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.