Sportplan Trial

I’ve recently been testing out Sportplan’s coaching platform after their recent web update. The software worked well on both my mac and iPad which is good if you are looking to plan sessions on the move. It allows for you to create drill sketches and session plans for a variety of sports and has a vast selection of animated drills to browse within its library. These can be inserted easily into your own session plans with all the detail you’d need to deliver the session (i.e. coaching points)

The video below gives you a preview of the new site.

For coaches looking for a library of animated drills/clips and a simple way of creating professional looking session plans this software is great.

As I understand it you can only create animated drills by purchasing one of the animators available. It is also worth bearing in mind that the software is web based there for internet access is needed to use it. An app is in the making I hear!

Thanks to @SportplanTeam for letting me try out the software.

iPad Workflow’s in PE – Edmodo & Google Drive

From working individually with the iPad and using class sets I have come to realise the importance of having good workflow’s for exporting work from various apps to a central resource that can be shared with a variety of individuals. For this I use two tools, namely Edmodo and Google Drive


A while back I posted on workflow’s for using Edmodo with coacheseye  as a way of students exporting work from the iPad at the end of lessons so that it can be accessed in the future by the student, their peers and/or teacher. For individuals who do not use Edmodo, it is now possible to export from a range of apps straight into Edmodo or via the photo roll. This is a great feature for schools that have class sets of iPads/iPods as students can now upload their work somewhere at the end of lessons. Student created Keynote’s, Comic Life creations or Pages publications can now be submitted for assessment by teacher or peers or kept for future reference.

Google Drive

In addition to Edmodo I have also been using Google Drive as a storage option to keep a variety of files organised. The Google Drive iPad app allows you to upload documents easily from your photo roll (I posted here on how we used it within my department to capture good practice) or you can send to google drive directly from many apps. The department has a shared folder within Google Drive which has many sub-folders which all members can contribute to and thus allows documents to be accessed from anywhere at anytime on a variety of platforms.

I have been using Google Drive for administrative and departmental tasks and Edmodo when working with the students however students could upload their work on Google drive also if school’s have the Google apps for Education suite and students have Gmail accounts.

Either way, both tools allow the mobile nature of the iPad to be used to it’s full potential for teachers and students within Physical Education.

Research informed Practice in PE

Using research informed ideas within my teaching has always been something I have tried to do however it can be difficult to access research material unless you are directly involved in academic work through a university. I feel as teachers we should be aware of what current research is suggesting about Physical Education. The Association for PE do provide a termly publication for their members called “Physical Education Matters” which has many ideas, some of which are research based to inspire and enhance delivery of the subject. For an additional cost they also offer the journal “Physcial Education and Sport Pedagogy

However if you like me are looking for a free option!! You must check out Dr Ashley Casey’s (@DrAshCasey) blog  where he is  undergoing a major project, reviewing a research paper a week from the 98 published in “The Major Theme’s in Physical Education” book edited by Professor David Kirk. This really is narrowing the gap between research and practice and can stimulate some excellent discussion from around the globe. This insight into what research tells us about our subject has certainly helped me to reflect upon my own practice and I am grateful to him for the work he is putting into this blog.

Department Developments…

After a very productive departmental meeting I thought I’d share a few thoughts and ideas that we are looking to develop. There have been loads of good things going on in the department and we are now looking to formalise these as well as develop a few more. In order to do this one of my colleagues came up with the idea of recording video footage/snippets of lessons to upload and share with everyone else. We’re lucky to have staff iPads so this will be a relatively simple process! Using video will be a quick way of sharing ideas and discussing people’s thoughts on a variety of teaching and learning strategies.

We then took this a step further by suggesting it would also be useful to share other resources we create be it lesson plans or ideas for conditioned games etc. either as word processed files, presentations of via apps such as explain everything. To enable this we have created a file in Google Drive to share all of our departmental documents, many of which are created with the google apps suite. We are fortunate that the school has adopted google apps for education, giving each member of staff a google drive account with 5GB of online storage. Within the main departmental folder we have a variety of folders, with one being specifically designated for teaching and learning ideas. Here we will have a variety of sub folders for different activity areas, examination subjects such as GCSE, a folder for starters, plenaries and ideas for integrating ICT. Ideas created or discovered can then be placed within this folder which is immediately shared with all, giving access at anytime from anywhere.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

Poor Blogging!!!

Quick note/apology for lack of posts! Really should blog more often however it is something that gets put to the back of the line when things get busy. I feel it shouldn’t be that way however as I am constantly picking up ideas from bloggers who take their time to write and share their great thoughts and ideas. I aim to repay the favour, with the hope that some of my posts are of use!  Am hoping to increase frequency in coming weeks!

iPads/iPods in PE – Practical Workflow with Edmodo

Yesterday I participated in EdmodoCon 2012 (Edmodo’s annual conference). The online conference had a large number of sessions spread over a full day from a number of contributors. I dipped in and out of the conference all day but a session on using Edmodo and iPads in the classroom from Jason Buck (@jasonhbuck), Matt Tobin (@mattytobin) and Matt Spears (@matthewIspears) really got me thinking how powerful combining Edmodo with the iPad or iPod touch could be within PE. In this blog post I’ll give my current thoughts and a workflow idea I’m looking to implement in the new term.

Edmodo can be thought of as a social media interface specifically devised for education. Teachers can create groups for classes, set assignments, upload quizzes, polls and a wide variety of files for students to access. Students can sign up and join groups (once they have a joining code) and participate in the tasks or discussions on going. These tools alone have large scope within PE, especially for examination classes.

The features which excited me yesterday however were to do with the iPad/iPod touch app. The mobile nature of these devices make them ideal for use in PE. The camera feature in combination with apps such as CoachsEye allow students to capture and analyse footage instantly providing meaningful feedback with video evidence. This not only helps students develop their physical skills but also wider skills such as communication & technological.

Much of my previous uses of iPads in PE have involved using the camera feature with @CoachsEye on a lesson by lesson basis. Transferring footage from the devices to a central base for students to access at anytime, anywhere for future evidence or further work has been an issue. Edmodo has now become a solution to this. Once students have captured their footage and done their analysis on @CoachsEye they can export it to the devices photo roll and then upload it to their Edmodo library via the Edmodo app. This can allow a portfolio of evidence to be gathered or further work to be undertaken on the video.

Workflow (for ipod touch)

1. Capture footage using just the camera or @CoachsEye app.

2. Export footage to device’s photo roll

3. Open Edmodo app

4. Click Library icon

5. Click add icon (top right corner) to open the add screen. From here click album to open your photo roll. Alternatively you could open the camera and capturestraight into edmodo.

6. Video/Photo is now in the students library and exported from the device.

7. You should ensure students delete any footage no longer required from the device to save space, and also that they sign out of their edmodo accounts as they will remain logged in.

If students are using iPads they will be able to write a post and attach their video so all the group (created by teacher) can see. This can also be done from a laptop or PC.

One idea I had for using this workflow was with my GCSE PE group during the fitness testing unit. I plan to get students to create video protocols for each test (a how to… video for agility, power tests…). Once completed these could be uploaded to their Edmodo and shared. Once shared groups can assess other groups videos ensuring they have the correct protocols.

I think the combination of Edmodo and the iPad/iPod touch can be invaluable for PE. It can allow students to capture, analyse and export work anywhere and at anytime.

I’d love to hear if anyone else is using or planning to use this set up or something similar. Comments welcome…

Cricket Scoring on iPad

If you’re fed up of umpiring whilst holding a giant scorebook like many PE teachers in UK find themselves around this time of the year then you must check out NX Cricket Scoring app for iPad

This is my second year of using the app and I’ve found it easier than a scorebook and it gives much more information instantly. During or after the game you can see run rates, manhattans, wagon wheels, partnerships, strike rates and much more. In a few clicks at the end of the game these can all be uploaded to a website or blog in pdf format for students to view. This can help them to analyse their game and further their understanding of the game. I’ve been uploading to our department website then informing students via the departmental twitter account that the information is available for download.

I’d recommend trialling before using it in a key game to become familiar with the buttons/keys before hand.

Teamwork Presentation

Here are the slides from a recent presentation I was part of at the National College for School leadership “Tomorrow’s Heads” conference. My part of the presentation was mainly focussed around technological tools we use as a department to enhance our teamwork and collaboration. However I did begin with some aspects of what we consider make a successful team. In this post I’ll briefly outline some of the commentary that went with the slides.

The first slide contains lots of elements we as a department considered make a successful team. We also outlined that although we consider the phrase “there’s no I in team” true – we also believe that within every successful team, creative, hardworking individuals should be allowed and encouraged to flourish. As a department we have a mission statement that we aspire to and a set of values that we aim to follow and install in the students-photos of these are shown.

The presentation goes on to look at many of the technological tools we use to enhance team working and collaboration. Our department website was discussed first as this provides the central base for staff, students, parents and the wider community to access a wide variety of information. Social media in the form of twitter and Facebook are then discussed. As a department we have a twitter account which all staff can tweet from. This is automatically set up to post to the departments web-site (twitter feed widget) and Facebook page. This ensures messages reach as many students as possible-with or without the need for social media. At the end of most weeks is used to create a weekly round up of the weeks events. This creates a newspaper of all the weeks tweets from all staff, from results, match reports to suggested a level reading.

Blogging has been used with our A level students and staff are provided with blogs so they can post information for lessons as they see the need. with an Edublogs account up to 50 accounts can be created.

The department also has an Audiboo account which staff can upload to, mainly via their iPhones. This allows the quick creation of podcasts for students, often to recap topics covered in lessons.

Some uses of google docs were then discussed including our use for collaborating on spreadsheets for recording data such as that from fitness testing. Also for BTEC work marking and moderation-staff mark work shared from students using the comments feature and this can be shared with an internal verifier for comment.

The “PE in the 21st Century” slide outlines some of the other tools we as a department use.

Finally the presentation contains some tweet replies I received in prep for the talk. I asked the question “what are the best tech tools for enhancing teamwork and collaboration”

Thanks for the replies.

Exerise Tracking in PE (part 2-list of apps)

I posted a while back on using Map my Fitness to track exercise levels in PE. In trying to find the best tool for the job I’ve put together a list of apps & programmes that might be of interest. I’m currently working my way through trying them out.

1. My Fitness Pal – this app monitors your progress toward a weight goal by tracking your exercise and diet. This might be a great tool for examination level (GCSE, BTEC) to aid the learning of nutrition, energy balance and training.

2. Adidas MiCoach – allows cardiovascular work to be logged with their app. They’re extending its use to football boots now too. 

3. Runkeeper – My favoured app for recording my personal cardiovascular training. I’ve tried it with students in school and it works well given its ease of use however students were unable to sync their runs to their accounts. I think this was due to the school system blocking their server. I’m  looking into resolving this issue. Combining this app with the Strongerapp programme allows students to log other types of training too (e.g. resistance training). They then get a full timeline of activities undertaken.

4. Nexercise – this app rewards you for exercising by giving you points which earn you unlockable badges/bonuses. The app detects movement and uses a timer to work out when your exercising.

5. Endomondo – I had this app on my iPhone but had missed it untill @mrrobbo made me aware of it once more. This allows all activity to be logged either via their site (manually) or their app (GPS compatible). The app is free however there is a pro upgrade for further features. On initial look this looks a great tool as it allows activities to be logged manually (so students can do it outside of lesson time if it is not possible in PE lessons) or automatically, using the app.

When trying the apps out I feel the following are important features if they are to be implemented in a school based setting:

  • An ability to log activities via app on handheld device and online
  • GPS to log runs/cycles (which will sync to students accounts in and out of school)
  • A simple log in process, preferably via Gmail (our students have school Gmail addresses)
  • A wide variety of activities available to be logged (large list of sports, resistance training and cardiovascular activities)
  • A quick and simple process for logging activities (possible with the option to input more detail e.g. reps, sets, HR…)

As always-would be great to hear if anyone else has tried some of these tools and what you feel are important features for an exercise/activity tracker.

Audiboo for GCSE & A Level PE

Just a quick post on my recent use of Audiboo. I’ve been looking for a tool which would allow me to create short & sharp podcasts for students to listen to as a quick revision of certain topics. Audiboo has been perfect for this. It’s quick and easy to use iphone app allows you to post within a couple of clicks. It’s perfect for creating & posting “on the go!” You can also post using the Audioboo website on your computer.

I signed in using my department twitter account meaning no extra usernames and passwords are required. Also linking the audioboo account to twitter also means that when a “boo” is created you can automatically post it to twitter. As our twitter account is linked to our facebook page it will appear here too, maximising the number of students it reaches. Initial feedback from students has been positive, many stating it is an easy quick recap on topics covered.

One downside is that a free account only allows 3 minutes of recording per clip and for any more recording time you have to sign up for a pro account which costs £60 per year.

I’ve introduced it to other department members and if they wish to use it I aim to link them to the department account meaning enabling a large resource base to develop on a range of topics. In coming weeks I aim to use it in combination with our class set of ipod touch’s and get students to create their own recap of lessons as a plenary. Other students could then listen to the posts and discuss whether the major points have been covered.

We’ll see how it goes!