What’s your REACTION with the iPod Touch?

The iPod touch has become an invaluable tool for use within Physical Education. The camera has many uses and combining it with the Sportscam app allows for detailed performance analysis. One idea I’ve recently used is to use the app to measure reaction times when delivering the topic to my Year 12 A/S PE students.

I used the app to help students learn basic definitions for reaction time, movement time & response time. I got them to film each other sprinting in reaction to a clap stimulus. By filming the clap in the background, students were then able to measure reaction time by calculating the time from onset of stimulus (hands of clap together) to the initiation of movement (student pushing against the floor). The app allows footage to be played in slow motion and frame by frame (see buttons in screenshot below).

After this I introduced a new activity where there were 4 stimulus and 4 possible responses. On various hand signals the student had to sprint in a certain direction. Reaction time was again calculated and recorded. The results revealed that increasing the number of stimulus-response alternatives increased reaction time. Reasons why were discussed and Hick’s Law introduced. Anomalies were also discussed. Most were caused by anticipation of the stimulus which is also part of the syllabus and thus further enhanced student learning.

I felt teaching the topic through practical using the technology available made it more engaging for the students whilst also allowing them to experience the topics being discussed. One drawback was the fact that the app only allows time gaps of 0.03 secs to be measured so accuracy of timing is limited, however for the purpose of introducing reaction time and explaining Hick’s law it did suffice.

2 responses to “What’s your REACTION with the iPod Touch?

  1. Hey… great post. I too am using the sportscam app, well a sister version called swingreader but it does the same thing. We at the Springfield’s Academy have only had the IPod touches since the beginning of November so we are feeling our way. The focus for this term is really to get used to using the IPods and to come up with a set of user guidelines for the students at school One big thing for us this term was using the swingreader app to provide feedback and we actually came up with a neat phrase…. quality film = quality feedback.
    Pupils take 3 clips of a partner performing and then sit down and discuss which 2 clips to delete and which 1 clip to keep. the ensuing discussion lead to some good self and peer evaluation not only about the quality of the video but the quality of the movement/skill too. Embryonic stages but fun nonetheless.

    check out my blog and see what you think?

  2. Pingback: The search for the Physical Edcation Network | Education Arcade

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