Pitch Perfect (I hope no one beat me to that)

Sliders was pitched the other day. Done in 3 minutes and 3 powerpoint slides. I hope they understood what the idea was. If only there was a way I could have checked…

In the spirit of 3’s, a 3 word summary: Good, Distinguish, Details.

Good: The responses indicated that this was seen as a good idea that had potential to help teachers quickly assess how their students were faring with a particular class. Drawn for special interest was the anonymous nature of the response and the trust given to students to report their own understanding.

Distinguish: Sliders has competitive. What makes it better? Crowd and judge comments drew attention to a number of competing products and asked how Sliders would distinguish itself. This was hard to address in 3 minutes and 3 slides, so we’ll expand here. The traits that Sliders will look to compete on is its broad range of technological accessibilities and its links with class and unit objectives. By allowing sliders to be accessed across a range of technologies at the one time, means that it is easier accessed and more broadly accessible than other products that may only compete with 1 or 2 of the 3 methods (Computer software, app, internet) that Sliders brings to the table. Secondly, by linking sliders with the lesson objectives students can directly see how they are tracking towards the unit goals rather than just their confidence in a standalone task.

Details: It was recommended, and good recommendations they were, that Sliders could be improved by having more text markers along the ‘Slide’ so that students can better determine where their understanding was and that there was potential for there to be a short dialogue option that could provide students with the options of putting a short twitter like comment or question on their understanding in. This would allow access to more details for the teacher without slowing down the process. I think it’s a great idea and will definitely form a part of the idea.

This may be it for Sliders for the moment. It’s been a journey, but I feel like a full figured idea has come out the other end and has stood up to an examination from the world, while being pointed in the direction it should move .

I described our pitch response in 3 words. Now, at the end, can you describe Sliders in 3?


Get Real

This week, we are getting real. Showing in a rough (very rough) form what this idea will look like to students.

If you remember back to our blog the other week describing the technologies, this week we’ll actually see what it looks like.

So without any further ado.

And with no judging of the authors skill with paint.

We have:

Sliders Mobile App

Sliders for Mobile
Sliders for Mobile

Sliders Program

Sliders Online
Sliders Program

Sliders Online

Sliders Online
Sliders Online

There you have it.

A visual representation.

Obviously someone with more talent and more style would design the completed products, but these would form the shell of the idea. It is predicted that the learning objectives could be listed and be able to be scrolled through, with the potential for the teacher to highlight which one was being addressed at any particular time in the class. This would serve to emphasis to students what they should be working on.

You’re welcome for the laugh, so in return what would you suggest may be the best wording for the scale of the sliders?

Still Beautiful

Idea, development, smooth implementation.

Ideal, but not realistic. Real ideas aren’t smooth, they have bumps and flaws. Today we are going to run our eye over some of the bumps in ‘Sliders’ and look to see how these may not be as big of an issue as they may seem.

The first of the bumps to Sliders moving to reality is the need for the teacher to have a technological device capable of receiving the data, and the need for the entirety of the class to have access to an appropriate digital device. Considering the need for quick and easy analysis for the teacher it can be suggested that a teacher would need access to either a computer, a laptop or a tablet. Any device that can receive the information while being easily visible and quick to access. Although it would be possible to access data on a phone, this would take teacher time and may be deemed as unprofessional. The other part of this problem is that the anonymity of student responses requires students to have access to their own sliders, which of course means they must have their own device. This is ok if the school has access to 1:1 laptops, but otherwise could be a potential issue as it can’t be guaranteed that every student will have their own appropriate device. This issue is partially addressed in last week’s blog by providing the broadest range of technologies possible, but it can be seen that the suitability of this idea for a particular school should be examined before implementation. Another potential solution that was disregarded was to provide devices similar to clickers, however this would increase cost and add a component that could be lost.

The second potential flaw that stands out is that Sliders is an idea that relies upon a student to report upon their own learning. This has two potential ramifications, either students deliberately put in incorrect confidence levels to either gain attention or speed the class up or students unknowingly mis-report their knowledge by saying that understand it when maybe they do it. These are both issues that can be solved by using questioning or ideas like a 1 minute paper at the end of the lesson. This would seem suggest that we would be twice examining the understanding of students, once with sliders and once with a question, but it could rather be seen that we are receiving feedback on student confidence with the Sliders before checking for understanding with questioning when their confidence seems high. This suggests that Sliders place in education is one of a guide rather than a rule, and one that may be better placed with a mature class to ensure appropriate use.

It should be remembered though that Sliders still has support in its simple design, its provision of learning ownership for the student and a history built on similar ideas working that it is looking to improve on.

That’s Sliders bumps all out there. Bared for all. I think it’s still beautiful. Do you?

Facebook leading to student success

Believe it or not, sometimes writing can lead to some procrastination. Even with a topic as lively as this. I just did a little procrastination. Just a little. Just a tiny bit, yet I somehow have Facebook open on my laptop, on my phone and there’s notifications coming in without me even doing anything.

This is how the Sliders idea will work. Technological blanket coverage.

It was outlined in the last blog post that this idea would work best if it was accessible through a range of devices and means, but today we are going to examining the actual technology that will be needed. We will also examine a way to get around internet outages.

In the last blog we put forward 3 ways that students would be able to access the technology; a phone/tablet app, an internet site and a computer software. This was proposed so that the technology was available for classes to make use of regardless of student device types and school technology supplies. This does mean that development of the idea would take longer as multiple instances of the technology would need to be created.

The first technology we’ll examine is the use of an internet site. This would be the easiest of the technologies to develop as it requires only the setup of an internet page and the tailoring of already used polling type devices already used on websites. This would be the first technology to be developed as it can be accessed on all devices that have access to the internet, negating problems with needing to have pre-installed software. It would be preferable to have other options though, as it would require more logging in and setting up time every lesson and would hinder the preferred speed of the idea.

The next piece of technology that would need to be developed is an ‘app,’ software that can be used on mobile phones and tablets. This technology would require more development than a website as to achieve the full spectrum of useability desired an app would need to be developed for apple devices, android devices and tablets. It would however mean that students, after downloading and signing into the program once to begin with, would have a quick way to enter their understanding. This technology is easy and quick to use, but would require with home brought devices or school supplied technology like tablets.

The final technology that should be developed is a computer software program. A program that can be pre-installed on school computers and devices that would allow students to have a little tab open on their screen at all times. They would need to log in once at the beginning of the lesson and from then they would have a small part of their screen dedicated to the sliders. This technology would again need to be applicable to both windows and apple, and would require some time to develop. It would also need to be pre-installed on school computers, but once installed it means that all students that have access to a computer would have access to the program, rather than needing to bring their own device.

The combination of these technologies should allow the greatest number of schools and students to have access to the idea, however all these ideas do rely on the internet. A proposal to counteract this may be the use of mobile devices as the preferred technology and making use of Bluetooth to register data rather than needing mobile service. This would alleviate issues with slow connections or internet drop outs.

The teacher end of the technology could echo the student end, with it being useable from a number of technologies depending on what is available in the room that they are in.

What do you think? Is making use of multiple technologies the way to go? Or should there be one option that is fine tuned to ensure the best performance?

Aiming Hii

So here we are. The conclusion of my Big Digital Idea blog journey. The end of the road. The final curtain call. My last chance to present my idea. All sounds a little gloomy, but sadly it’s true.  I Aim-ed Hii throughout this task, encountered and overcame design obstacles and created ideas I didn’t think were possible.

Here is a visual representation of many important aspects of Aim Hii. I hope you’ve enjoyed the creation as much as I have.

Many thanks

Aim Hii Infographic

Fine tuning

Thanks to the feedback I received from my peers and panel judges I’ve been able to fine tune my idea after pitching it to the public.

The first issue that arose was whether the name was appropriate. In all honesty, I was a little taken aback, I thought Hii Skills was a great idea! Then as I delved in a bit further, it became apparent that the judges were right – there was surely a better option out there floating around in the land of creativity. I took a step back and had a look at what Hii Skills was fundamentally all about. The program wasn’t just about skills, it has a more significant focus on movement patterns and coordination (component of fitness) rather than specific ability set. So I had a little trouble making something cool/catchy sounding from Hii and coordination (who wouldn’t), so I changed tactics a bit and decided on ‘Aim Hii’, drawing on the personal achievements and accomplishments each individual strives through their involvement in this program. Instead of suggesting that students must make a specific skill level in order to be successful (and that skills are all that are participated in), instead it alludes to the fact you can still ‘aim hii’ during the enjoyable, game-based tasks which target coordination and movement patterns.

The second important comment I received from the panel was ‘What about kids in wheelchairs or with cerebal palsy?’. I had to pause for a second before responding – she did have an excellent point. During the creation of Aim Hii I had a specific target demographic in mind – high functioning special needs students with mild to moderate coordination issues. I think in hindsight the reason behind this was for ease of operation, I justified my decision by thinking that not every product on the market is targeted towards every single person out there.

But isn’t special education pushing and progressing towards inclusion? It’s not right that should I exclude kids from a program I believe to be incredibly beneficial to development, just due to convenience. So I investigated a little further (with a little help – thanks Eimear!) and discovered this gem of a device – The Floor-Board. The Floor-Board can be combined with the Balance board and associated games to allow both able bodied players, and players in wheelchairs to participate in the exercises and digital activities using the same board. Although the price of the whole Aim Hii pack is brought up to approx. $155 with the inclusion of the Floor-Board, to allow all kids who need it to get involved, I think it’s a small price to pay….

The Evolution of the SmartER Board

Today, unfortunately we have reached the end of a chapter. In my previous blogs we have discussed the evolution of the SmartER Board. Before I leave this idea however, I’d like to finish with a small summary of the product as a whole.  Below is an infographic outlining the products journey.

Should you have any queries or suggestions, please feel free to leave me a comment below regarding your thoughts.  Thank you for joining me on this journey! Keep and eye out for the SmartER Board in a PE class near you.


Untitled Infographic (1)

Question time..

So, let’s have a look over, and address, some of the issues raised in my previous blog “To be (useful) or not to be (useful)?’    Here we go…

‘… it might still be difficult to implement because if the kids are so impaired that they require additional program support, they’ll more than likely need some kind of supervision.’

Yes, an excellent point here. No child, special needs or not, can be left in a room alone at school without supervision, plain and simple. There are all kinds of safety and potential issues surrounding such a situation, not to mention all the rules and regulations that accompany it. As the program itself contains a specialist teacher aide (granted a digital version of them) all the content, learning and pedagogy provided by this course are done through this online connection. Due to the nature of this program and the actual learning being achieved, supervising adults could be in the form of a parent or guardian and volunteers or teaching assistants that are not specifically HPE trained. All that is minimally required is the adult presence in the room –potentially (depending on the type and severity of disability), unrelated work or marking could be completed at the same time.

‘Also, how do you choose who can get involved in the program?’

In terms of school, anyone who wants to get on board! Student-wise, kids who express an interest in the program or who are recommended by their teachers or school community would be perfect candidates. This program is not exclusive to one disability or another, however students must undergo proper diagnostic procedures, in particular possess limitations surrounding coordination and physical movement. The program will be a whole lot of fun and will attract a whole lot of attention, making these parameters essential to ensure the program is used by and assists students who need it most.

‘Is it an intervention or a last resort type of thing? ’

Due to the flexible nature and ability to manipulate all key elements of the program, it can be used at any stage. However, it must be noted that it is not therapy focused therefore is not intended to replace any external therapy/work the child requires. Instead, it is ideally meant as an extra support to work alongside HPE – again it’s not intended to replace the entire subject.

‘Having that competitive aspect or connection might work as a good goal?’

I think this will come down to the specific requirements, ability and objectives of each students and their paired buddy (tutor). In some situations it may be an excellent incentive to link up with other students and compete, however in other situations it may be detrimental to the student’s movement journey.

It will also depend on the ability of the tutor/s to link two students of similar ability levels. It may simply not be an appropriate match between students who can get online (or have classes) at the same time.

It Exists!

Well today is my last blog. This is it the end of a journey and what a journey it has been. We started with a simple idea and now many weeks later that idea is a really thing!

Today I had an opportunity to pitch my idea to a panel and an audience of PE teachers and the feedback I received was amazing! They said that the simplicity of the idea was great and the fact that I don’t need any type of funding makes it a viable idea right now. So I have done it, as of today the YouTube channel Teach-a-Teacher is up and running. For now the updates will be slow when I find videos that have helped me plan a lesson I will add them to a playlist. Because I am still at uni I’m not yet teaching full time so there won’t be massive amounts of activity for a while. For now there is just one Playlist and that is for badminton they are videos I have used to help me plan lessons on prac. Obviously this isn’t too helpful for anyone teaching anything other than Badminton so this is where you come in. I would like you to direct message the YouTube channel with one video that helped you teach a sport you have had to teach on prac. Assuming they are appropriate the videos will form the beginning of a playlist for that sport.

Thank you for keeping up with my blogs and being with me for this journey. It’s really exciting for this idea to become a reality and with your help it can be more than that it can be something that really makes a difference to teachers. So get on board and we can make something great.

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