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 paper.li 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.

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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!

 

 

 

Exercise Tracking for Schools (Map my Fitness)

Exercise Tracking

I’m currently looking at ways of enabling students to log their exercise as part of a health, fitness and well being unit of work. Tracking exercise activity will enable students to monitor their progress and set regular targets. On researching such software I have come across many tools which are both web based and app based for handheld devices (i.e. iPod touch). One such app is the Map my Fitness app which is part of a family of apps including map my walk and map my run. The following is my opinion on what features of this tool may be for a school based PE programme.

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The app is available on iOS, android and blackberry as well as being web based. This means students could log activities using their own handheld devices or one’s supplied within school if students are not allowed their own devices in school. However they could also log activity using computers in or out of school. This could be beneficial if you are asking students to log all of their physical activity, both in and out of school.

Logging in to the app is a quick and simple process that can be done via email, facebook, twitter or google. Logging in via google is an excellent option for any schools who, like ours, provide students with google passwords. They will have to set up usernames and passwords, and students forgetting/losing these could become an issue! It is also worth noting that if students are using school devices they should log out of their accounts once they have completed their session.

Once logged in you are presented with a home screen which includes a record workout and log workout option (see above photo). The record workout option allows activities such as jogging or cycling to be logged via GPS. This is similar to apps such as RunKeeper. The log workout option allows you to choose from a wide range of activities from football training to a lower body weights option. This process is very simple however if you are doing an activity that is not on their list you can not add your own. The list is however substantial. The simplicity of this process makes it suitable for school use as students could log their sessions at the end of lessons, possibly as part of a cool down. If devices are not available in lessons they could make a not of their activity and log it when they get home. It may be worthwhile noting that weights activities can not be logged by reps, sets and weight lifted so if you are looking for a tool to do this, specific weight training apps such as Viaden Mobile’s Fitness HD or GAIN Fitness might be more suitable. Although many may see this as a negative in terms of tracking exercise progress, at a school level it may be positive as logging activity does not take as long, will not require one device per student and won’t require too much explanation time within limited curriculum time.

The app also has a nutrition section for logging food intake. This would be of particular interest when delivering diet and nutrition to examination level students at GCSE, BTEC or A Level. With regards to these examination subjects this app could be an excellent way of logging exercise as part of students’ coursework.

The software allows synchronisation with a variety of other tools such as nike+, FitBit, Polar and Garmin however I am yet to utilise these.

Map my Fitness also allows users to invite friends to see their progress. Adding a teacher would allow staff to monitor student progress throughout a unit of work. Combing this with a goal setting and rewards programme could provide an extremely motivational environment for students to learn how to exercise for health and fitness benefits.

On the whole the simplicity of this app makes it a very suitable tool for use within school PE programmes. The fact that activity can be logged via an app on a handheld device or the web means it could be done on a lesson by lesson basis, within PSE lessons or at home. If however you are looking for a tool that will monitor details of reps and sets in a weight training or conditioning programme this is not the tool. This, in it’s FREE form is, as it says “on the tin” an app to “Map” your exercise.

 

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.

Using Google Docs in Physical Education

The ability to have several inputs into the same document via google docs has fantastic uses within PE. Here’s a few I’ve used recently which might be of interest.

I’m currently delivering a fitness testing unit to my GCSE students and through creating a google spreadsheet, all students are able to input test results into the class document. In a gym or sportshall environment, students have conducted several tests with a laptop or handheld device at each station. As they complete a test, scores are inputted to the google spreadsheet. This is projected on a screen so students can monitor their and their peers progress.

Secondly, in a recent open evening we used a google spreadsheet to record various challenge results within our gym. (e.g. 100m row on cencept 2 rower) Projecting these results on screen allowed parents and prospective students to view who’d been involved so far and gave the pupils a sense of satisfaction of seeing their scores broadcasted if they wished.

Finally, heart rate data can be collected in a spreadsheet and graphed accordingly during various intensities of exercise. This practical approach to monitoring changes in heart rate during exercise allows students to input their own data and view the class graph for this as exercise is taking place

As always it’d be great to hear what people think and gain some further ideas of how google docs could be integrated in education

Technology in Physical Education

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been presenting on our use of technology within Physical Education. I decided to use a diagram approach to my presentation then discuss each element and its use. Here’s the main slide from the presentation showing the tools we currently use within our subject.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try to post on how we currently use each tool.

It’ll be great to hear some ideas of how others are using these tools within education and also of any other tools that might be worth integrating into our programme.