Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege to present technology sessions at physical education workshops. The most common feedback I receive from attendees is the amount of technology seems overwhelming and they don’t know where to begin. This is the advice I give them:
- Select one piece of technology you would like to integrate with your classes right away and learn to implement it. Once you feel comfortable using it with your classes, move on to a different element. Avoid incorporating every technological item you find all at once. It can become paralyzing and you may not want to continue.
- Find out what online curriculum your district is using and sign up for a course. Possibilities include Google Classroom, Moodle, Edmodo, My Big Campus among others. Your students will be in the system so setting up your classes in groups will be a few clicks away. You will be on your way to having paperless assessments and a website where parents can see great physical education in action.
- Ask your administrator about a classroom set of IPad’s or laptops. If a new set is not available, ask to borrow. If borrowing is not available ask for a set not being used any longer. Technology is often updated as it improves. Those Ipads and laptops from 4 years ago are now considered obsolete and may have been replaced.
- Look for videos/screencasts on Youtube to show your students before you begin a unit. It is a powerful tool to give your students prior knowledge ahead of skill/gameplay development. Examples of videos/screencasts I show are here: (I made this screencast 🙂 and here.
- Start using bluetooth today! Your phone or my preferred device, the IPOD Touch, has bluetooth. Most current portable sound systems have bluetooth. (My favorite is the ION Block Rocker). Connect them and enjoy wireless music with your classes. Now add a wonderful timer app such as Tune Time (see it in action here) and the engagement in your classes will increase immeasurably. To learn how to set up bluetooth go here.
- Many people are afraid of technology as they fear breaking it. It is difficult to break technology!!! Unless you go the sledgehammer approach :). My point is, when learning to implement new ideas, press buttons. See what they do. Have a vision of what you would like to see, find a tutorial on YouTube or the web, and start pressing buttons.
Technology in physical education is not a new tool but it has been slow to implement in classrooms around the country because of ambivalence and/or fear. It is time to embrace it. The amount of technological tools available is evolving at a rapid pace and it is vital physical educators learn to incorporate them into the classroom for the betterment of our students, schools and profession.
About the Author: Dennis Gildehaus (@DennisinSD) is a middle school physical education teacher at Pacific Beach Middle School in San Diego, Ca.. He’s been teaching physical education for 17 years.