iPod Trial,  Teacher Reflection,  Technology in PE

All teched up, where to from here?

ultra-modern Cabot PlaceUltra-modern Cabot Place by UGG boy UGG girl licensed CC BY

Last post on our iPod Trial at UNIS…

The school year is almost done and so finishes our iPod trial in the MSHS. Before I go into the end products, it is important for me to thank Ed Gilbreath and the Tech team (especially Mr Long) for the opportunity to trial mobile tech in PE and for my own professional growth and learning during this process. I would also like to thank Clint Hamada for his never-ending patience and wise sage-like advice at times of despair and for sharing our home computer with 4 iPods and related issues.  And thanks also to Jarrod Robinson, Ken Forde, Alex Thomas and Blake Kampen and countless other Innovative Tech PE Teachers I have met along this journey.

To sum up here I will go through the reflection questions put out originally from the Innovative Grant Committee:

Do you think your project was a success?

Yes. I believe that the use of mobile technology was successfully for PE teachers. I have been able to make more efficient use of my time by accessing work easily in PE environments (using my iPad 3G) and update information, share videos, run music, input data or take attendance, make screencasts and save to Dropbox etc. and this has meant I am able to do more and share more easily. I have moved most of my teaching into cloud space, Google, Dropbox, WordPress etc and have moved away almost entirely from the tablet based programs, this has meant a lot of re-thinking of where things are put and how we access them, but the payoff has been worth it. The challenge is being prepared with your iDevices and also having the relevant tech ready to go (eg. Reflector on/TV ready/ apps on iDevices/ space created for saving movies etc/ music on each iPod etc) and this is a big mind shift for many of us.

From a student perspective, there are positives and negatives. It was great to have the students use the iPods for sharing instant feedback in units, the G09’s in High Jump looking at technique and analysis was very powerful. The comparison of Adrian Hubbard’s Badminton serve to student serving was great for the students to discuss the differences and note the points as peer coaches and athletes and having this projected onto the TV’s in the Sports Centre gave a very powerful and large view of work. There are so many apps and ways we can move kids forward! Limitations included not having enough devices for student screencasting or sharing (1/5 was too few in many activities) and in some places we need to ensure that the students are losing movement or physical activity for tech purposes. I believe with practice we will find this natural balance between tech and activity and as the bandwidth improves and we become better practiced, this will be easier.

Tech adds time no matter what you do with it. It is important to think about what tech will be important or is important in PE and health classes, our job is not just to teach physical activity and concepts about movement or leadership but also how PE and sport are shifting to collection and reading of data. But we don’t have to save or learn about everything in every lesson, so it is important to filter this carefully too. My G08 students found the screencasting in Badminton time consuming and frustrating, but the coaching points and instant feedback very useful. Balance is going to be important here.

Do you think your project can be replicated/scaled?

Yes. I believe this is the way forward for performance based subjects but that the Dept needs to take the time to read and discuss how they are going to use it. Tech is expensive and is updated frequently so we need to be sure that we buy what we need to use and be sure of the apps we are going to use and how they will enhance our classes. iPods are fun and add an element of fun to the class, but we need to know that they are adding, not disrupting or taking from our curriculum. I know that there is a big movement around Game centred learning, and the iPods add to this too. I would also look at the class schedule – having 2 big G09 classes at the same time limited how much we could use 4 iPods (for 55 kids) in that double class. But having 20 G08 students was much more accessible.

If we are moving into the PE Dept we need to look at the logistical mess this creates for UNIS, I have blogged about this in a previous post/s. The Tech dept will be very busy! I know that we would need to address many issues and discuss cloud platforms, managing mobile devices at school and look at good teaching and learning and PD for staff to see greater success too.

Do you think your project is accessible to all students and teachers?

I believe that the MSHS and ES/ECC PE faculties would find this technology accessible for many reasons but it would require time and some reading and preparation before spending any more money. I think that it would need to be incorporated into classes of teachers that are ready and keen to work on this in the time that UNIS gives (or not), you need to have passion about this, it doesn’t always work and it does take a commitment of time, energy and discussion with your peers and students to see success. I have read lots of articles, worked with other teachers in the development of our trial and been a part of some great twitter discussions : #pechat #pegeeks #physed about iPad and iPod trials. I think that sending some of the PE dept to further PD training on iPads or iDevices in schools would be a great step forward too. But I will add that I have been frustrated at not using the iPods more frequently, other faculty weren’t as excited and thought they might take-away from the program and this has been a difficult ride for me too.

There is no reason why other departments or faculties wouldn’t get something out of mobile technology in their classrooms, there are 1000’s of apps designed for Education and iTunes and Developers offer great Educational discounts for multiple purchases. However I do think that subjects like PE and Arts that are mobile and performance based, that have visual clues and cues would gain the most from the screencasting and instant feedback that are offered here.

I am looking forward to my new school in Yokohama and the continued use of iPads in PE. I hope that UNIS PE will continue to migrate towards mobile technology as I do believe this is the way forward. So long and thanks for the learning!


  • mhamada

    Natasha, http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/ This program when installed on your computer/tablet and you have your iDevice on the same network as your computer, allows you to show your iDevice screen wirelessly on your computer. So if I have my computer plugged into my projector or TV screen and then run Reflector, I can show my iDevice screen to students from anywhere in my Gym or classroom. this has been awesome for sharing in classes – student or teacher – as we work in lessons. Hope this helps!

  • mhamada

    Blake, thanks for the read and your questions!
    1. I ran and owned the trial as an independent study but worked with one other MSHS teacher (Simon Mills) and an ES/ECC PE teacher as well. The three of us had been to Jarrod Robinson’s PE Geeks workshop in Yokohama and had a vested interest in this trial. However, I applied and got the funds/iPods and ran it with my classes. I have blogged and given feedback to those interested in my dept and in the Tech dept (they funded it) as this is a big issue/discussion point at our school.
    2. misuse. No. I didn’t have anything on the iPod that might cause issues. I took in all devices as I needed to take them home to use my home mac/iTunes account so was able to check them. We have a ‘responsible use agreement’ with our 1:1 tablet program so I referred to this if any issues – but nothing happened. They knew what they needed to do and with the reflector program up, it was clear who had which iPod and I was around. We have used cameras in our classes for a few years now, so this was just a new format for the work we did. We have had lots of discussion on bullying and cyber bullying so this is not a new point for us.
    Let me know if you have any more questions.

  • Blake

    Hey Mel,
    Nice reflection and summary of your trial. A couple of questions;

    – Were the other PE teachers in your dept involved in the process?
    – Did you have many problems with ipod misuse? How did you deal with this ? Reactively or proactively, ie ‘ipod use rules’

    Totally agree that as the tech speeds up, life for mobile tech teachers will ease. Great work!!

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