Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Carrying Out My GAME Plan

In my posting about creating a GAME plan, I harped on the fact that there is a void in the amount of technology I incorporate to my lessons.  One of the points of emphasis that I felt could help me in this process was video assessment and analysis.  In order to make this possible though, I would have to get away from the cumbersome cameras that require tapes to film and move to the sleek digital cameras that are available at the school.  I took this step to inquire about using such cameras but I found out that they are not available all that often and I could only borrow it some of the time.  This changed my direction to seeking another form of technology.

The technology that I found that could work for analysis was the cell phone.  The phones today have great video capturing capability and since I have one and most of the students do as well, the ability to have it in the gym or classroom at any time is not an issue.  By using the cell phone, students can record themselves or their peer in an activity and then be able to see what improvements need to be made.  If you do not understand this, consider that in math when a student is struggling with a concept, their work on the paper is a point of reflection; this is not possible with physical activity without video.  Another use for the video would be for me to shoot and then be able to reflect on the lesson as well as assess the students with very little difficulty.

There are a few points that concern me however, including the rules of the school involving cell phone use.  Basically, cell phones are not allowed during the day in middle school and often the students do not even have them on.  In phys ed class, they typically keep them in their locker and so bringing them to class could create an issue where they would not have a spot to put the phone “away”.  I also need to find out how this technological implementation would conflict with the privacy rights each student has.  Would it be a problem recording a student for assessment purposes or having a student watch themselves in action?  The answer to this is likely no, but I wonder if I would have to delete the video immediately or make sure no students are recording their classmates for later broadcast.


  1. Rich,

    Video analysis is an excellent form of assessment in PE. If a digital camera is not available in your building, cell phone use could be a possible alternative. First, I would think you would have to approach your administration and see what the think of the idea. You could explain to them in what capacity you plan on using the phones and how you will manage the situation with rules and expectations. If you receive permission, maybe you could have a few students who you really trust be in the first group that does the recording.

    I approached my administration with a similar situation. We were trying to give our students a realistic view of what it was like to work out at a fitness club. I felt that it was crucial to allow my students to use their ipods if we truly wanted them to feel like they were going to a fitness facility. My administration was supportive of the idea but made it clear that the ipods were only to be used while in the work out room. I made this very clear to my students and they were respectful of the rule. Student motivation significantly increased for the simple fact that they were allowed to listen to music on their ipods during our fitness lessons.

  2. Todd to Richard -

    Your video analysis is a great idea. I can remember being in middle school and having my basketball coach videotape us shooting baskets. Seeing yourself as the instructor makes adjustments and suggestions is powerful. I can still remember to keep my right elbow in, even after 30 years because I saw myself doing it wrong, and then doing it correctly.

    However, I would be careful with using the students' cell phones as recording devices. Not only what is recorded, but where the video winds up. All of your best intentions would go right down the drain if a student posts a video not meant to be posted.

    There are alternatives to the students' electronics. For example, you might be able to use a laptop with a webcam already built in, or ask to get a USB webcam. I bought one for my masters class at Target for $20. There might even be one in the school. That way you can record, playback, and most importantly control the videos.

    I hope you can find a solution, because it will absolutely help out each student, whether they are uncoordinated or an higher level athlete. Good luck!

    Todd Deschaine

  3. Joanne to Richard

    I like how once you realized using the school's smaller less cumbersome digital cameras was not going to be feasible due to the lack of access you were creative and flexible by contemplating using the technology students already have access to; their cellphone. You have highlighted some very valid concerns about the use of cellphones by the students. My high school also has a ban on cell phones from the beginning bell to the ending bell. However, as a geometry teacher I am tired of fighting the cell phones. I have to be vigilant to seek out those who are texting on their cell phones during instruction; it is such a waste of my time because they want to argue they do not have a phone!

    So with my administrators' permission I allow students to have their phones out and on their desk during instruction to be used as needed to search information. Maybe you could begin by using only your cell phone to record the action you would like to capture then you will have complete control over who views the recording. I would make sure to send home a release form to be signed by parents about your intentions in recording students and how it will be used to improve students' learning.

    If you eventually allow students to record possibly for a project I would recommend using a plastic container with a lid and requiring students to place their cell phone in the container with a sticky note identifying it as their phone and keeping the container with you to keep them safe. In North Carolina geometry used to have an end-of-course state exam and I would collect students' cell phones as they entered the room. I provided sticky notes, a marker and rubber bands for students and then kept the container with me until the appropriate time to give them back to students.

    Great idea for improving student performance.

    Joanne C.