PE has officially launched as a Leaving Certificate examination subject. The new curriculum heavily promotes the use of technology. We talked to PE, Science and Biology teacher Jimmy Kiernan, who has used tablet technology for seven years in Luttrellstown Community College. Jimmy uses iPad in all aspects of his teaching. Here are his thoughts on the new curriculum and how iPad can be used to optimise it.
The new PE syllabus marks a definite shift towards gearing students for the future. Students are now in charge of storing their school files and portfolios online. This is highlighted in the new PE curricula specifications. Cloud platforms are key to students and teachers storing their projects in an effective, secure, organised and compliant way.
Students need to use ICT for completing projects, peer assessment, analyse and review their own and other students' performance as well. The LCPE curriculum consists of a Physical Activity project (20%) and the Performance Assessment (30%). In my opinion, this is a welcomed move as it decreases the pressure on students in a terminal examination.
Here are some built-in iPad features and apps that have helped me integrate technology into the PE classroom:
The camera is one of my favourite built-in iPad features. It allows you to take slow-mo and time-lapse videos. This allows students to slow down or speed up videos of themselves performing a technique and allowing them to analyse and assess themselves.
Another really cool feature of the camera is its ability to read QR codes without the need of an independent QR code reader app. I have used this feature in designing QR code orienteering courses. Here students locate hidden QR codes around the school in a treasure hunt. They hover their camera over the code and up a question appears for them to solve.
iMovie is iPad’s native app for video creation. Students can import videos and pictures to iMovie and they can add text, audio or music to their clip. This is a valuable tool for PE teachers in showing students how to put together a video at the end of a block of work or while learning a new skill. An example of how to use this app would be to show the progressions of learning a new skill, for example a serve in tennis. The student can make a video documenting how they went from beginner level in the first video to a more advanced technique in a later video. They can also add voice clips and text to highlight where they went wrong and how they went on to correct their technique. This form of self-reflection is a very valuable tool in promoting the students to become more in charge of their learning. Another feature that I find useful on this app is the ability to play two videos at the same time. This can be found in the overlay settings controls and by selecting split screen. A useful way to play before and after videos at the end of learning a new skill.
This is a really great app for analysing techniques and performance. A cool feature of the app is the ability to import videos and slow them down/speed them up. The compare feature is also very useful. This allows you to play two simultaneous videos, which is a really useful tool in aiming to model your technique on your sporting hero. For example, a student can analyse their basketball free throw technique and at the same time compare it to LeBron James’s free throw technique.
This app is very good for the health-related fitness part of the curriculum. It has a vast network of videos for every exercise imaginable. The videos are categorised into the different body parts. The videos have built in pauses that highlight a teaching point for the correct technique. This app is very useful for students who want to design their own fitness programme depending on their fitness goals and it also teaches the names of the exercises and body parts used to perform the exercise.
There are countless different ways to use technology in the PE class. Ultimately, it is up to the teacher to become comfortable using technology and adapt it to suit their students. I hope that you may have picked up one or two things from this article to implement a technological strategy in your PE class.
While teacher training is essential, I know from my own experience, students will know an app before you do, so allow them to suggest ways to use technology in your class and you will learn so much more from them. Have fun!
Follow Jimmy on Twitter now for more tips: @MrJKiernan