Adding the 'remote' to face-to-face teaching.
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you
need tomorrow.” Robert Tew
Following what can only be described as a roller-coaster of a year, I thought I would take the opportunity to share what I have taken away from remote teaching and wish to implement into my own teaching practice moving forward. This is not so much about philosophy and approach, but a more physical perspective as I share the programs that I have found useful and wish to continue using in the 'face-to-face' environment. .
The remote-teaching period has been a mixture for me personally, from being excited to embrace different ideas & see the students embrace Physical Education in different ways, but also draining as the hours piled up in front of the computer screen as I took on a differing role within the school or frustrating as I tried to find a way to increase engagement, all feelings that I am sure many have experienced throughout this time.
It has been a time for all teachers to adapt the way in which they teach and to embrace technology. If you didn't use it prior to this remote teaching period, I am sure you've done a huge amount of PD hours to get to where you are now. As a PE Teacher, I have always enjoyed using technology within the PE environment where I believe it adds value and purpose to my classroom & lesson, but feel after this experience, there is more I want to add in. I thought I would share a few of these ideas in case it can help someone else out there. Firstly, Google Classroom. I have been familiar with Google Classroom for sometime and have used it for various reasons within different units, but have never fully embraced it like I have during the Remote Teaching period. After the experience, I wish to utilize Google Classroom as a way for students to share various skills that they already possess or are practicing in the home environment. I see the potential it has in order to gain feedback, take assessment, flip the classroom or even to use as a simple 'Notice board' for the class so that they know what future lessons will consist of - I feel this last approach would help many students, those who spend the week excitedly asking "What are we doing in PE this week!?" every time they lay eyes on you, along with those that may feel anxious about PE and spend the week asking themselves "What are we doing in PE this week!?".
Another aspect I would love to embrace is the use of the well used app, 'Ka'hoot'. Admittedly, I haven't used this from a remote teaching standpoint but from a personal account, in which it was used for trivia nights with friends and family. I don't know all the 'in's and out's' of the program so to speak, but I feel using this would be an efficient way to gain feedback from students or a fun and engaging way to run assessment. I believe it's simple use could make it a great way to gain students understanding of various concepts that have been explored within lessons, but again, I need to dig deeper into the program.
From an equipment perspective, I plan to incorporate more 'house-hold' items within my teaching. During the initial remote-teaching period I put together the 'Let's Play at Home' E-book (available on the resources tab), which featured 11 fun & simple PE games that students/families could play at home using common household equipment. It was great fun getting creative and putting this together, and rewarding as I received videos of the students and their siblings playing the games together. To a deeper level though, and this is discussed on Episode 2 of the Phys Ed Table Podcast with Casey Young, Christina Polatajko and Ben Clark (link below & well worth the listen if you haven't already), using house-hold equipment is a great way for students to connect the Physical Education environment with their home environment, which can help and encourage students to continue their learning journey outside of the school setting. In doing this, students can continue to explore the concepts or skills covered within your lesson in their own time and make the realization that PE equipment isn't pigeonholed to the traditional things that we use within lessons eg. Basketballs. Who knows, it may even inspire their imagination to think of more equipment that can be used at home for PE.
While on the theme of capturing the imagination of students... virtual Zoom backgrounds are something I have embraced. Prior to remote teaching I had never even heard of Zoom, did it even exist? A concept from Zoom that I have loved taking advantage of is the 'virtual backgrounds'. Simply changing the virtual background is such a great way to capture the imaginations of those watching. While teaching a Target games unit throughout Remote Teaching 1.0, I loved introducing students to Curling from an actually Curling sheet or to Ten Pin Bowling while standing in a virtual bowling alley. I also had great feedback from the students, who would often be given a question that related to the background. The options are endless and it is great fun! This creative practice is definitely something I wish to continue moving forward.
Lastly, is the use of iMovie. I haven't been fortunate enough to have had access to this program until this year, as my iPad was pretty dated, but having access to this and realizing it's potential has been great.. in saying that I don't think I've even realized it's full potential as yet. I am sure there are many more Apps that I have missed that are a 'must' use as well, but for now, this is something I want to continue to utilize.
While I feel these 5 things can have a meaningful and positive influence on my lessons and assist in boosting engagement, student voice, assessment and practice in general, I also cannot wait to connect, laugh and see the students having fun and enjoying movement within PE. However, for me, that will be a while away, as I will be taking leave throughout the entirety of Term 4, 2020 and won't be back teaching until 2021 (hopefully this will be face-to-face and I can put the above into action). In the mean time, I will be investing in PD, both professional and personal, creating and modifying existing content and resources that I believe could help my future teaching, while also investing heavily in pursuing personal hobbies.
Thanks for having a read, I hope it helped in some way.
If you have more ideas, questions or thoughts, please feel free to share in the comments below. The Phys Ed Table Podcast: Episode 2 "The MUST HAVE PE Resources" (Click link to listen)