Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I can now view video in my gym on a permanent large screen!

I have always, were possible, tried to use video to assist with student learning and understanding of skill development in sport. However this is not easy when I don't have any sort of permanent viewing screen or data projector in our school gym. To remedy this I have borrowed out a data projector and am now storing it in my office in the gym and have asked the groundsman to assist me putting up a large screen.

Our gym has a mezene floor which is where I now set up the data projector and iPad to project onto a screen made of two white wood panels screwed to the wall. These wood panels are high above the gym floor making it easy for students to view a skill being played through my iPad.

Currently my Year 11/12 students are doing badminton and today our focus was on the smash. I was able to use a clip showing a badminton smash (40 seconds of video) which I had looping on my iPad. As I moved around to each group I was able to direct their attention to the video and talk them through the video, pointing out key aspects of the smash. I then ran them through a simple drill that had me feeding shuttles to the students to smash. It was great to be able direct students attention back to the video during the drill when required. The students watching the drill (2 students) also got to compare aspects of their peers performance to the video. By getting the spectators to verbalise to the person undertaking the drill assisted everyones learning.

Below is a couple of photos showing the largescreen in the school gym. There is only a blue screen up as I had to disconnect my iPad to take the photo. Once properly mounted the screen will be another 80cm higher. The screen is viewable from everywhere on the gym floor and the video can be clearly seen from the furtherest point in the gym.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Athletics - focusing on technique not measurement

At the start of every year I take my students through a unit on athletics, this year it is years 7, 8 and 9. Each year I teach the different events and associated skills and by the end students have recorded times, distances and heights for all events. Along with other observational data I have used those times, distances and heights to generate a grade. This year I have not been getting the students to measure any results. We started last week with their focus purely on developing technique.

Friday, 3 February 2012

If it can't be measured it doesn't count

In the school system, and I would suggest in many other institutions and businesses, we are constantly told that if we can't measure it we shouldn't put it in our long term plans for improvement. We often do the same thing in our classrooms. If we struggle to work out how we can attach a percentage or grade to a students learning we often discount that learning by not reporting on it. My personal opinion is that we have gone too far this way. I agree to be able to measure something and see growth/improvement is very useful. But if we only ever base success around the things that provide numerical data we are missing some very important things. The following quote sums this up nicely. 

"Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts". Albert Einstein

Schools need to be careful that they do not discount things like student well being, mentoring, student motivation, camps, the Arts, recess (in the U.S.A. some schools cut recess), physical activity etc..... in favour of putting more time into the things that are more easily measured and seen as more traditional measures of student success.