Don't sweat over it, iPads are an effective tool in PE

Shaun Allison

Shaun Allison is Deputy Head at Durrington High School, a large and successful comprehensive school on the south coast ...

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Reflecting on her year long ‘Learning Innovator’ project, Physical Education teacher Lizzie Wolstenholme investigates different apps for the iPad to determine which ones are most effective at helping students to learn new sports skills, such as the backhand in tennis. One particular app proves that iPads can be beneficial in providing an opportunity to replay students' technique and compare it with the teacher's in a split-screen synchronisation.

Her evaluations suggest that iPads are incredibly diverse in their application into different subjects, largely down to their portability, high specs and the lengthy extent of the ever-growing, possibly immortal, app store.

When I first took up the role of introducing ICT into our PE department I have to admit, I thought I might be spending the year trying to find innovative ways to use flip cams, stopwatches and televisions.

I now can’t believe how wrong I was. I feel like the many uses of ICT are so vast and that actually, I’m only just scraping the top of the iceberg.

My role so far has involved working closely with two classes, a GCSE Dance group and a Year 9 Gifted and Talented group. These classes have been subject to top of the range ICT access, such as iPods, iPads, Twitter groups and Edmodo as a homework tool.

I first started using these applications and devices in abundance. However I quickly learnt that whenever I use them, I must ask myself, "How are these tools aiding the learning process?". Also, are the students gaining new skills or progressing further because of these being involved? If the answer was no, I stopped using them. I think it it very important before you start using ICT more, to remember that PE is a physical subject and that our main aim is to keep the students active for as much time as we can when in lessons.

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