The two middle schools in my district have a unique focus. One is considered an “Academy of the Arts.” The school has a partnership with a local museum and with a performing arts center in our area. The other middle school is focused on Science and Technology, and their big partnership is with Project Lead the Way. They also have a program called TSMA, which stands for Technology, Science, Math Academy (similar to STEM). Last year, as part of this Academy plan, they added an innovative class: Advanced P.E.
The interesting element with Advanced P.E. is that it’s not just physical education in the traditional sense. This course requires students to go beyond the physical aspect of Physical Education and examine the science behind the sports they are learning. The class has ten iPads that are available for the students to do research, watch focused videos on specific sports techniques, and create tutorials for their fellow students. About halfway through the year, the Advanced P.E. teacher asked me about how to the iPads in a more advanced way than to just do research. I knew about the app, Coach’s Eye, by TechSmith, because my husband had been using it to help coach our son in baseball. This teacher and I decided to investigate a way to use the app in Advanced P.E.
Coach’s Eye allows the user to record video of a sports technique and then annotate the video using shapes, lines, and free-hand drawings to bring attention to certain points in a video. It also allows the user to zoom in on a specific part of the video or to view two different videos side-by-side for comparative purposes. The app also allows the user to shoot a video and play it back in slow motion, all the while annotating and recording voice to give feedback. It’s relatively easy to use the app, but there are some great tutorial videos on YouTube that can help a new user navigate the app. You can subscribe to the Coach’s Eye channel, as well.
Coach’s Eye is well-worth the $4.99 price tag. It seems hefty, yes, but considering the possibilities in P.E., it’s still a good buy. For only $1.99 more you can have the Precision Pack which includes the Angle Tool, the Timer Tool, and the Spot Light Tool. It really is a reasonable price, especially if you are coaching students for intramurals or helping improve their performance for a sport they play outside of school.
Common Core Connection
Common Core calls for an integration of subject areas, and this app can help P.E. teachers integrate science and math into the sports they are teaching. In addition, it allows for the students to communicate their learning about a sport because they can analyze and discuss their own form or technique by having a classmate record the video. Students could also use this app for a science-fair type project by making and testing a hypothesis about their performance in a particular sport by changing the technique they use and analyzing the different videos.
While the app is best suited for P.E. teachers, I think it could be applicable across different subjects. I can see science teachers taking video of different experiments to do a side-by-side analysis of the results. I can also see Language Arts teachers using this app to compare performances in speech and debate or just a general classroom presentation. They can use the app to point out slight differences in body language and gesturing that might make a difference in a competition.
Coach’s Eye has a lot of potential in the classroom. How do you plan to use it?