Recently, I have been asked to assist my PE teacher with the integration of iPads into the PE curriculum. I am fortunate that the PE teacher at my school is quite forward thinking and keen to involve mobile technology into his lessons as we share the belief that the iPad and the available sport apps have huge potential for
improving student outcomes. In it’s simplest form, we wanted to see if using the iPad as a skills development tool would translate into students analysing and critiquing their technique and therefore improve their performance. Needless to say that the natives were very excited about the prospect of using their iPads during lessons.
After a brief discussion, we choose to trial 3 free apps into our PE curriculum.
The first app we asked the students to download was Slo Pro. Slo Pro is a great app that allows you to record up to 1000 fps and play back your video at super slow motion. This app also allows you to slow down a recording at variable rates, which means that you can play sections of your video back and changing speeds. The student were able to use this app with minimal support, the interface is simple and intuitive and the app works as described. The only thing that caused some difficulty was sharing the videos recorded. Even though the free version allows users to upload their videos to YouTube, doing so was very clunky and unreliable. Out of a whole class, 3 students were able to do so successfully. The free version of Slo Pro does not allow the user to save their video to their camera roll on their own device, to be able to do this, you need to purchase the full version, which costs $4.49. Buying the full version also unlocks some other useful features like altering the frame rates of your recording.
The second app that we asked the students to download was Coach My Video. This app also allowed the students to record and play back their videosn slow motion and with frame by frame accuracy. It also allows the user to draw lines, shapes and calculate angles on top of the video recording. This made analysing skills much easier as students were able to highlight areas of their technique that require practise. Another great feature of this app is that you can place two videos side by side and play them together. This feature, I believe, is what this app does best. When it came to sharing their work, the students were able to save their images with drawn overlays as jpgs which can then be emailed.
The third app we experimented with was Ubersense and is my personal favourite of the three apps discussed in this post for a few reasons. Firstly, Ubersense allows you to record your videos in slow motion just like Slo Pro, you can playback at frame by frame rate, and it also allows you to draw and annotate your videos as Coach My Video does. So in other words, it can does what the other two apps do. Secondly, when it comes to sharing your video, Ubersense just works! Users sign up for a free account, this then allows them to not only email their videos, but it also allows them to record audio on top of their video with their annotations. So what they can produce is a video, that not only highlights areas for improvements, it allows them to record audio reflection or commentary of their videos.
We are yet to see if using these apps and iPads within PE classes will result in improved student performance but what is evident, is that our students are already becoming more aware of their technique and are able to describe where they need to improve when watching their recordings. Watch this space for further developments.