Technology in motion

Can ICT improve the teaching of PE? Janet Murray reports on the wired world of the school gymnasium

Physical education is no longer how you might remember it - with demonic sergeant-major types in ill-fitting tracksuits hollering at the fat kids to do another 400 metres and "run off" their exhaustion. It is now one of several National Curriculum subjects at the cutting edge of technology.

Physical education is no longer how you might remember it - with demonic sergeant-major types in ill-fitting tracksuits hollering at the fat kids to do another 400 metres and "run off" their exhaustion. It is now one of several National Curriculum subjects at the cutting edge of technology.

Last month, PE joined the list of Key Stage 3 subjects to go online under the Government's continuing professional development in ICT training scheme. Along with specialists in music, history and citizenship, PE teachers can now select, prepare and teach lessons based on a range of ICT materials, teaching techniques and online tutorials and think through the impact of the lesson with an online mentor.

Teachers are encouraged to explore different approaches, using basic equipment such as pedometers and heart rate monitors. In one lesson, students are required to use a pedometer to measure heart rate, then perform an activity that boosts pupils' aerobic threshold.

ICT has been part of the National Curriculum since 2000. With its emphasis firmly on pupil self-assessment, PE can form the perfect partnership with ICT. At a basic level, ICT has a number of administrative uses in supporting teachers' work, such as lesson planning, fixture lists and assessment records, but using ICT to promote learning is of greater concern.

The use of ICT in PE at Key Stages 3 and 4, became part of the National Curriculum in September 2000. At its most "primitive"- a video camera and video player - students can observe themselves perform a particular skill or watch a perfect performance to help identify areas for improvement. Film clips can be used recap on work from previous lessons or to focus students on tactics in team games. "It's simple, but it really enriches student learning," says Andrew Frapwell, an independent Physical Education and Sport Consultant from Worcestershire. "Students get fed up watching their teacher demonstrate. This offers them some variety and quality feedback. They can actually see what they need to do to improve."

Using ICT in this way is now commonplace in many PE departments - and as links between secondary and primary education continue to grow - in some primary schools. In the last five years, a plethora of hardware and software products for physical education have become available - making it even easier for students to analyse their performance and for teachers to provide students with quality feedback.

At Colne Community College, students are benefiting from Déjà Vu, a computer program from Kandle's Approach to Teacher Support software solution, which delivers instant "action replays" within 30 seconds and video analysis of pupils' sporting performances. The overlay feature allows students to compare current and previous performances or "perfect" demonstrations from their peers, teacher or professional athletes. Graphic tools mean students can draw lines, add shapes, measure angles and distances in order to analyse their performance.

"We use it for indoor sports - gymnastics, trampolining, badminton and basketball," says Michael Pulford, a learning support assistant at the school. "Because students can see what they need to do to improve, it's made a massive difference to performance. I've seen very average C-grade performances shoot up to As. If you want to demonstrate a particular skill, you can bring up a perfect performance, like David Beckham taking a free kick. That goes down well. It's also great to be able to slow things down, look at them frame by frame, which works well for gymnastic routines. It's particularly useful for GCSE and A-level students who know their performance is going to be scrutinised by an examiner. They can see their performance through an examiner's eyes."

At Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in West Derby, Liverpool, staff have seen motivation levels soar since they began using DartTrainer's Dartfish. Like Kandle's Déjà Vu, this software allows for highly professional analysis of physical activity, via digital video. An "overlay" option allows a student's long jump for example to be directly compared to that of a world-class athlete in split-screen mode. Video can be freeze-framed and annotation and text explanations can be written direct to the screen by teachers to improve technique.

"It's a key aspect of our assessment for learning strategy," explains assistant head Mick Daley. "The common perception of PE is that it's somewhere kids can be 'entertained' for an hour, but we want to ensure learning is central to all our PE lessons. Using the software really focuses students - helping them to review, evaluate and improve their performance - skills they can transfer right across the curriculum. We've also used the software to collate clips of student achievement in sports, set them to music and played them in assemblies and open evenings. It's a great way of raising self-esteem and celebrating achievement."

The advent of e-learning credits for schools has made it much easier for schools to acquire ICT resources, many of which were raced out in response to the inclusion of ICT in the National Curriculum in 2000. But because the e-learning credits have to be spent or the money returned, Andrew Frapwell believes many PE departments make hasty purchases. He says: "Resources can remain unused or ideas utilised sporadically with no strategic approach to the effective use of ICT in lessons. An ICT idea will often form the focus of a lesson, rather than planned learning, with the use of ICT as a strategy to promote learning."

The problem was highlighted in the Ofsted subject report for Physical Education in secondary 2002/3, which observed that in many schools, the use of ICT was "inconsistent, irregular and unplanned".

As Frapwell puts it: "Using ICT doesn't make a poor or a good teacher into an average or very good teacher. If ICT use is not grounded in sound teaching and learning practice, then it could make matters worse, for example reducing students' activity time. The key phrase is 'considered use' and consideration has to be strategic."

In practical terms, this might start with the question of whether ICT is to be used by individuals, the whole class, or groups of pupils - and if so, which ones. As Michael Pulford says: "With the performance analysis software, most students respond well to seeing themselves on screen, but some hate it. They may feel criticised and don't want others to see them on screen, until they build up some confidence. All of this has to be considered in the planning stages."

Ultimately, says Andrew Frapwell, the use of ICT in PE should be directly related to teaching and learning objectives and either allow the teacher or the pupil to achieve something that could not be accomplished without it. "ICT is a fantastic tool, but teachers have to remember that that's exactly what it is - a 'tool'. It's an exciting resource, that with considered use has the potential to make a huge impact on teaching and learning."

Visual analysis software: www.kandle.co.uk; www.dartfish.co.uk; www.tacklesport.co.uk

Information about ICT in the PE curriculum: www.ncaction.org.uk/
subjects/pe/ict-lrn.htm
; www.teachernet.gov.uk
/teachingandlearning/library/teachingpe/?section=3417

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Market Entry Analyst

£50k - 60k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A successful Google join...

Opilio Recruitment: International Development Manager

£60k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A successful Google joint vent...

Opilio Recruitment: Apprentice Advisor - IT

£30k - 34k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

h2 Recruit Ltd: New Business Sales Manager - Talent Management - £60,000 OTE

£35000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A true market leader in ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game