different rooms. So we had the primary section, we had the secondary section, we had the IT, we had the podcast, we had the school sport, we had the main chat room and then we also had our writing section as well where we try to put together some e-books. It really focused people then because they were able to go in and go shopping for information or add information into the rooms where it was appropriate rather than you get lost in, like on a good day, I’m serious here but on a good day there could be 2-300 Voxers. And for you to scroll back through that, I mean I don’t have the time in my life to be able to go back and listen to two or three hours of Voxers I’ve missed in one day. So those rooms became really essentially links to driving teachers.

And what we’ve found is through that engagement in Voxer, through the engagement in recognizing that all of a sudden I’ve just put 30 collogues in my office that I can rely on to network with is tremendous. We’ve got members all over Australia, in every state. We’ve got a couple that are overseas and we’ve got a couple of links in just someone like Andy Vasily who came down last year. We’ve got him in the group more so as an adviser. So he’s able to sort of add his pedagogical knowledge to add value to the program too.

But the result of it Jarrod is insane. Like the work people have been able to do and the positions they’ve now been able to win as a result has built growth in careers and that’s probably I think for me that’s probably the proudest thing that’s come out of it. It’s not, nothing to do with what I’ve got, what I’ve started, what I’ve been able to achieve. It is going I’ve just seen five teachers get leading teacher positions or coaching positions or instrumental roles in conference work and that because they’ve been advocates and been able to share and just been able to drive themselves. So that’s one of the proudest things I reckon that’s come out of it for me.

[00:18:00] Jarrod Robinson: Yeah I mean the real theme there is regardless of the platform, Voxer’s a great platform for communicating with others. But that growth mindset and if you make the choice and I’m speaking to everyone who’s listening here, if you make the choice to be in charge of your growth, whether it’s through Twitter or Voxer or any other means then the flow on impact can be quite profound and social networks really sort of take those and take them to the next level. We’re seeing it with Voxer.

So if you’re unsure of what Voxer is effectively it’s like a walkie-talkie app and you can speak with people in real time or asynchronously and it’s yeah, it’s like a great, it’s basically a virtual staffroom you might think of it in that regard and yeah you can be in, you can be out, you don’t have to listen to everything to get value. I often say treat it like a buffet and come back when you need something. So where can people find out how to join those different places?

[00:18:59] Andy Hair: Okay, so with the Ozzie phys ed network one we had a link up on our website but what we’ve found is that through that link we have, we kind of had a policy that anyone can join as long as they’ve got an association with physical education. But what we’ve found is that we actually a few strays drift into the pack where we actually didn’t know who they were and where they were from.

So we’re at the moment just saying look guys if you want to be a part of it just email either Sean, Arron Gardiner, or myself. And or if you email yourself Jarrod then people, you’d be able to pass that on. But that way we can sort of confirm who the person is before we allow them into the chat room. So it’s more so not, it’s more so I guess really to protect the chat and also to allow it to stay driven around pedagogical approaches to education rather than someone being a salesman in there for instance. We need conversations to happen that really, like you said build mindset growth.

[00:20:10] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent stuff. So aside from the Voxer space where can people find out more about the work that you’re doing?

[00:20:18] Andy Hair: Hey guys if you, you can get me at mrhairphysed.weebly.com. I apologize the website has stalled a bit this year. There’s been a bit going on in my last six months. But next year there will be a lot of growth on there and I’ll be sharing a lot more with blog writing and my journey for that next year at  least and sort of the cultural change that we’re going to be able to move here in Australia as we move through this physical education coach.

[00:20:48] Jarrod Robinson: Excellent stuff. So all the links and various elements to resources etc. will be in the show notes over at thepegeek.com/79 and you can also get a word for word transcript so you can read it if you need to do so.

Thanks again Andy and I look forward to speaking soon.

[00:21:06] Andy Hair: Always a pleasure, and I love talking to you man.

[00:21:08] Jarrod Robinson: Thanks mate, see you.

[00:21:10] Andy Hair: See you, bye.


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