Firstly, I would like to say that I love finding cool wordles on the internet, but if I use them, I must give due credit. The one you see in this blog post came from Sunil Mantri from the Norsee Manji School of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai. To me the wordle sums up technology and education so well and kind of sets the tone for this blog post.
What should come first, the pedagogy or the technology? This is a great question to reflect on, especially for those #physed teachers signed up for the Innovation and Technology learning theme in the new PEPLC project. For those of you that have been keeping up to date with the latest info related to PEPLC, you will know that the Asia-Pacific learning teams are now in place and will begin to formulate a plan as to when to start their google hangout meetings for this professional development journey.
I am so lucky to have had some great discussions regarding the direction of PEPLC with Dr. Ash Casey, senior lecturer from the University of Bedfordshire in the UK. He is personable, well-informed, and passionate about how to properly deliver quality PE (he blogs regularly here). Ashley will be introducing the Innovation and Technology learning theme by video over the next couple of weeks. The plan is for all Innovation and Technology groups to use Ashley’s introductory video as an initial resource and reference point to begin their learning journey together. In the video, Ashley will touch upon major considerations that each group must reflect on when evaluating their current stance on innovation and technology in regards to their teaching practice. In no way is the introductory video meant to prescribe a specific journey or direction that the innovation and technology learning teams should take. It is meant more to get each team critically thinking about the use of technology as it relates to the pedagogical needs of our students.
Ashley was asked to present a similar theme at an educational conference in Turkey last year. He sent me through the keynote that he had used for his presentation. I took a lot of time to go through it and I must say that my views on innovation and technology were immediately challenged for the better. Although I felt I had a decent grasp on the the importance of innovation and the use of technology when most appropriate in our instruction, Ashley’s keynote made me reflect on a much deeper level about the topic.
A fantastic analogy from Fletcher, 2006 that Ash used in his keynote regarding the use of technology in our instruction. I would like to ask what we, as PE teachers, can take away from this quote?
When you go to the hardware store to buy a drill, you don't actually want a drill, you want a hole, they don't sell holes at the hardware store, but they do sell drills, which are the technology used to make holes. We must not lose sight that technology for the most part is a tool and it should be used in applications which address educational concerns.
As the PEPLC innovation and technology teams push forward with their important discussions and learning, it becomes even more critical to evaluate and reflect on our current use of technology within our instruction in order to determine the effectiveness of our approach.
In no way am I saying that we are not using it properly at the moment. I have read and stayed on top of some great innovators in PE on Twitter (Joey Feith, Nathan Horne, Brendan Jones, Kelly Ann Parry, Jarrod Robonson, Mel Hamada and Ken Forde to name just a few).
I only ask that you consider, with a critical eye, how the use of technology can be enhanced in our PE programs in order to improve student learning. Thanks to Ashly Casey for his excellent keynote on the use of technology and its implications, both positive and negative on instructional practices in PE.
As we near the end of the school year here at the Nanjing International School in China, my grade 3 students have begun a Target Games unit. To introduce them to the unit, I had them take part in a number of different activities that essentially focused either on throwing or kicking a beanbag toward a target. I also let them use numbered dots and throw these dots frisbee-style toward different targets around the gym.
They could choose any targets they wanted, short, medium or long distances. What were these targets? I actually had them select different shapes made by intersecting and paralell lines on the gym floor. Badiminton court lines (single and doubles), volleyball court lines, and basketball court lines. When you look at all of these lines, lots of different shapes are formed; small and large squares and rectangles, circles, semi-circles, and other odd-shapes. Any shape that they selected served as targets. It was a very differentiated way to introduce target games as they could select any shape they wanted. If they wanted a close, big target no problem! If they wanted a far, small target, again no problem.
Once they had a while to practice on their own, I teamed them up with a partner and they had a target games match against one another. Partner A would select a target and a way to advance the object of choice toward a chosen target. For example, they could have selected a bean bag to throw or the numbered dot to frisbee throw. Once they got their chosen object into the desired target, both partners compared how many attempts it took. If they tied, both received a half point. If somebody was able to get their object into the target in fewer attempts, they received a full point. Partner A and B switched up in choosing a method of delivery and the target.
During the class, we paused several times to discuss what they already knew about target games. I recorded their initial thoughts on a poster-sized piece of paper that was stuck to the wall ahead of time. I also recorded what they need to know in Target Games. Their answers, in general, aligned with what the student learning outcomes for the Target Games unit are. Next class, I will introduce these learning outcomes to the students and set them off designing ways to improve upon their aim and accuracy and methods of delivery. I hope that it will be a rewarding unit for them. Fingers crossed!!
In order to successfully launch the #PEPLC network worldwide, the focus over the next few weeks will be on soft launching in the Asia-Pacific region first. The plan that we have in place is that each learning team will have a learning leader to help facilitate discussion within their group. These learning leaders will send out the initial group email to each of the members signed up and lead the way over the first few weeks. It is important to understand that we will have a system in place to help each learning team along the process of engaging in important discussion, setting goals, sharing these goals, implementing strategies to hopefully improve teaching practice, and trying to define authentic ways to measure the effectiveness on student learning. We are lucky to have a number of distinguished university lecturers as part of the PEPLC network. In consultation with each of them, we have identified that they can best serve the needs of the PEPLC network by providing the most current, evidenced-based research to support each of the 5 learning themes; innovation and technology, assessment, instructional models, leadership and mentoring, and curriculum and planning. The new PEPLC website was made public yesterday and will serve as a platform for all of this research to be stored. The idea is that all of the learning teams, regardless of region of the world, can access peplc.net to gain access to this research. As learning teams meet, they can make decisions regarding how to use this important research related to physical education. In order to give more direction for each group to begin their learning journeys, we have the added bonus of having each of the 5 themes being introduced on video by key educators in the PEPLC network. The purpose of these introductory videos for each theme is to give guidance, provide answers to some thought-provoking questions, and most importantly to set parameters regarding how best to run each of the learning sessions on Google Hangout. Who will be introducing each of the 5 themes? Have a look below. A great line up to push each theme off in the right direction. The first introductory video in Curriculum and Planning will be posted soon on peplc.net and be done by Dr. Amanda Stanec and Dr. Doug Gleddie. We continue to ask for your patience as we set up the PEPLC network step-by-step. It is so important to get this right and ensure that a solid infrastructure is in place as we begin. If you are a PEPLC member, it is essential that you also keep abreast of the latest information on the peplc.net or on my blog here. Thanks!
It brings me great professional satisfaction to introduce the very first PEPLC learning groups. This group will be led by an excellent #physed instructor who has workshop leader experience and blogs regularly here. Ken Forde, a PE instructor from Western Academy Beijing, is going to help in getting this first learning group off the ground. I would like to thank Ken for accepting this role. It is huge in a sense as there will no doubt be some initial obstacles to overcome. Ken will oversee the group and be a troubleshooter should obstacles arise. One important consideration in forming the groups is that it is logistically impossible to give everyone the exact learning themes that they requested. However, the goal is to provide people with up to 75% of the themes they had selected. Should you not have one of the themes you wanted, please take initiative to contact one of the groups that have selected the learning theme you would like and make contact with that group. Should there be room in their study group, you can make plans to join if you like. However, your initial learning group should be your main priority. Thanks for your understanding here.
If you are a part of PEPLC and are reading this blog post, please understand that we can all learn from how this first group goes about their business. I will be introducing other groups today and over the next couple of days for the Asia-Pacific region only. We feel as though it is best to launch each of the regions one by one over the next several weeks. The very best of luck to Ken Forde and this other 9 group members that can be seen below.
Thanks to my friend and colleague @marinagijzen for posting, on Twitter, an excellent video today about the 5 keys to social and emotional learning. Although the video is not PE specific in nature, after watching it, I could make immediate connections to how social and emotional learning play pivotal roles in quality #physed classes. When we look at how often students are required to work together during PE time, social and emotional learning should be addressed whenever possible. There are numerous ways to address the following 5 keys to social and emotional learning in PE classes. As a PE teacher, how do you address these key areas? Would love to hear your thoughts.
What place in PE do you see these 5 key areas fitting? Does focusing on these 5 key areas enhance the quality of our PE programs or water them down? Addressing these areas, in my opinion, requires collaboration with classroom teachers and must be thought about well ahead of time when planning. Thanks Marina Gijzen for stimulating some much needed reflection and thought on my part in regards to how I can better address these areas in my PE classes. Please see video below to know more about the 5 keys to social and emotional learning.
I just wanted to thank Nathan Horne, from iPhys-ed.com for the time he has put into the behind the scenes work with getting the PEPLC website up and going. We will launch the website soon, but before we do, we want to be sure that most things are well in place before making it public. Kelly Ann Parry is another person I would like to thank for getting the PEPLC vision up and going. She has been a constant sounding board for me and shares the same passion that I do about this project. She is very much a big part of the PEPLC website as we launch it very soon.I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the PEPLC Steering Committee. This project is going to be made much more professionally rewarding by having these excellent educators aboard. Selecting a steering committee for a project of this magnitude requires much consideration and we feel as though this group brings a multitude of skill sets to the table that will enhance the overall quality and depth of learning that will take place in the arena of physical education.
As good teaching practice is made even more effective when backed by the most current research available, the decision was made to balance the steering committee with both university-based educators and PE teachers from both secondary and elementary schools (public and private in nature). The aim of this project is to create long-term sustainable change to practices within professional development in PE. I think we are already off to a great start!
So happy to have this bunch leading the way for PEPLC.
Dr. Ashley Casey
University of Bedfordshire, UK
Kelly Ann Parry
Lecturer of Physical Education
University of Wollongong
New South Wales, Australia
Dr. Dean Dudley
Health and Physical Education Lecturer
Charles Sturt University
New South Wales, Austraila
PYP PE Teacher
International School of Singapore
Physical Educator Founder
PYP PE Teacher
Nanjing International School of China
Dr. Amanda Stanec
Owner and Consultant ABLE
St. Louis, Missiouri
Head PE Teacher: PDHPE
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
Dr. Doug Gleddie
University of Alberta, Canada
Elementary PE Teacher of the Year
PYP PE Teacher and Sports Coordinator
As we are nearing closer to the launch of the Physical Education Professional Learning Community PD project, we understand that there may be a number of #physed teachers signed up for PEPLC who may be unsure of how to access and/or use Google Hangout. iphys-ed founder and PEPLC steering committee member, Nathan Horne, has taken the time to create an instructional video that goes through the process of creating an account and navigating through Google Hangout. Google Hangout is not so tricky to use, but it would be worth it for you to watch this informative video and begin to practice using it ahead of the actual launch date of the PEPLC project. Doing so will ensure that any logistical issues you may have with using Google Hangout can be dealt with ahead of time hopefully creating a smooth start for everyone involved. Thanks to Nathan Horne for getting this instructional video done for our PEPLC network. More PEPLC updates coming soon!
With each passing day the Physical Education Professional Learning Community continues to be developed behind the scenes. As logistical issues pop up, we are working our way through how best to set up this network to ensure long term success. Earlier today I had a skype meeting with Dr. Doug Gleddie from the University of Allberta regarding PEPLC. Doug has kindly agreed to help out in whatever way that he can and to sit on the initial committee overseeing the implementation of the program. Doug brought up a very good question which was directed at how pre-service teachers could be involved in the PEPLC project. I have received similar questions from other university professors who have signed up for the network as well.
What we discussed was setting up a mentoring program not only for pre-service teachers, but also PE teachers, in general, who are new to the profession. I believe that PEPLC is the perfect avenue to set up a mentoring program of this sort as there are a number of experienced teachers signed up for the network who I am sure would be willing to serve as mentors.
If you are a pre-service teacher reading this blog post and are interested in being mentored, please drop me an email to express interest and I will add your name to a list. This goes for new teachers as well. If you are new to the profession and are looking to connect with a mentor, let me know (email@example.com). Spread the word to others who you think may be interested.
As a pre-assessment task in adventure challenge, I had my kindergarten students help me to identify what they felt were important elements of working together. Through some simple cooperative games, we had an ongoing discussion about how we can work together well in order to accomplish a task successfully. Although kindergarten students' attention span is relatively short, they were still able to identify 4 key elements to working well together in groups. The 4 they came up with were:
I recorded some of their ideas about how they worked well together and will keep this poster up for the unit as I am doing in adventure challenge as well. Continually adding their thoughts as the unit progresses will hopefully reinforce the essentials related to working successfully together on teams. The picture below shows some of the ideas that they came up with. Simple in nature but I could see that the students were tuned into the activity which was good.
We are moving into an invasion games unit to end the year off in PE in my grades 2 and 4 classes. To introduce the unit, I played a number of simple attack and defend space type games in yesterday's classes. In between these activities, I was asking my students to have a think about which skills are essential in order to be successful when attacking and defending space. As I aim to create lots of visuals in order to show a progression in student learning, I recorded their thoughts and ideas on a poster sized piece of paper that is located on the gym wall.
We will continue to add ideas to this poster as the unit unfolds with all classes doing the invasion games unit contributing to this visual. Please see the initial ideas that my students came up with. The main focus of this unit is developing the students' understanding of the concepts and benefits of teamwork, game spirit, and basic tactics and strategies in games, so much of the visual learning taking place will address these themes. Seems like we got off to a great start yesterday.