Last year, Google searches for “Physical Education Apps” increased by over 3,000 per cent from the previous year’s figures. This can only be described as an exponential increase that highlights the overwhelming shift towards mobile devices in the active classroom. With this being said, teachers are continually looking for apps that seek to improve both the learning outcomes for their students as well as those that make teaching just that little bit easier. Here is a selection of my favourites:
Video Coach – Ubersense
A truly exceptional video analysis app that has undergone a major facelift in recent times taking it to a whole new level. The app is one of a series of video analysis apps which has totally changed the game for video analysis in schools. In recent years, computer-based software has been entering classrooms around the world, however more often than not these methods do not reach their full potential as they become expensive, cumbersome and time zapping. This is where an app like Ubersense shines.
In a matter of minutes, students can easily capture footage and complete an extensive analysis that includes telestration, markups, voice overs and much more. Moving the footage in slow motion creates the perfect teachable moments for classes, allowing students to critique their performance in ways never once possible. One of the most impressive features is the side by side comparison, which makes it possible to compare student footage to elite performers. Students at schools throughout the world are also using the app as a means of completing a video portfolio showcasing skill progression over time. More information can be found at www.ubersense.com
This exceptional app enables you to produce a highlight video with only the footage you desire. Start by setting up the taggable items you wish to identify, by default these are set to “Highlights” and “Errors”. When ready, simply start recording and point the app towards your action. When you see something that constitutes a highlight during game play, simply tap the highlight button and likewise when you see an error tap the error button. Continue this process as you desire and when you stop the recording the app will seamlessly fuse together both the highlights and errors into two separate videos. By default, the app is set to a two-second lead in, 3-second lead out, meaning that when you make a tap, the recorded segment will take place two seconds before the tap and three seconds after. This ensures that the exact item you were hoping to capture is recorded. More information is available at www.thepegeekapps.com/videotagger
A superb free app offering intuitive frame-by-frame playback. Slide your finger on the screen to control the action and pinpoint the exact moment you are looking for. A great tool for skill development and performance review in any discrete skills. Students have been using it within track and field training to pinpoint powerful coachable moments. More information is available at http://goo.gl/BjXqq
RaceSplitter is the ‘do it yourself’ solution for race timing – providing coaches with accurate split times, lap times and standings during the race, and organisers with a powerful alternative to chip-timing. The app combines the flexibility of mobile devices with the power of chip-based timing for the total cost of $34.99. This app is truly extraordinary and will become a major player in our school’s annual cross country event. More information is available at http://www.racesplitter.com
A super collection of challenge-based Basketball Skill cards. Students can sort through the cards, which outline the skill and the target to complete various levels of difficulty. The cards form a logical progression of skill and game play. Works exceptionally well in a 1:1 iPad environment; however, with only one device and a projector, the app can be shared with the entire group. A great way to move students towards a more student-centred, self-paced environment within practical activities. More information is available at http://goo.gl/h0wNY
A collection of high quality task cards for all sorts of fitness activities. Have students work their way through random activities, following the clear instructions. They can choose to complete a beginner, intermediate or advanced workout which is shown on the top right of each card. Simple and highly effective, with over 250,000 users, this is a must have. Also comes in a Junior Version for younger students. More information is available at http://goo.gl/VpjaX
TGfU Games for Elementary PE
This handy little app is a great resource for PE Teachers looking to employ the TGfU model within their teaching. Features the instructions for over 200 games and is designed to facilitate understanding within the TGfU categories. With more teachers moving away from the traditional model of PE instruction, this app becomes a great tool for facilitating change. More information is available at http://goo.gl/d6WcM
Coopers Test and Coopers Test HD
A great app that enables the user to complete the class 12 Minute Run fitness test by simply placing the device in their pocket and running. There is also the Multi User mode. In this mode you can test up to five athletes simultaneously. Each time the athlete completes a lap of the track, you press the runner’s name to accumulate distances. The app then uses the average speed of the runner to calculate predicted distance, while updating accurately when they cross the lap. The HD version enables the simultaneous tracking of up to 20 runners. More information is available at http://goo.gl/wa250
Cardio Touchless Camera
The creators of the most popular heart rate app “Instant Heart Rate” have brought out a touchless heart rate app that makes it possible to measure your HR by analysing the tiny colour changes in your face. This becomes a wonderful addition to the PE Classroom during fitness classes. Simply place the device at a fixed location and have students check their heart rate during a rest station. The app also takes the measurement to a new level by providing you with your heart rate history and comparisons with other users. This really is impressive technology. For more information, you can visit http://goo.gl/iAghT
Finish Line Photos
A great little app that combines a digital stopwatch with the digital camera. Simply use the app to snap a photo as athletes cross the finishing line. The app will overlay the finishing time with the finishing photo, creating a unique record of the race results. This provides a perfect addition to cross country or athletic events. Print them off and use them on certificates of achievement. More Information can be found at http://goo.gl/mq81O
Great Coach Netball
A superb app by the makers of Great Coach AFL. This app makes it possible to quickly and easily manage a netball team. Give your team the winning edge with better planning and team performance. Great Coach Netball packs together team management, statistics and reporting tools into one application for junior through to senior teams. More information can be found at http://goo.gl/74Xwj
A superb free active gaming app in which your physical movements are tracked to move the on screen paddle. Simply place down your device, take a few steps back and play the game with your body in this arcade inspired brick breaker. Step left or right to steer the paddle and jump for a power shot! More information is available at http://goo.gl/cRd5c
A great app for the Game Sense classroom enabling teachers, coaches and students to produce animated game play. Allow students to share a deeper understanding within the games they play or use it as an assessment task for senior students. More information is available at http://goo.gl/g1HxT
With an endless stream of useful apps continually entering the market, you can bet that PE teachers will continue to find a myriad of innovative uses for their inclusion in the classroom.
For a more comprehensive list of mobile apps suitable for the PE classroom, feel free to check out the Top Apps Series over at www.thepegeek.com.