PE

Talk to pupils about their sporting heroes and they always seem interested and engaged. Combine that with interactive demonstrations of their training methods using real scientific kit (that also enables them to see the consequences of poor lifestyle decisions) and you really do have a captive audience.

Buying the right classroom and PE equipment is like a full-time job – especially when the National Curriculum changes or the Government weighs in with initiatives promoting healthier eating or sports in schools. While most teachers are familiar with organising classroom supplies, it’s quite another matter to apply for separate national funding and then get best results from the new resources that they have acquired for their school.

How do teachers in different subjects view PE? Elliot Simmonds of VoicEd has, along with his peers, been conducting research into this very subject.

In light of the fact that this summer has seen a World Cup, Wimbledon, test cricket and a Home Nations Commonwealth games, my colleagues and I have recently completed some research with teachers to understand their opinions around just how important sport is in the classroom. That report will be published soon, but I wanted to give Innovate My School readers a bit of a preview, and to talk around some of the issues we feel it brings up.

There is a sport for everyone; that’s my strong belief. But reaching students who seem to have no interest in sport, or who are clearly disillusioned by PE at school, is nevertheless a challenge that requires real energy and innovation.

Modern edtech advancements are getting lots of use in STEM subjects, as well as the likes of English and the performing arts, but how is PE getting the most out of this technology? Brian Bennett, a teacher turned academic customer solutions engineer at TechSmith, discusses how video tutorials are being used alongside the whistle.

Keeping students engaged during lesson time is one of the greatest and oldest challenges for any educator. To boost student motivation and engagement, teaching methods are having to evolve and move away from traditional approaches within the classroom. One notable development has been the introduction of technology. Most subjects are incorporating digital resources in order to harness young people’s interest in technology. For example, physical education classes are incorporating mobile technology as a means of improving class involvement and enthusiasm.

Sport provides children with much more than stronger and fitter bodies. Sport can help to engender a healthy body image, in a generation that we are only too aware is under a lot of pressure to be a certain shape and size. I believe that sport also has a huge impact on positive self-esteem.

As recently demonstrated in Richard Spencer’s Boogie Biology article, students have a blast shimmying their way through different subjects. Composer and educator Brian Madigan discusses the opportunities given by a classroom foxtrot.

I was lucky enough to spend the recent half-term break with my family and some friends on the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales, which I can heartily recommend for its stunning landscapes, friendly welcome and abundant wildlife.

What can pupils get out of studying space travel? Teachers and organisers are teaming up in order to help students discover the cosmos, as well as giving insight into the working lives of astronauts. Kulvinder Johal, assistant headteacher at Northbury Primary School in Essex, recounts her experiences with Mission X over the last 18 months, and discusses how it has benefitted her pupils.

If you had told me two years ago that I would be off to Science Learning Centre in York to collect the Space Education Quality Mark - Gold standard, I would have said “What is that? Never heard of it.” Well I have now, and I am off to collect the award and also to present the space work we have undertaken, which has just been out of this world.

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.

The ability to set goals and understand the steps necessary to achieve them is a key skill for secondary school students looking to succeed in life and work. Whether it’s encouraging pupils to discover the desire to improve, to follow their dreams or to learn from their mistakes, having dreams and ambitions can turn young people’s lives around.

It was a skill I learned from a young age growing up in the tough Toxteth area of Liverpool during the 1970s and 1980s. My skateboarding career began by accident when I was on a school trip to Liverpool museum aged 14 and saw a performance by American skateboard team, Hobie. My family didn’t have much money, but I was determined to learn the sport so I built a skateboard from a plank of wood and my sister’s roller boots!

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