Technology in PE has come a long way since I first started teaching. I thought I was pretty hot stuff to have graduated college and found a position in a gym that already had a large boombox with a remote, and a projector I could plug into my personal computer. Technology is constantly moving forward and it’s so hard to keep up. Oftentimes, and especially in an educational setting, by the time you receive it… it is already outdated!
I am blessed to be at a school where technology is a priority; and as teachers, we are expected to use it to help take our students to the next level and keep them current. We have a great IT professional on staff and several knowledgeable faculty members that are passionate about advancing us forward, making it easy for me to implement technology in Physical Education.
How do I use technology in PE?
I love my Apple products: MacBook, iPads, Apple TV, and iPhone. I even have a very old iPod that belonged to my now 6th grade son, that he used when he was 3 years old, for the sole purpose of playing music during stations. I don’t dare update it to the new iOS system because it would no longer be compatible with the app. I am sure there are other apps out there that will do the same thing, in fact I will share some with you later in this post, but some things should just be left alone and are perfect the way they are.
Increasing Efficiency with an Apple Watch
I will say the most favorite addition I have made to our PE program is the use of my Apple Watch. Playing music from Pandora and Spotify during class and having the freedom to move around with my hands has been a game changer for me. I am no longer tied down to a music source or have a remote weighing me down and bouncing around in my pocket! In past years, playing music during an activity and having an announcement come on over the loud speaker was a nightmare! It was like a mad dash to get to the music source quickly, to pause the music, to catch the tail end of the announcement. Often leading to failure, realizing I am not the athlete I once was, and having to radio in, “Can you repeat that in the gym please?” With my Apple Watch, as soon as the loud speaker beeps, it’s an easy lift of my wrist to pause the music from anywhere in the gym. Ah, the simple things that bring joy to a PE teacher.
Another great thing I can control with my Apple watch is the use of Keynote, Apple’s version of PowerPoint. I can have a presentation displayed on our projector and run slides during a lesson or activity. My watch allows me to control the lesson and move about with my students freely and not have anything in my hands. Such a great teaching tool.
There’s an App for Everything!
I use my iPhone a lot to manage my class. There is an app for literally everything and a variety of apps for PE teachers. Our gradebook system, RenWeb has an app that is user friendly and easy to input grades on the spot. Genius! I used to wait until the end of the day or try my best between classes to enter grades, but now it’s simple, quick and able to get done during their warm-up time.
In Texas, we have state standards for every subject called TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills), there’s an app for that! It makes lesson planning easy and simple to look up the different TEKS per grade level.
Other apps that I use often are music apps Pandora and Spotify, but also Tempo SlowMo which allows to me to slow down or speed up music for the perfect tempo needed. Tabata PRO helps keep our class going during Tabata exercises with signals and voice commands. I can also pull in music to make it more enjoyable for students.
Interval Timer- Go Fit Now is a free physical education app that is completely customizable and used for interval training. There’s tons of apps like this one, but I like this app over the others available because I can create workouts and put in my own exercises.
A more advance assessment app that can be used especially when coaching athletes is Coach’s Eye. This app allows you to film a student’s skill performance and put it into slow motion. You can even draw on top of the video to help correct form, etc. It’s great for student/athlete feedback.
ClickBall: I stumbled upon this app this morning, when I realized one of the apps I wanted to share with you is no longer available on iTunes: iRef-Kickball. I was sad at first, but after playing with this new app, I do like it a lot and is a good replacement. In the back of my mind though, I am thinking, “I bet it’s still on my son’s old iPod.” This app is great for various games to help keep track of outs/balls/strikes, etc. There are so many other apps out there, apps for scoring, apps for timing, apps for generating random teams. I could go on… In fact, we introduced even more Physical Education apps in another PEblog here.
There’s always something new and great out there in way of technology. Years ago, I planted a seed in my administrator’s head about adding a jumbotron in our gym. I was laughed at for my excessive dreaming. Hey, go big or go home, right? I know I am over the top, but that’s what makes me who I am, and why our program is so successful. Each year, I water that seed a little more and talk about the great uses in PE and how great it would be to use during sporting events. How the advertisements and marketing spots alone would pay for the cost of it and bring in profit every other year afterwards. I am very close folks; I can envision it in our gym next school year. I am excited to say, we are currently in the process of getting quotes for large TVs to channel together to create our very own video wall. It’s cheaper than you’d think, and vendors in your community will want to advertise on it.
Curious what’s on your technology wish list. Please share with us in the comment section below!