‘To This Day’ by Shane Koyczan

A powerful TED talk by poet Shane Koyczan about growing up, life, finding identity and bullying. It includes his poem “To This Day”. Well worth the 12 minutes and five seconds of your life.

The second video below is Shane’s poem “To This Day” put to animation. This video is a bit shorter (7 minutes 37 secs) as it is only the poem. If you wanted to do something around bullying with students this video is very powerful and could be a great discussion point.


Motivating students


There are always students in our classes who we struggle to motivate. Being able to motivate students to want to learn rather than comply because we said so is difficult to do. Having students in your class learning because they are genuinely interested (intrinsic motivation) is what we all aim for. Sometimes we get there sometimes we don’t. I found this following presentation on ‘Motivating the unmotivated student’ which asks some interesting questions of us around student motivation.

Click here to visit the website showing the presentation.

How do I use my iPad/iPhone to make my job easier?

 There are a range of ways that I use my iPad to help in my role as a teacher. I cannot think of a device that has had a bigger impact on the way I work and learn as a teacher.

Calendar  app

I no longer have a paper diary. The Calendar app allows me to put in my timetable, notes for lessons, set reminders and then access this calendar across multiple devices including my iPad, iPhone and online if my iPad/iPhone are not available.

SkyDrive, Drop Box, Google Drive apps

Using these apps on my iPad gives me access to my files on a mobile device. No longer do I need my lap top with me to work on Word, Excel or PowerPoint presentation. Cloud based storage is convenient and to a large degree free! I have 3 accounts providing me with a total of 14GB of free storage. This is not huge but certainly allows me to manage my work documents and important information that I access on a regular basis. Being able to move documents from these apps into other apps on the iPad including Pages, Keynote and Quick Office Pro and then back again is an excellent function.

Educreations and Explain Everything apps

These white board apps allow me to create presentations to upload to the Internet or capture lessons live. Capturing lessons live then uploading them for students who were absent for that lesson is very useful. By giving students the links to these they can revisit information or catch up on information they missed. They are also good tools for students to create on.

iCabMobile app

This app is web browser and allows me to download video directly to my iPad. Unfortunately it no longer does it from You Tube (Apple won’t allow it) but it does from pretty much any other site using HTML5 video including sites like Daily Motion and Vimeo. This has short cut a process of downloading video on my laptop, putting it into a folder and syncing that folder to my iPad. The types of videos that I download are generally skills based to use in apps like Ubersense and Coaches Eye.

Easy Portfolio, Easy Assessment and Attendance apps

All of my attendance is done on the iPad and emailed so that the school can keep it on file. The ‘Easy’ apps allow me to have digital portfolios for each of my students which include video, photos, notes, urls, audio and documents. I can also create rubrics which can easily be used on the spot during lessons which allow me to attach notes, photo and video to those rubrics. Having all my students assessment data in one place is very useful.

Twitter/Facebook apps

These are technically things that can be done without an iPhone or iPad. Would I use them as effectively or as much without an iPad? The answer is no. As with many things the iPad makes them easier, quicker and more efficient. The portability of the iPad for a start means I have it with me all the time.

I use Facebook to communicate with my Stage 1 and Stage 2 PE classes. I provide resources from documents to videos, reminders about due dates, change of plans regarding prac and theory lessons, students can upload drafts of work and I can send it back to them the same way and it allows students to pose questions they are stuck on when doing hwk or leading into a test or exam.

I use Twitter for professional development. I have said it before in other posts and I’ll say it again – It is the best ongoing training and development that I get! I follow just over 400 educators.. The ideas and resources that are shared on Twitter are enormous. You follow who you want so that the information you get relates to topics you are interested in. For example a high percentage of the people I follow around the world are PE teachers, they provide me with thoughts and ideas on pedagogy and resources that I never would have considered had I not connected with them.

Class Dojo app

Class Dojo is a behaviour tracking app. You create your classes then enter your behaviours (positive & negative) that you want to monitor. This does not have to be the traditional behaviours like being on task, getting changed for PE, helping set up equipment etc. It could be that a JP teacher wants to track how a student forms letters, it could help you track any behaviour or skill! I use it with all my classes R-10 to track student behaviour but I have not used it to its full potential just yet. The data can be emailed to parents (or any email address you put in). Currently I am thinking of emailing it directly to my older students so they can see the type of data I am keeping on them. For the younger students it will help inform my discussions with them as well as their parents. It does need an internet connection to work and all data is uploaded to an online teacher account. I use my iPhone in PE as this is the only internet connection I have on the oval or in the hall. The phone is also excellent because of its size, it allows me to enter data quickly and then put it back in my pocket.

Note: The creation of classes and behaviours is done online in a teacher account on a PC (cannot be done on the iPad app). The iPad app is then used to collect the data during a lesson.

Music app

This app on allows me to stream music wirelessly in the hall from my iPad and iPhone through the Apple TV. I use music in the JP classes to initiate the beginning and end of some activities. To be able to do this while with the students and not have to run back to the stereo everytime I want to start or stop the music is excellent.

Notes app

This app allows me to take notes in staff meetings and at training and development days. I can keep the notes in the app or email them off the iPad.

Contacts app

This is not new as mobile phones have always had contact lists. However having my contact list on my phone and synced to my iPad is great.

Camera app/Dropvox app

Recording work samples and student learning through images, audio or video is a powerful way to help teachers assess students and ultimately provide more effective feedback about learning. I also use the camera and iMovie to create video to share with parents what is happening in their child’s PE classroom. Dropvox allows me to record audio and upload automatically to Dropbox. Great for recording conferencing processes with students.



How do I use my iPad to assist student learning?

There are a range of apps and tools that I use with my iPad to assist student learning.

Obviously having one iPad in a classroom has its limits so once we get our class set up and running the flexibility and independence the students will have with their learning will be significant. My use use of the iPad is subject specific to HPE but there will be ideas that are transferable.

Apple TV, Wireless Router, Speakers, Data Projector

These tools allow me to use my iPad in the gym effectively. They are also easy to use as they are permanently set up on a trolley. Once the power is turned on the Apple TV and iPad/iPhone connect with no prompting. I can project video, student work or presentations onto a large screen in the gym to assist my students learning. The Apple TV allows me to do this wirelessly which is brilliant. A great example of the benefit of wireless connectivity is when I work with the JP students. I use a lot of music to encourage movement and engagement. Instead of having to have my phone plugged into the stereo I can walk around the gym and be with the students and still control the music.

So what apps do I use as a HPE teacher?


I produce videos for my senior PE students to assist with their learning. I have made multiple videos explaining concepts from skill progression to components of fitness and body systems. Making instructional videos for students could be done in any subject for any year level. To store these videos I use various places on the Internet including You Tube.

I make videos to share what happens in my junior PE classes with parents by uploading these to You Tube and embedding them on my juniorhpe blog for parents to view. Click here to visit this blog.

I have downloaded Just Dance videos from You Tube, put them together in iMovie to create one file and then played these through Apple TV to use with students. This has been very engaging and a great way to teach dance to students. Click here to view my Year  1/2 PE students using Just Dance.

TimeMotion and DartFish EasyTag

These apps provide a simple and easy way to collect data during games and then analyse and reflect on that data to help improve student knowledge of things like movement, tactical play and use of skills.

Ubersense/Coaches Eye/Coach My Video

Using these apps I am able to assist the development of student skills through video analysis. Ubersense in particular has the ability to compare two videos side by side. All have a variety of tools that allow for analysis of video.

Fotobabble and PixnTell

Students are able to record photos of skills, or games and add audio over the top. Fotobabble allows one photo at a time while PixnTell allows multiple photos to be put into a sequence with audio. Great for analysis and reflection.

Giant Scoreboard, G.A.P.S., CoachNote, Badminton, PE Plus, PE Games, Group Games and TGfU

These apps provide me with a range of tools and resources to assist me with my PE lessons. From Giant Scoreboard to apps like PE Plus & TGfU that have a range of games and activities on them grouped by sport or skill type.

CardioBuddy, This is my Body – Anatomy, Virtual Heart, 3D Brain, Skeletal 3D and a range of other anatomy apps (there are so many)

CardioBuddy allows measurement of heart rate, while the anatomy apps are useful for my older students to review body systems. This is my Body – Anatomy is a great app for JP/Middle primary students.

Workouts, FitDeck Junior and Ripdeck

These fitness apps provide a broad range of fitness based activities. They allow the user to run pre made circuits to custom made ones at a variety of intensities. I have not used these yet with students but intend to very soon. I have some disengaged girls in my year 9/10 PE class who have said they would be interested in doing some fitness based activity instead of the current traditional sports unit. My intention is to get them to design their own fitness routines and provide time in and out of class to improve their fitness.

These are the apps that I have found to assist me with helping students learn in HPE. It has taken a while and often trial and error has been involved.

I can’t wait to get the class set up and running and see how it further enhances student learning in my classroom and is utilised across the school. What apps have you found that work for you?