Apps I Wish My Students Would Use...

So I just finished scrolling through my twitter feed and saw a blog post titled "Apps I Wish My Students Would Use" from and it got me thinking... what Apps would I love to know my students are using outside of school that have a direct correlation to Health or Physical Education? If I could give them a gentle guiding towards some key apps which would they be? These are 4 favourites!

MapMyRide - MapMyWalk - MapMyRun 

These little apps are neat! You enable the GPS settings on your device and hit "record" and go on your merry way. It maps out where you travel during your workout and provides results including: distance, average pace, time taken and speed. The results including the map are kept journal style and can be accessed later on via the app, or the website. Meaning users can review their week, can share with others (there is an online community associated with the website) or users can just revisit older workouts and try to better them. The other neat thing is members can set themselves goals to achieve with a variety of parameters for consideration to make the goals more achievable. Members can share their achievements via social networks as well, meaning students could continue to encourage one another. The best thing is this app is available on both Android and iOS.


This app is a great way for students to monitor their exercise and  nutrition. Users log their workouts and what they have consumed throughout the day. They can add friends and share their progress with one another. The food bank is extensive as is the exercise bank, meaning most things can be found and added to the daily log book. Just like with MapMyRide/Run/Walk members can set goals and track their progress. This app is also available across most platforms including Android and iOS and the website is a great place to stop as well.

Nike Training

I've mentioned this app on the blog before and still have faith in it's ability to give students a good workout, particularly those who are self motivated. I've shared this with a few students who have either told me that they enjoy working out by themselves or that they want to work out but can't access/afford a gym. It's only available on iOS at this stage but is worth the large download with a variety of workouts available to try.

Zombies Run!

Ever heard the excuse "I'm not going to run unless I'm being chased"? Well this app provides just that... Plug your headphones in, hit play and start running. The app is clever and suits interval training as well as continuous. As you run you are involved in a story that includes the growl of chasing zombies (meaning you need to go faster or risk fictional death) and the GPS means your run gets included into the story with suggestions for side streets to gather "supplies" to help you on your run. This app certainly appeals to students who are enjoying the recent rise in zombie popularity.

Future focused fueled by feedback

Wow, okay! I went to another PD today with two colleagues (I know right two weeks in a row go me!). We went to see a multi campus school present to Professor John Hattie regarding the changes they’ve made within their school after developing a series of “Action Research Projects”. This school has been working closely with John and we were very curious to see what has been transpiring there.
I have to admit I’ve come away with my head loaded with ideas and thoughts on better practice regarding whole school approaches to change and if you get the chance to hear or read John Hattie’s work I recommend. All I’m going to do with this blog post is summarise the key themes that kept popping up during today’s PD.

Future Focus
The day was very future focused, each group that presented (there were 7 all up) asked “where to from here?” They reflected on their practice and avoided descending into the hang ups of what didn’t work, instead focusing on what worked and what could be improved. It was generally accepted that engagement and activity was a precursor for learning, yes it was needed but teachers were encouraged to ensure that learning occurred after “hooking the students in”. This train of thought is crucial when considering the use of technology in the classroom. Yeah iPads and smart phones are great ways of getting students engaged in the process but if those tools are not being used to gather further understanding of content being studied then it’s up to both teachers and students to determine their usefulness.

The majority of the day was aimed at feedback. Whether it is gathering feedback from students regarding their understanding of a topic or gathering feedback of how the teacher was going in terms of delivering content. Feedback is important when done right because it lets the teacher know what needs to be done to assist those who need assistance, and also to know when things are done right. Most groups discovered however that questions need to be well planned in order to get quality feedback, and in most cases students needed to be explained the difference of providing constructive feedback as opposed to “good work Miss!”

What is Progress?
Another crucial point that was mentioned during the day was that all teachers needed to have a common perception of what constituted as “progress”. Often teachers have a vastly different view of what is progress and they share this view with their students either explicitly or subconsciously. When different teachers in the same school present different understandings of progress to their students it becomes a confusing affair not only for the students, but also their parents and other teachers within the school. The way this school was attempting to tackle the mammoth task of understanding progress and having students aware of their progress was through the use of visual spaces. They placed the VELS progression points around the classroom and students used avatars of themselves and stuck them to the progression point that they were currently at. Students then used “I Can...” statements to assist them in planning how to move to the next progression point. This process meant that students were aware of their progress as they moved through their course work as opposed to just being handed an end result as if it’s a signal that the learning has ended.

Senior teacher only?
An interesting point that came up was schools that place certain teachers in senior classes only, and continue to do so year after year. These senior teachers are also often not exposed to junior or middle year classes and therefore the earlier development of their potential future students. This has always struck me as odd. Why leave your best players out of the game until the last quarter? Why not give our senior teachers a chance to better prepare their students well in advance before they even step into their senior classes? Keeping key teachers in senior year levels can sometimes send the message to students that some teachers are more “expert” than others and sometimes this could be far from the truth.

All in or nothing at all...
It became abundantly clear that if you want to take on a whole school project that will eventually change the way things happen in your school then you really do need everyone on board. If not students fast recognise which teachers are moving with the change and which ones aren’t. We as teachers also need to recognise that as a professional in a profession we should be staying well read on best practices and implementing what we can to show that we are well equip to develop the young minds of tomorrow. In this day and age it is no longer acceptable to state that technology (in particular iPads/tablets/smartphones) has no place in a learning environment when it is clear that these tools are being used in the business world that we plan on sending our students into.

I’m going to close this long blog post with some key reflective questions that popped up during the course of the day that I found particularly powerful or interesting:

Who is asking the questions in your classroom? Is it you (the “expert”) or is it the students (The “learners”)?

What is success? What does it look like? Do we demonstrate to our students what success is?

How often do you receive feedback from your students regarding your practice? How comfortable are you about receiving feedback from your students?

Are you aware of your impact on students? As a result do you challenge them? Do you challenge yourself?

What I learnt from my day at the VITTA conference!

So today I had a rare chance to go off and get immersed in some Professional Development. I took myself across Melbourne to Caulfield Race Course to my first foray into the VITTA (Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association) Conference. I was to hear from two keynote presenters and from 4 other speakers on an array of topics all related of course to the use of technology in education. I was excited, I packed my iPad, my android phone (Samsung Galaxy III) and pen and paper (just in case). These are the thoughts that I came away with:

What I learnt from my day at the VITTA conference!
Factory Model is out... Creativity, global awareness and entrepreneurship is in!
The old model of marching students into class, having them sitting in rows, asking them to open their brains and teachers then attempting to stuff as much information as we can in before running a memory test is no longer an acceptable mode in which to prepare our young for the future. Instead we heard at the VITTA conference Professor Yong Zhao reiterate what we are fast becoming to accept is the ideal future for education within a school environment and that is a shift to developing individuals that are creative, passionate and globally competent. Individuals who are confident in their abilities, willing to take risks, able to connect with others to develop friendships and of course be alert to their world in order to make the best decisions possible. As we make work places more and more efficient we lose more and more jobs so those students we prepare for the "factory" life will find it harder and harder to find long term employment.

The factory model prepares worker people for the unlikelihood of gaining a job.

Twitter really is a big deal...
Every serious presenter had a twitter account and used it. This is how the world is interacting and we need to embrace and accept this. In fact as we were sitting in our conference listening to key speakers the twitter world was afire with conversation regarding the Mars Landing. The first keynote speaker discussed using twitter for Professional Development and networking. The next presenter I saw discussed it in a similar way, and also for using with a class. The next presentation I went to was about the global classroom and a teacher from a rural school discussed how she used Twitter to network with teachers across the globe to enrich her classes (and in the process her school). Through twitter this teacher was able to connect with teachers overseas as well as professionals in a variety of fields to match what the students were learning, including an explorer in Antarctica.

Mobile Phone / Tech Policies need to be revisited/revised...
Every few years we as educators take the time to review the resources that we are using (usually textbooks) and we make a decision to upgrade/change/develop those resources to best suit where the students are at. Some schools have even decided to introduce iPads/tablets or netbooks to their change. One thing that became abundantly clear from the sessions I sat in was that there were many passionate teachers who had brilliant ideas on how to engage their class using technology, only to be hampered by restrictions and policies. Many were whispering in the corners of conference rooms how their students aren’t allowed mobiles at school “but I ask them to bring them in and use them anyway”. These confessions could be construed as naughty teachers breaking the rules and not supporting the “policy” and maybe some are being deliberately cheeky but knowing this is happening just means a bigger question. “Why are so many teachers encouraging students to SBYOD (Secretly Bring Your Own Device)?” The answer if you haven’t already figured it out... is because it is obviously resulting in engagement in the lesson at hand. No teacher is going to invite more distraction into an already over stimulated environment (I’m assuming that all teachers are endeavouring to have engaging, interesting and challenging classes to begin with). Students and teachers alike should consider exploring and understanding Digital Citizenship and what is a responsible use of online capable devices so they can then begin to develop an agreement that will allow more flexibility in regards to bringing mobiles into the classroom.

Do you SBYOD?

The classroom is not square...
As teachers we’ve always known that learning doesn’t just occur in the classroom, however the way our schools are designed, planned and budgeted for often leaves us designing lessons that fit a timetable of so many lessons per week for x amount of minutes. Students are expected to walk through a door and instantly switch onto their subject. They’re expected to remember what was discussed previously and in some cases prepare for a future moment in the week when they will have a chance to revisit the subject again. In some cases we attempt to assist this behaviour with “homework” which may or may not be completed by the student and may or may not result in any actual “learning”. A constant underlying message during the sessions at today’s VITTA conference was that the classroom can and most likely should be extended outside the confines of the square room that we use to gather with our students. This can be done a variety of ways including the use of online collaboration tools for outside class hours, to the use of communication tools to connect with the world outside of the classroom/school/state/country. So if you’re not too sure, start small... get your students on Edmodo, use twitter or even explore what your school already has and start designing an online version of your class. Invite a colleague to “guest teach” via skype or even better just record your own podcast or start a blog for students to follow.

All in all I found the day a great exercise of the mind and it was nice to know that I wasn't the only one finding the I.T policies and procedures in my school challenging. It was great to connect with a few people through twitter and hopefully I can take back what I learnt from the day to share with my colleagues and develop more exciting and interesting dialogue.


The Olympic Challenge!

The Olympics are well under way in London and I love the Olympic ideal that much that I wanted to find a way to include it into my classes, actually to be quite honest I wanted to inflict the Olympics on everyone within our 1,000+ strong school. So I devised "The Olympic Challenge" an academic Olympics that all students could get involved in regardless of their interests and strengths. The odds of holding a theme like event in a large high school across all curriculum areas is slim to none so I knew I was potentially setting myself up for failure but I figured the Olympic Creed was all I needed to help me persevere.

So here's a low down on what I've done.

Firstly I pitched the idea to my fellow Health & Phys Eders to see if this is something they would consider doing in class, when they agreed I kicked started this mammoth task!
I had determined that every homeroom in the school (there are 40) should have a country to represent during the challenge, I also decided from the start that certain countries should be excluded from the random draw so I removed the top 6 countries (including our home country of Australia) I also removed the bottom 40 countries to provide some fair balance. Names of countries were drawn from a hat and assigned to the homerooms at random. This was then emailed to homeroom teachers to give their students a heads up on which country they would be representing.
The next step was to create a way that all learning areas could be involved in the Challenge and to keep it simple so that staff could participate without feeling like they've been given yet another thing to do in their classes.
The last step was to announce this to all staff at a morning briefing inviting everyone to participate with the HPE dept in the Olympic Challenge and providing a short flyer via email for all to read.

 The beauty of this activity is that I'm only asking staff to put a medal value on what they already have students doing. The other neat thing is I have set up a basic Excel spreadsheet that does the maths for me all I need to do is add the medals in as they are earned.

The response has been great so far with staff emailing in the activity that they ran and their medal results. It's also had people talking about countries they didn't know much about (many complaining their country has yet to win a medal ever!). The students have loved the idea with some taking an interest in their country, and others just liking the chance for some friendly competition.

Whilst I admit this isn't the "techiest" of posts, I thought it's been so much fun that I had to share it with my fellow #pegeeks and keen educators! I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics as much as I am!

QR Codes in PE

So... QR Codes (quick response codes) are basically a matrix style barcode that allows you to store information to be shared with others. The information can be anything from an image, a web address, a calendar event, a phone number or just some plain old text. The great thing about these little fellas is that they are cross platform... meaning it doesn't matter if you're using iPhones/iPads,Windows or Android systems. The most common use of QR Codes in the world at large appears to be linking the user to a website. Examples of QR Codes can be seen in magazines, newspapers, on shop front windows and on advertising images. So in short a QR Code looks like this:

Scan to go to It Inside PE Outside

As you can see if that little square matrix is placed on the corner of a big picture advertisement for say Nike, users could scan (using a device with a camera and a QR scanning app) the code which could have been generated to link people to the Nike website, or even to a specific page on their website (Mid year Sale anyone?). Sounds great you're thinking... but what use have I for that in my PE class? How do I even make my own QR Codes? Good questions worthy of an answer!

How QR Codes could be used in PE classes:

  • Station work. 
Rather than printing sheets of paper that explain what students should be doing at each station, why not generate permanent instructions/information that exist either on a website (school Intranet) or as just plain text instructions/information. Create codes for each station and then just print and place those at each station. Students can then move from station to station and gather the needed information to complete set tasks.

How might this look? 
PRACTICAL LESSON: How about we use fitness testing as our example? Have stations set up around the court (such as vertical jump, sit and reach, ball-wall toss) and place a QR code on the wall beside each test. Students move to the station and scan the code. The code then provides them with all the information they require to complete the test correctly. You could even have a second code underneath for them to scan after completing the test to see where their results fall in relation to the scale.

THEORETICAL LESSON: How about we use the sexual health unit as our example of how QR codes can be used in a theory based lesson. Put together small web pages of information about each Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Develop QR Codes that will link students to each STI individually. Place these around the room and provide generic questions on the board. Students can then move about and develop their own "Fact Sheets" on each STI. Generic questions can be as simple as "how is it transmitted? how is it treated? how is it prevented?" etc.

Stations could be self run

  • Orienteering.
Create an orienteering course that uses QR Codes at each point to provide the next clue/direction for students following the course.

How might this look?
Create plain text clues that provide students with the next point on their map. When they make it to the correct destination a QR Code could be visible for them to scan providing them with their next coordinates.
Have students in pairs develop their own codes and trails for another pair in the class to then try out.

Scanning for the next coordinates?

How to create QR Codes:

So you've got some ideas but now you want to know how to create these little pixelated squares of fun! Well truth be told there are a variety of ways... all depending on whether you're using a phone, an iPad or your PC... so lets explore!

Android phone/tablet then check out:
 QR Droid
This little app allows you to scan QR Codes, create your own, decode codes and keeps a history for you as you play.

iPhone/iPad then check out:
Qrafter or EasyQR (there are also loads of free "scan" apps so be sure to find one that allows you to create codes as well as scan).

PC check out the following links to assist you in making QR Codes:

Each of the above platforms work in a similar way, you type or select the item to be turned into a QR Code then allow the app/website to create the code, then you simply save the code as an image and then it's ready for you to print or to email etc

So there you have it, that's QR Codes in a nutshell (ok in a website that looks nothing like a nutshell but you get me). The advantages of having QR Codes is that more information can be delivered at once than if you were to stand in front of the class and just talk it out. It means you can mix up the lesson and students can work at their own pace, and it also means you can mingle with your students and take the time to assist them where they need it most.

That's all I have on this for now, but if you've got a great QR Code idea let us know! You can add it in the comments section of this blog
Peace out fellow PE Geeks!

A digital classroom?

So sometimes I find myself questioning whether homework is really worth doing in PE. After all our subject is predominately practical skill based and aside from planned assignments or projects what else is really worth setting as homework?
I personally am a big believer in the fact that work set for students to complete needs to be worthwhile and meaningful. When we as either teachers or students can see the value in completing a task we're more likely to devote our attention to that task and in turn become fully engaged in the process of learning a new skill or developing new knowledge.

So with that in mind I started reviewing the topics we cover in our class (mainly Health related topics as our school combines Physical Education and Health as one subject for junior levels right up until VCE). I also reviewed my teaching methods and also how much time I dedicated to theory related lessons versus practical related lessons and I found that it was difficult to strike the perfect balance of time devoted to properly unpacking and exploring theory topics and time devoted to skill development and "just getting out there" with my students. As for teaching methods, one of the most common things I found occurring in my class was discussion based activities. Discussion based activities make real sense in PE classes considering the topics we cover (drugs and alcohol, sexual health, health of Australians and risk taking to name a few). That's when it dawned on me... why not have our discussions outside the classroom sometimes? So after doing some research online this is what I have discovered and started implementing in time for the new term.

First I signed up for my own page at Collaborize Classroom which allows me to create my own online discussion forum which is very student and teacher friendly. I was given the option to create a name for my page (so I called it "PE with Ms M") and from there I was able to start customising the page for my classes.

Screen shot of my digital classroom
If you check out the screen shot I'm sharing with you of my digital classroom you'll notice that I've altered the colour scheme by simply hovering my cursor over Manage and selecting Site from the drop down menu (1). i then just selected the colour scheme I wanted.
After that I tapped on the little pencil beside the heading Categories (2) and edited the sample categories already in existence renaming them as my classes (you can later manage these making them either visible or invisible to different classes if you wish). I then clicked on Start a Discussion (3) to create a topic "thread" where I posed a question to my students to then answer. Then all I had to do was provide each student (via email or paper slip) the address (URL) of my page and I invited them to come join the page. The neat thing about this site I guess is that they wouldn't need an email address to sign up.
I instructed students to use their real name or a shortened version when signing up and to create an appropriate username as well (the real name isn't visible to anyone but me, others only see the username they select).

You may already even have a discussion forum style tool on your school's intranet system, if so it is much easier to set up, but if you don't then having something like this means being able to create a brilliant space where students can answer a set question, then respond to their peers and even be encouraged to re-evaluate what they have written after reading everyone's posts and provide a new post using facts or information/ideas/view points from others to back up or change their opinion or understanding of the topic.

Overall an online discussion can allow you to capture the thought process of your students as they plan responses, evaluate and re-evaluate etc. Through setting this page up I hope to hit two birds with one stone... one being the minimising of homework, and two ensuring that discussions aren't restricted to the limited time available in class time. The other beauty of having a site like this running means that if a student is away sick for a period of time, they can still be involved with the class.

Other sites that do similar stuff include:
  • Edmodo (looks and feels like the nerdy sister of facebook making it appealing to teens and powerful fun for teachers... imagine notifying students to remind them to bring their PE uniform).
  • Schoology (similar to Edmodo)
  • Go Soapbox (a real time interactive tool where students can share with their teacher how they are going with any set task given).
  • Socrative

 What I have planned here, could be the beginning of introducing the "Flipped Classroom" model to my classes, who knows!

Next week I hope to tackle amongst other fun things.... QR Codes!!

Stay tuned and share the blog! Leave me a comment if you have a suggestion on what I should look at next!

Peace out!

Top 5 PE Apps worth your time

There are so many blog posts floating around the blogosphere recommending this app or that app that often it's hard to determine which apps are worthwhile getting, and which apps are just being promoted by the app creators. The other killer is that there are so many apps that are similar to one another that it makes it even harder to get something worthwhile at all.
As teachers, we're far too busy to sit down and try out app after app until we find one that does the job... we also don't have the time to learn how to use the app... only to then teach students how to use the app too. So to help ease the world of apps a little allow me to share with you the top 5 PE apps I have used in class and therefore know work well!

1. iMuscle ($4.99)

This is a killer app! Forget your Anatomy textbook... this app smashes it out of the ballpark! It can be used as a standard "okay let's look at the muscles in the leg" tap on and read the label/name of the muscle... or it can be used as a powerful resource that demonstrates complete with moving clips how to exercise each muscle. So whether you want to use it to explain muscle movements (flexion/extension) or you want to show your star athlete's why they are doing the exercise that you just prescribed to them... you just know visually this app just makes sense. Professionals in the medical fields are loving this alternative way to demonstrate things to their clients too by the way.

The App in Action

2. TimeMotion (Free)

This little app is simplistic in design and functionality. The app is used simply to record how long a player spends doing the following: Running, jogging, sprinting, walking, standing etc. Have students monitor someone in their class as they participate in a game. All they need to do is tap whatever is occurring as it occurs. When the game ends they hit "Stop" and ta-da! an instant break down of how long their player spent doing each movement type. They can record the data and discussion can then take place on the value of knowing how hard players work in a team environment.

The app in Action

3. Nike Training Club (Free)

Want to punish your students? Want to make them work out but allow them to select their own say 15 minute work out? Then this app is fantastic! But be warned for those who aren't involved in regular moderate to vigorous exercise the workout can prove to be brutal. The great thing about this app is the majority of exercises to be completed in any workout require minimal to no equipment. You can preview the list of exercises in the list prior to engaging in it to allow injuries or weak spots to be protected or targeted. You can select how long the workout will go for and the best thing is each exercise comes with an instructional video demonstrating the exercise. Students love the freedom of selecting what they want to work on, they can even play music with the app to keep them motivated as it counts down the time left.
Apps like this one are great discussion tools too in regards to whether they really are beneficial for people wanting to build on fitness, the risk of uninformed people using the wrong apps in the pursuit of weight loss and dealing with body/self-esteem issues is a worthwhile conversation to have.

The App in Action

4. AIDSinfo (Free)

This app is brilliant when it comes to looking at health related issues on a global scale. Information is updated and relates of course to the AIDS epidemic including life expectancy, risk of infection rate even education regarding AIDS. Just tap on the country of interest to find the facts and figures. Have students compare countries/continents. Great way to create discussion and debates can result with great use of factual information.

The App in Action

5. Tap Roulette (Free)

This is the best app I have in my bag of tricks and it's best when it comes to picking who gets to go first, who starts with the ball, who gets to be captain, who gets to start on the bench and so on. This app beats flipping a coin because it allows for you to incorporate more than 2 teams in the picking. I often have my class split into three teams with one team resting on the bench/umpiring/scoring whilst the other two teams play (great strategy when you have too many players for games like basketball, netball, handball and indoor soccer). All teams select a captain who then meets me with my iPad on the court. I ask all three captains to place one finger on the black section of the screen and I hit "Pick Finger" The app then randomly picks one of the fingers to highlight. The captain belonging to that finger can then inform their team they're on the bench first.

The App in Action

So there you have it! These are by far my favourite apps at the moment as they're easy to use and act as the perfect tools without becoming cumbersome... and the best thing... you don't need to "learn how to use the app".

Keep checking back, subscribe and tell your PE friends I'm planning to keep the ball rolling on this bad boy of a blog!

It's as easy as a click and a snap!

So you're planning your lessons for the future and you know you want to use technology in your class room because it's the new thing that everyone is doing... the problem is your school doesn't have iPads or laptop/notebooks for every students. Never fear! All you need are cameras!

In this day and age most students (Study) have a smart phone of some capacity with most carrying the ability to take photos. This provides the way in where school budgets perhaps can't. Photo taking abilities in the classroom can enhance and alter the way an activity is conducted, however there needs to be a common understanding of why the camera/phones are being used, and also what is considered an appropriate use of these tools.
The variety of smart phones available is astounding...

Taking the time with your students to discuss and develop a set of agreed upon terms regarding the potential use of camera/phones within certain lessons is well worth the time. When all students feel that they have had a say in what will be the governing rules over a tool that they will be allowed to bring into the classroom they certainly feel the experience is more authentic overall. Never assume that they will know instantly what is appropriate and what is not when it comes to the taking of photos and the use of phones within the classroom.

Good questions to ask when developing guidelines for phone/cameras include:
- Should permission be sought prior to taking a photo of someone? Why/Why not?
- What should be done with photos once they are taken?
- How can we use these to our advantage in class?

So now you've all agreed on rules regarding the use of cameras within the classroom... where to from here?

How about the following ideas:
 - Photo clue orienteering
 - Trio Film Coaches

What is.... Photo Clue Orienteering/Scavenger Hunting...

The school ground becomes the hunting grounds as you provide your students with cryptic clues for them to solve. This can be done a variety of ways with the aim of the challenge for students to make their way from one place to another via the clues provided.

I always start with this activity when looking at an orienteering unit. It's a great lead in activity and by the end you can have students discussing the difference between orienteering, rogaining and scavenger hunting. The only down side to this activity is the prep work you as the teacher needs to do prior to the unit, however set it up properly the first time and you can have a handy activity to repeat year after year.

Prep work: Prior to teaching the unit you will need to photograph your cryptic photo clues. I went around the school and took about 20-30 random photos of odd little things that exist in the school. I took photos of the tops of poles, edges of buildings or signs, parts of fencing, taps and drains. The aim of the photos taken is that they are hard to determine what they are at first glance. I then printed and laminated 5 copies of each photo with a number assigned to the back of each. I also created a tabled sheet that had as many rows as there are photos and three columns for students to track their progress. The last thing I created was an aerial map view of the school via Google Maps. I put a simple grid over the map image and created coordinates for the map. I then printed and laminated around 8 of these.
Example of map

Example of results form given to students

Activity in action: After introducing what the aim of scavenger hunting is I asked the students to get into teams of no more than 4.
Each team needs to ensure they have:
- someone with the ability to take photos
- someone to record coordinates of located photo clues
- someone to carry and read the map
- someone to hold onto the cryptic clues that they are given by the teacher.

I then hand each team 2 of the many different photo clues and send them out with the following challenge "Step 1: Get a photo that shows the cryptic clue and it's surroundings and include your team in the photo.
Step2: Try to determine which square on your map grid the location of your clue is at and record it on your sheet."
Cryptic Clue example
Example of photo to be taken including team,cryptic clue and it's surroundings

What happens next is students take off running to where they think they remember seeing something in the school that resembles the cryptic clue. The photograph becomes evidence to show they made it to each destination. If a cryptic clue card proves to be too hard they can trade it in for a different card at any time. The beauty of having them return to base after finding each 2 clues means you can control how long they have until times up. An alternative option is to print the clues onto a sheet and number the photos on the sheet and provide each team with all the clues and an end time when they need to return to base (the classroom).

The next step after they've had a blast running around doing this activity is to have them create their own set of cryptic clues to challenge another team with. I've even had students use photo editing apps on their phones to change the colours of their clues or alter them slightly for added difficulty.

What is.... Trio Film Coaches...

Trio Film Coaches is a great way to use photo/video analysis during skill development when doing any sport unit.

Simply have students break into threes and provide them with a series of skills to practice. They are to take it in turns to practice a skill whilst one of the three films the skill. Threes work best as one can film whilst the other two act on the skill, this is particularly handy for most team related sports. The trick to getting this working well is to set a routine that stays the same regardless of the sport unit being looked at. Prep work is minimal but the benefits of the activity are immense.

Prep work: Be prepared to model this first so that students are aware of the aim and potential outcomes of doing such an activity. If you have time, film yourself twice performing a skill prior to the lesson. Have one film of you performing a skill incorrectly and one film of you performing a skill correctly and show it to the class then open up discussion "which was the correct way to perform that skill? Why do you say this? What benefit can we get from watching ourselves perform a skill?"
Inform students that they will be working together in threes to film themselves performing different skills throughout the year to reflect on their skill development. Be sure to develop a routine when it comes to film sessions so that you only need to announce to students to get into their trios and they'll then know to repeat what they have done previously.
For analysis you can create either a peer assessment form for the two coaches of the third person to fill out regarding the person they filmed OR alternatively a self evaluation form where students use the video and any advice from their peers to analyse their performance of the skill and highlight where things went right and what needs to be improved.

Activity in action: Introduce the skills you wish to be the focus of the session (Softball pitch). Demonstrate the skill correctly and highlight the main teaching points of the skill as per usual. Have students practice the skill as you normally would. Before moving onto the next skill that you would teach during the unit stop and announce that the drill they just practised is this unit's "skill to film" and ask them to get into their trios.
Students then have the opportunity to film each other performing the skill they just practised and then time after the filming is set aside to analyse and evaluate.

The next step of course is to get your hands on some great video analysing apps that allow you to draw on the video to get angles of release, lines and angles of limb positions, weight and balance movement etc I personally use Excelade and Swing Plane HD on the iPad. Coaches Eye is another ripper too.

There are of course hundreds of different ways to use cameras or smart phones within the classroom to enhance the learning experience. In future blog posts I'll be sure to explain Google Goggles, QR Codes and other handy apps so be sure to stay tuned.
If you like what you've read, share it around with others. If you have a question be sure to ask in the comments section. If you've got a suggestion for a lesson idea let us know that too! Until next time peace out!


Welcome to I.T inside, P.E outside!!

This blog has been set up to tackle all the tech related ideas that are possible when it comes to engaging students with the learning process and then connecting those ideas with the Physical Education classroom in mind. I've set this blog up in the hope that it will assist my fellow PE super stars out there, as well as providing a handy resource for myself to refer back to from time to time.

So a little about me. I'm a P.E teacher in a secondary college in Melbourne, Australia. I've been teaching since 2007 and I have a love for gadgets, games and sport in general. My sport of choice is golf and have been moderately successful in that sport since I was 9 years old. I'm a passionate Sydney Swans supporter and I love Olympic years.

In the next couple of blog posts I aim to cover:
- The magic of cameras
- Managing iPads in the classroom
- QR Codes and other fun things
- The most useful apps ever
- How to get the best out video analysis
- Digitising the paper world

and who knows... maybe I'll even look at Digital Portfolios. If you haven't gotten the hint yet... this blog is going to be fantastic! So stay tuned!... Bookmark me... Subscribe to me...