Virtual Running Race
Over the last year I have been motivated by my colleague and inspirational teacher, Simon Mills (SimonMills@unishanoi.org) to think more deeply about the way we move our students in class. Simon has been fortunate enough to attend many coaching courses run specifically for coaches and has run many of these himself, and he is very big on Games for Understanding and the various skills that come from these purpose built games. I have always believed that we owe our students as much physical time as we can, and it always irks me when my students are stuck finishing an assignment or going over the unit
assessment and not moving around, as they have to sit so much these days (so do we!).
But last year Simon starting using Easytag and ipad users can also use the free app TimeMotion, to really monitor how much movement our students were getting in our lessons and he did this to look at the different ways we teach in our lessons. His data showed that some students playing in games where there are 5 or more students a-side, got 1 touch of the ball every 90 seconds or less. In games where there are 3 a-side, the students usually get to touch the ball (on average) every 5 seconds. This has really changed the way that I see how effective ‘real’ games are in my class. If you watch (and preferably tag) a strong, a medium and a weak student in your class, you will notice that it doesn’t really matter for the strong student whether you do small or large team games, they will dominate wherever they are. But for the middle or weaker student, you will notice that they get a lot more game time in small-sided matches (no more than 3 or 4 in a team) and subsequently their skills can sharply improve over the course of your unit on invasion games.
Inspired by this data, I decided to try and createa virtual running race. I wanted to use pedometres to measure how many steps the students took in my class during our sport unit (badminton or invasion games/basketball) and then have them run a race on a google map (a 10K or half marathon mapped by me) and then each lesson have them progress on the running course and keep track of our leaders and of our ‘most steppers’ for each lesson. I wanted to measure their movement and distance. I have trialled a number of different platforms and web sites but with no luck, so I have decided under the tutelage of Jarrod Robbinson, to use a programmer from elance to make an ipad app for teachers or personal trainers or running groups. I hope to share it with you sometime soon so that maybe my Grade 7 students could race online with yours while we both do our basketball or dance units to measure how much physical movement we get through and to make the whole process more fun. Maybe you will set a task to have your students complete a marathon over the summer holidays racing against their class mates for 6 weeks or maybe you will just start to think about how much movement your students get in your classroom set up. I hope you will enjoy the process too!