In this article PE teacher Lizzie Wolstenholme (@DHS_GCSEDance) reflects on her year long ‘Learning Innovator’ project, looking at the use of ICT to support and enhance learning in PE.
When I first took up the role of introducing ICT into our PE department I have to admit, I thought I might be spending the year trying to find innovative ways to use flip cams, stopwatches and televisions. I now can’t believe how wrong I was. I feel like the many uses of ICT are so vast and that actually, I’m only just scraping the top of the iceberg.
My role so far has involved working closely with two classes, a GCSE dance group and a year 9 gifted and talented group. These classes have been subject to top if of the range ICT access, such as iPods, iPads, twitter groups and edmodo as a homework tool.
I first started using these applications and devices in abundance. However I quickly learnt that whenever I use them, I must ask myself, how are these tools aiding the learning process? Also, are the students gaining new skills or progressing further because of these being involved? If the answer was no, I stopped using them. I think it it very important before you start using ICT more, to remember that PE is a physical subject and that our main aim is to keep the students active for as much time as we can when in lessons.
However, I did find that some of the ways I was using them were very effective. The most useful one if all, being the iPad. There are many applications that can help students learn. Below is an explanation of some of the most effective ones I have found:
Coach my video– instant analysis of a performer. You can watch a performance back straight away, or on a delayed playback so that students can do a performance, then walk round to where the iPad is set up and watch themselves. The best thing about this device is that you can have it on split screen, therefore comparing two performers at the same time. You can also compare your own performance to an elite athlete by downloading the clip from youtube. It allows you to pause and rewind and compare both performances in slow motion. This app is easy to use and can be set up instantly in order for students to analyse their performance straight away.
I introduced this app to my year 9 gifted and talented class almost straight away. The following student has written a summary of how it was used recently in a tennis lesson:
‘In my last PE lesson we were learning how to use the backhand technique in tennis. To start of with, we filmed our teacher doing a perfect backhand on the Ipad, or some students had Ipods. After we filmed her and listened to the coaching tips we got into groups of three according to our ability in tennis. My friends and I are quite confident so we got started straight away, using the Ipad to film each other doing the backhand shot. One person would film and the other two would play in a game situation (doing our best to forget the camera was there!). After we’d all been filmed, we used an app to split the video of the teacher performing the backhand and one of us. Once we’d split the screen, we watched it frame by frame to see the differences between my backhand and my teachers. From watching the video I clearly saw how I need to improve which was by following through, twisting my body round further and moving my feet quickly to get into the right position. I then compared my performance against the assessment criteria to see what level I was at and what I need to do to improve. From watching the video, I instantly and clearly saw my points of improvement and managed to change my technique so it made my playing and level improve. Grace Y9
Free video– an app that allows you to download any clip from YouTube and show instantly to the students. It means you no longer need a projector or laptop in your lesson. I have also downloaded this app onto our iPods so that small groups of students can watch and analyse top class performances together.
Sprint timer– ideal for athletics and running events. I have used this for non doers to record performances and then show students their finishing position over the line when walking back to the start line to have another go.
Coachpro– this app has every playing court or pitch drawn out for you. It has counters that represent players. You can move these around to any position, draw lines to dhow direction of movement and also film short movements for teams to look at. For instance, how they should be defending around the key in a game of Basketball. It is a great visual tool for team talks at half time or in extracurricular clubs when coaching.
Apple TV– although I am still trying to find the funding for is, Apple TV is used widely in other businesses, learning communities and schools. It is a device that you plug into your computer which is synced to your iPad. This results in e image on your iPad being displayed on the projector you are using, for all the class to see. I have seen this used after students have answered a longer answer exam question. The teacher picked an A grade answer written by a student, held the iPad over the written image and shown the whole class this example. They then switched images to the assessment criteria, (also on iPad and therefore shown on screen) downloaded into coach my video which they were then able to draw on, underline and annotate to show why that answer would receive an A grade.
Cloud on – this is more of a tool to aid your teaching. It includes word, excel and PowerPoint type programmes for your iPad.
Drop box– a memory stick without the actual stick! If you download and save documents to Dropbox, you can access them from any device that Dropbox is on.
Pocket cloud– I haven’t tested this one yet as we don’t have Internet access in out PE area, but I have heard it is very effective in PE especially. It is a version of SIMS that you can take registers on and is linked directly to your schools SIMS system. A the moment we have paper registers which take nearly half a lesson to get logged onto SIMS. That’s nearly half the lesson. Being able to take the register in changing rooms on the iPad will reduce safeguarding issues and truanting (which can be high in PE) as it can be dealt with straight away.
Edmodo– a great homework website that is a replica of Facebook. Very user friendly for the students and the best thing about this is you can monitor who has logged on and done the homework. It is therefore paperless too. On the website you can upload quizzes, exam questions, test papers and multiple choice questions. It is also great as parents can access it too.
Twitter– I have found this incredible useful as it has so many different functions. Firstly, the students love it and look at is daily, if not a lot more! I can sent reminders to them, direct messages to them, post exam questions, revision tips in exam time and pictures of resources from lessons or revision sessions. Secondly, I have made links with other PE and dance teachers. We have shared resources and discussed exam papers. I have also created a PE account that shares fixtures and results with anyone who is following me.
The are other devices other than the iPad which I believe to aid learning. I have been lucky enough to be provided with 5 iPods, which I have used in both classes that are participating in my investigation. The iPods have been used as cameras and for videoing in dance, which gives small groups immediate feedback from their performance and they can analyse their movement against other dancers and the perfect model. I have also found them very useful when teaching the choreography and set dance units. Those who don’t have access to headphones and a music device or their own can use these to work individually. When choreographing to music it is important the music fits and having 24 different students music going at once is impossible. Through iPods they can listen in their own time through headphones, therefore not distracting others and working at their own pace.
I have also tried to spread my findings and use of ICT further than just my department I have worked closely with teachers in English and Drama. English are now using coach my video app for oral work and apps such as twitter, edmodo, drop box, cloud on and free video. Drama uses many similar apps to our PE department now due to the nature of performances. These subjects link nicely together and I hope we can work together in the future to drive the use of ICT further still within our subjects.