It all started three years ago when I joined a “PE Geek Workshop”, done by Jarrod Robinson, an enthusiastic educator and true innovator in the PE community. At that time I bought an iPad right before the workshop and I was definitely the dumbest in the room, being exposed to technology in PE and in the same time learning how to use this device. Fast forward to the present: I am doing a presentation about the use of mobile technology in education. Thanks, Jarrod! You can read more about his brilliant work at http://thepegeek.com/ and make sure you don’t miss his webinars or workshops.
Recently, the Supreme Education Council from Qatar offered to our school the opportunity to have some of us present different topics that can impact learning. After an initial application process, the presentations were accepted and we were very excited to face the challenge.
This three days event gathered educators from international and public schools, and it took place at Qatar National Convention Center. The set up was excellent with everything ready in hand.
The title of my presentation was “Mobile Technology In Physical Education”. I have been using iPads and iPhones in my lessons for more than three years now and it feels extraordinary when I see the outcomes of using these tools. With practice it turned quickly into a passion, so I feel comfortable when talking about it.
For almost an hour or so, I have shared with other physical educators the good examples of practice and the challenges I’ve been facing in planning, facilitating or assessing the learning. During the presentation we have inquired into how:
- The power of Twitter is connecting enthusiastic educators from all over the world. I am happy to be inspired by them and to be part of a very strong and growing community. I used an example of how just simply tweeting a topic or addressing a question it will connect you to others’ perspectives.
- Attendance, assessment and behavior can be monitored while students, parents and teachers are involved. The Class Dojo app that I am using is a great tool that can award and record real-time feedback.
- Assessment has never been so exciting for students, educators and parents. Using apps such as Coach’s Eye empowered us with a video recording and analysis tool that we never dreamed of having it 10 – 15 years ago.
- QR codes can be used in a variety of ways with students of any age. I showed the example of a summative assessment done with my Kindergarten students in their stand-alone Adventure Challenge unit. By the end of the unit (8 weeks) they were able to use the iPads and scan QR codes, play and watch a content prepared for them, and also perform the exercise shown in the video.
With everyone present in the room we then scanned QR codes and went through the process of planning an activity and how to use them.
- How to use other apps such as: Coach Note, Stretch It, Spin It, Easy Portfolio, iMuscle, Video Tagger, etc.
It was great to meet with new educators, share the good practice and brainstorm about the ways we can better facilitate learning. I learned about the challenges they are facing – not having enough iPads, Wi-Fi connection or even permission to use photos or videos) and we also inquired about how these challenges offer us the opportunities to experience failure, tension or success, and how they finally lead to a potential growth as professionals.
Our students, the so called “digital natives”, prefer receiving information quickly and from multiple sources. They prefer pictures, sounds and videos before text and they love to interact in “real time”. They also enjoy learning that is instant, relevant and fun and I am very excited when they find meaning in what I have planned for them. It is time consuming preparing a unit and sometimes it takes forever to have a lesson prepared the way I think it will impact my purpose. There is tension when I apply something new with them, but in almost all situations I am blown away about how quickly they can shape ideas, using their imagination and creativity. It is the moment when I feel I am only moderating and I become a learner too! What can be better than this?