I was very excited that this week’s blog was left open so we were able to look into things that were of interest to us. As a physical education teacher who rarely uses technology in my classroom I was looking for others who have successfully integrated technology or the blended learning approach into their physical education classrooms with success. When I think about technology in they gymnasium classroom there are many positive things that come to mind as well as many challenges that will be faced. Prior to beginning my research, I was able to read a few of my colleagues blogs that I thought directly related to my topic this week. Natalie stated that nothing will ever be perfect but we need to begin somewhere and that’s what is important. In her blog this week she also attached a photo image that was very useful for educators that are trying to incorporate blended learning into their classrooms, I found this to be very helpful in my quest to have a blended learning classroom for physical education. Adam talked about the use of cellphones in classrooms. I have discussed this in earlier blogs and once again it has come up. I always say pick your battles, and cell phones are definitely one battle I am not willing to pick. Some may think that the use of cell phones in the gymnasium may be more of a distraction than it is helpful however with all the different apps and resources that we have access to now days I do believe that they would be beneficial to our students learning. Again like anything it is our job as the teacher to ensure that our students are using technology appropriately and to model/teach good digital citizenship. Angela talked about technology being a great way of engaging our learners, and I would agree. Students are motivated by technology, they use it on a daily basis and what better way to get them excited about learning than to incorporate something they are so passionate about. Angela discussed how technology provides us with opportunities that we may not have otherwise. I am a testament to that, with already having an almost 2-year-old at home and my daughter being due Jan 7th, having two kids and taking a class at the university seemed impossible. It was this online class that enabled me to continue my education while being at home for my children and family. As Angela stated like anything challenges come with the positives, however these challenges are just mere obstacles that we can handle!!
In my quest to find blended learning classrooms (physical education specific) I came across three different resources that I found useful. The first was a YouTube video that essentially discusses why blended learning for physical education can be positive for both the students and the teachers. Blended learning classrooms allow us to create interactive classrooms where we are teaching students to be engaged in movement activity at school and at home. An example that was used was Xbox Kinect. This type of technology, although some might not see it as physical activity gets our children up and moving and encourages movement activity. The Xbox Kinect could be used in the classroom and at home. The use of technology in our gymnasiums allows parents to be involved in their child’s learning, this may also encourage our parents to model physical movement and participate in their child’s learning/movement activities as well. It gives parents an opportunity to observe lessons, participate, and provide feedback. It allows teachers the flexibility of planning lessons in a different fashion and students are able to complete homework assignments via technology rather than wasting in class time.
The second resource I found was also very supportive of blended learning physical education classrooms. The article suggests that people often look at online learning as students spending the majority of their time in front of a computer screen and this couldn’t be further from the truth. With the use of blended learning classrooms, it allows for flexibility, for both the teachers and the students. Flexibility has proven to ensure a higher success rate among our students in the physical education setting. Blended learning allows one on one time to be spent with students working on THEIR needs to meet THEIR goals. It allows opportunities for a more personal approach, is more engaging and teaches our students to be lifelong learners with healthy active lifestyles.
The last resource I found was a YouTube video of a teacher who is teaching a lesson using the blended learning approach. Following this video, I was inspired… if she can do it why can’t I. She was able to show how blended learning can be successful in the gymnasium. How students can be engaged in movement activities while using technology. She shows how technology can be incorporated into her lesson and how the students use it throughout the class time. At the end of the video students provide a testament saying they prefer this type of learning, it is more personal and helpful in meeting their needs.
Like anything comes the challenges. Some challenges that come to mind when I think about blended learning in a physical education classroom is:
-access to technology (at school and at home)
-where do we store technology that we are using in the gymnasium
-would we get funding to purchase technology
-in a 45-minute class period how much time is wasted logging on etc. or do we simply make use of the technology outside of the gymnasium and use our time in the gym for hands on, one on one time?
-keeping students on track and using the technology for its purpose ex. Not snap chatting their friend that can’t dribble a basketball
-What age group is this ideal for?
I love the idea of blended learning, the flexibility and being able to meet the individual needs of all our students would be amazing. I do believe it is all about trial and error, I am going to have to try it out and see what works, learn from my mistakes as some might say. Wish me luck, as soon as I get back from mat leave I will be on a mission!!