Pioneering new ideas or changing to new ways of operating takes time. People look at you a little differently and can often expect rapid shift or change in a short amount of time. If this sounds familiar, keep going!
It has taken a while to get really into the trial with my MS HS students. My initial excitement is not waning but it has taken time to work out how we are going to use these devices to really engage student learning and to ensure that they will work. A few notes of the process over the last few weeks:
• iDevices are designed to be configured to iTunes and to keep resources, the idea being that you will own or have 1:1 use and with this comes some issues for ‘class’ sets.
○ Getting information on – this takes time and much planning. I made the decision for ease, to use my home Mac and personal iTunes account, it made sense as I was running a trial, but this may not be appropriate for your PE Dept. To go from a trial programme to an immersion programme we would need to discuss in depth how we were going to get information (apps, videos, documents) on and off the iDevices and if one person/teacher would do this or each teacher do their own. This would also be impacted if we had ONE set for all teachers or if each teacher had 4 or 5 as their personal class sets.
○ Updates to iDevices – iDevices update and need to update regularly – about every week. This involves being plugged into the iTunes account computer (this can be done remotely but the device still needs to be near the computer) and every so often a large update is done (more than 5 hours to download onto each device). My home MAC has 4 USB outlets, so I can update 4 iDevices at once, this would need to be considered for more than 4 how we would have enough USB ports/computer.
○ Syncs – each iPod has to be the same as the other so that if one student uses iPod01 and then iPod03 they can find the apps they were using. This involves checking that the apps are synced and that you are updating apps regularly.
○ Getting information out – students make a video or analysis, now they need to use it. Each video needs to be completed, saved and then remotely accessed by the student, and we need to do this for a class on the set we have. This takes time. I have had my G08 students take Badminton shot analysis, they then save to Drop Box* and I then pick up the videos from my DropBox folder on my tablet, we then put these into the \\data\pe folder for the students to access. Some apps allow you to download through iTunes as well, this may be quicker but still it requires you to download from each device. Air sharing or other such devices might also prove to be quicker but this would need to be investigated.
○ Apps and iPods are fun but…. – there is a pure distraction level to begin with, students want to see what apps we have on the iPods, which music I have put on and check things out and this is great, but I need to be very clear about which apps we are using and how and when and how to save etc. Hopefully after time they will be better at this, but this takes time and needs to be factored into the process of teaching/learning/expectation.
○ Analysis – is important and I am seeing change in technique and in confidence from students, I haven’t measured this in a quantitative study but when I ask the kids what they got from using the iPods they smile at me and converse with discussion about what they do well, where they want to improve or what they found interesting about their technique when they watched it – all new and exciting for them. They are engaged in Peer coaching every lesson, but this takes things to a new level. I have a number of articles, shared by Ken Forde on ICT studies and PE and all are very positive about the importance of students using ICT in PE and their advantages. You can read them here.
○ Changing the way I teach – I am generally someone who is organised but I do like to mix things up when I see where a lesson is heading, this is not always possible if you haven’t got that video or app that would be perfect for this situation. This takes a while to work out.
○ Using the devices – UNIS has spent a small fortune on these devices, I feel a certain obligation to use them, and this has been a pressure on me! I have tried to really get out with them, but this doesn’t work for every lesson and has been hard where staff are not as interested, or where we are out numbered (eg.50 kids to 4 iPods) when team teaching.
○ iPods are not 3G and so we are at the mercy of the network. This means currently that we cannot use them outside on the fields. It is important that we know where they will work if you need internet for your work. Apps and using them are fine, but accessing QR codes or video or uploading/downloading won’t be possible in these places.
○ Theft – I have had one cable stolen – this is another issue to think about, where would we safely put these devices each day, and often they do need to be taken home to work on the lessons apps/videos or to get things to DropBox. Ideally the students could do this in class, but they do need to be monitored for excess videos etc. to watch memory space and also just keeping things tidy. Are they insured at home? Travelling home?
Questions that I am still wondering about:
1. How do we link to an appropriate iTunes store? I am using the Australian store as this is where my home iTunes account is linked. Do we know how this will go? Will we each need iTunes top up cards or linked to a credit card – which store would be optimal for us as a school/department? Is the Vietnamese iTunes store enough for us?
2. Mobile technology requires planning, is our department going to use iPads in place of something they do (eg. screencasting over video clips on our tablets) and will this push ICT futher or will it result in spending more money with little thought for how we get going and use this technology effectively?
3. Who and How will we use PD to really delve deeply and help get people moving and shaking?
At the moment I am using my 4 iPods (5th Generation):
1. G8 Badminton – I have created a unit where we are working our way through levels, we are constantly peer coaching and working on mastering skills. We start our service and shot work next week and I have uploaded 4 exemplar videos onto the iPods into Coaches Eye. Students will film their partner completing the Service levels at the beginning and end (pre and post practice). They will then do a comparison with the exemplar video and the pre-practice shot using the analysis tool in Coaches Eye. We will save these to DropBox and use them in our blog work analysis of our skills. The second one will be our post-practice serve and our pre-service serve and an analysis of the two. Again Drop box and Blog work with this video. Each student will need to film/be filmed and complete the analysis on the App, giving me about 5 students to one iPod. We will complete this for 4 different serve/shots.
2. G9 Track and Field – I took the iPods into my High Jump lessons this week, we used them to take video of 4 students completing high jump. I asked the students to film. I ran the station and gave verbal feedback and then the four filmed students watched their video while the second iPod was used to video the next four students. After the first four had finished watching and chatting, one of them filmed the next four and we rotated. Students were interested in their work and were keen to “see” their improvements. I think that this could have been stronger if I had some exemplar films or the technique written down/pictures for them to see how they could be stronger, but the comments indicated that they are processing what they see themselves doing and this was very strong in terms of performance growth.
3. Track and Field Day – I used Burst Mode and SprintTimer to take some footage of MS T&F day. I photographed kids completing events to make some collages, I think this would be an awesome way to have kids complete technique analysis in stead of snipping clips from video (as I do in G7 at the moment) and they could the make a collage using Comic Life or other to analyse their technique. SprintTimer gives awesome photo finish photos. This allows you to show a photo finish of all sprint or relay races which is a powerful way for kids to share the finish of their race. I think we could have kids who are injured be in charge of this next year. I also think we could have installed Instagram and asked key people to contribute to the day with a specific hashtag to share with each other and the community. I might try to make this work for HS T&F day later in the month.
*DropBox – this is by far the easiest way to get information off of the iPods. I have set up a UNIS account and synced every iPod to it, then the students can save their video work into this account folder. I have access to this from my school tablet and then put the student work into our school network account but this means that they only have access to their work when on campus. We need to think more creatively about this process as we are asking students to do more filming and/or analysis of their video work which would be best done from home (speedier access and we don’t always have time to get tablets out in PE to collect films and I don’t like asking the students to do this for homework while on campus). Ken Forde at WAB (@KenForde) has some creative ideas for using DropBox with his students, he would be someone to talk to about this process as it takes a little while to set up and administer so it would need to be done in advance and checked on to ensure that it would work for us here at UNIS