Even though there is an abundance of great examples of how teachers are integrating IT out there I recall a time when I lacked the confidence to give any of these ideas a red hot go. Im sure theres a lot of teachers that have felt, or still feel, the same way. I wanted to, because they all sounded so amazing, but the idea of actually using them took some warming up to. I think because I struggled to clearly answer two questions:
- ‘How will this make my job easier, not harder?’ – I think teachers who are unfamiliar with, or lack confidence in using IT believe it will make their job harder not easier and hence are reluctant to use it. IT becomes another ‘thing’ to worry about and manage and the thought of IT not working properly puts people off giving it a real good go. Plus, with all things ‘new’ or ‘different’ you’re likely to come up against some ‘problems’ that need tweaking or fixing…. and this requires a certain amount of understanding, and motivation. Its at times like this when the ‘cons’ seem to outweigh the ‘pros’ and IT gets the back seat and we continue doing ‘what we’ve always done’. With this in mind I truly believe its critical for Departments to work together in setting IT goals and aiming for consistency in use (ie. we’re all going to use ‘Spin it’ for warm up during the Year 7 Athletics unit). That way teachers can support each other along the way. If ‘everyone’ is using a certain app or resource it more easily becomes something that can be discussed (and problem solved) at team meetings or ‘around the water cooler’. Unless you’re the ‘IT native’ – then you’re probably totally happy to integrate to your hearts content whenever and however you please.
- ‘How will this improve the teaching program or students learning?’ – Sounds obvious to me now but not everything needs technology. When considering what/how to integrate IT thought should be given to the SAMR model. Essentially the challenge is to find ways to enhance and transform our programs with technology. If technology can do something better (whilst still keeping the learning intention at forefront), we should be aiming to use it. Read more about this here.
Today I thought I’d take a closer look at ways to integrate IT into the Phys Ed warm up. How you end up integrating IT depends on your answer(s) to: How will integrating IT make my job easier not harder? How could integrating IT improve my teaching program or students learning? I feel discussions like this are best had in departments or teams. Teaching is demanding enough, we may as well do what we can to make it easier – and for me, that starts with team work.
So…… WHAT DOES YOUR TEAM WANT TO GET OUT OF THE WARM UP??
- Gently prepare students mind and body for exercise by gradually increasing their heart rate, loosening their joints, increasing blood flow to their muscles and providing a means to focus their attention or energy.
- Get active and have funn! Funn meaning ‘functional understanding not necessary’ – something I picked up as a ‘team building facilitator’. Some teachers love warm ups that excite and engage students through funn games. These are games that don’t really have a purpose other than getting students moving and having fun (ie. indians and teepees). Typically loved by ‘younger students’ these warm ups generally involve a lot of laughter, running around and minimal equipment. Best done if you aim to use variety of games, not the same game every lesson (because that would be boring not funn).
- Help manage behaviour by:
- Creating ‘Routine procedures’. “Your students are less likely to misbehave during routine procedures as you have clarified your expectations and helped turned them into habitual ways of acting…. Research shows most teachers state such expectations, but it is the teachers who get students to practice them (while correcting along the way) that succeed in turning them into habits” 
- Providing ‘group reinforcement’ by acknowledging or rewarding small groups for doing the warm up well or showing good team work. “Group reinforcement works well because of the pervasive power of peers.” 
- Make better use of the time available for physical activity by minimising time spent waiting for ‘everyone’ to arrive, for equipment or for setting up
- Allow students to work in small groups which creates an opportunity to develop team work and leadership skills.
- Link to, and/or assess, key curriculum content. Examples from the WA curriculum  include:
- Year 7: Communication skills that support and enhance team cohesion, such as body language and listening skills >> Allocate ‘observer’ to peer assess the ‘leader’ and ‘participants’ during the warm up. Use simple ‘communication skills’ checklist that focuses on observing things like positive body language and listening skills.
- Year 8: Measurement of the body’s response to physical activity such as heart rate and breathing rate >> Have small groups/teams that students work in each lesson. Allocate one group member to be ‘test subject’ during warm up and rotate this role each lesson. The test subject wears heart rate monitor, uses heart rate app, or, measures own heart rate at set intervals during the warm up. Groups/class can then discuss/evaluate effectiveness of warm up and/or intensity of ‘test subjects’ participation at lesson end, or within journal type assignment.
- Year 10: Skills and strategies to improve team performance, such as team work, leadership and motivation >> Students create and implement self-assessment and peer-assessment tools to evaluate performance in a variety of team roles performed during the warm up (ie. leader, support staff, observer, test subject etc)
Once the purpose has been clarified, the next step is to find ‘the IT’ to match. Heres just a few ideas on WHAT ‘IT’ CAN BE USED WITHIN THE PHYS ED WARM UP:
- Follow visual prompts and cues: Tasks cards or videos that can be projected on a screen for the whole class to follow (ie. teacher led), or, used by individuals or small teams/groups (ie. student led). Read more about facilitating self-directed warm up with apps such as these here 
- Student led set ups and drills: Somewhat of a flipped classroom approach the teacher can create an interactive clipboard or video for students to watch and then follow/recreate. This could include instructions on how you want equipment set up (ie. putting markers out) and what warm up drill you want completed. Learn more about student led game set up here 
- Follow instructions to play ‘funn games’: Like a portable ‘book’ of group games that require minimal equipment for teachers or students to facilitate. Teacher or student can pick one and play.
- Create your own sport specific warm up: Apps that allow you to create your own circuit style warm up by inputting your choice of exercises and circuit station time limits. Great way to create warm ups for specific sports or components of training.
- Use music as a motivator: If you have access to speakers music can act as a great motivator and/or timer. Read more about using music as a motivator here.
- Gamification: Involves adapting the warm up so it takes on the form of a game. Can be run as a competition against self, class or even year groups. Learn more about how to use Gamification apps here 
Like I said to start….. There is an abundance of great examples of how teachers are integrating IT out there… but the first step to making IT work really well for you and your programs is to consider ‘How will integrating IT make my job easier not harder? How could integrating IT improve my teaching program or students learning?’
How is your team integrating IT into the Phys Ed warm up?
-  – http://www.evidencebasedteaching.org.au/top-10-behaviour-management-strategies/
-  – http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/p-10-curriculum/curriculum-browser/health-and-physical-education
-  – https://thepegeek.com/2015/03/self-directed-warm-ups/
-  – https://thepegeek.com/2014/02/student-led-game-setup/
-  – https://thepegeek.com/2015/01/episode-21-gamified-running-exercise/