Theory PE






The ease of use and simplicity, coupled with the fact that many pupils have their own devices these days, mean that the Ipad or iPod touch is ideal for use in the classroom. With a range of products and marketing that targets educational institutions schools are really starting to get on board with their range of devices.There are ways that PE teachers can use iPads or iPods within theory classes from PE apps, note taking apps or iTunes U. If you only have a one or a few devices in a class of 30 you can still incorporate the device by setting up ‘stations’ where groups rotate and use an iPad. Remember the iPad should be seen as an educational tool. There are some really good examples of blogs out there that showcase how you can incorporate just one device like this one. So… with all this in mind it is time to crack on!

My top tips for only one device:

1) Carousel where pupils rotate around stations (iPad, text-book, card sort, past paper questions) 

2) Rotate around groups in the class on a timed basis

3) Students that have finished the class tasks get to use the device as  reward

4) Randomly select students to use the iPad (raffle)

5) Link to the whiteboard via Apple TV or Cable  and pupils share ideas & answers via work apps.


1) PE Apps: There aren’t that many PE theory specific apps out there and if you are teaching a specific section of a theory class for example fitness, psychology or anatomy then you can find an app to support the students learning for a certain section of a course. For example using iMuscle or fitness pro has been useful when delivering the Edexcel GCSE specification this term for me, specifically topic 1.1.4 and the fitness section. The following are a list of apps that I have been using this term.

– GCSE PE app: This is a great app that I use during the plenary of my lessons or as a ‘rewards’ part of the lesson where they can listen to music on our iPods whilst revising using this app.  Generally universal for all three GCSE PE specifications the app has all sections divided up in to handy revision bits and also quizzes to test subject knowledge.The results give instant feedback and can inform which areas and topics need more work.

– GCSEPod app: GCSE Pod is a subscription based service that schools can sign up to and you don’t have to have a mobile device to view them a lot of my pupils download them and use them on their PC at home. We have been an advocate of the service since early 2011 and featured in a case study in an article in the TES back in April 2011. However if your school subscribes to GCSEPod you can download the iPhone or iPod Touch app, enter your username and password to access the audio-visual podcasts for free. The new feature of the service is that if your school does not have a subscription you can buy a personal subscription through the App. All the podcasts contain information such as dates, names, annotated diagrams, keywords, themes, quotes, equations and graphs and are great for targeting different learning styles of pupils. They are just releasing the series for PE and as you can see from the picture from their website (click image for web link) that they are slowly releasing them so stay tuned!

– Anatomy apps:

One of the best range of apps available for the ipad are the anatomy and medical apps category. The multi gesture touch screen on any apple device means that learning about the human body is interactive. If you have just one device, say one iPad and a theory class of 20 pupils you can use the device by passing it around in small groups, giving just timed intervals on the iPad where pupils are working on ‘stations’ or in focus groups. Below are a list of the best anatomy apps that we use on a regular basis. Of course there are great ones such as Grey’s anatomy and hundreds of others, but it is crucial that schools, especially with the new Apple licence program that they get value for money or as many free apps as they can. 

1.  iMuscle (£1.49) This is a sophisticated workout aid that can be used to identify a body part or individual muscle by zooming into a 3-Dimensional human body with the musculature exposed. Then access all the exercises associated with the development / rehabilitation of that muscle and also plan a training program or exercise based on muscle groups.

2. Speed bones lite (69p)This is a must have game if you are tackling anatomy for high school, university or medical school. It is more captivating than flashcards and practice mode allows you to learn specific regions without doing all the previous levels. Review mode lets you replay all the mistakes you’ made in the last game to facilitate learning

3. DK Human Anatomy (£4.99) This anatomy app is by far one of the best and great value for money. You can look into the human body with highly accurate, visual and accessible information. The wonders of human anatomy are explored and explained in a way that offers hours of learning, fun and entertainment. Designed for everyone with an interest in the subject, the Human Body app is a must-have reference. With enough detail to satisfy the demanding student, the app also offers rich illustrations and features for the casual browser. This is the perfect gift for yourself or someone who loves to learn

4. Learn muscles (£1.49) This is a great reference, testing and education tool including 138 beautiful muscle images with name, action, origin, insertion and comments, plus audio pronounciation guide, a quiz maker, an action viewer and 6 short videos to create a rich learning experience.

5. Superbodies anatomy app. (£1.49) Get ready to discover how much velocity, precision and sheer strength it takes to reach the pinnacle of the sporting elite by looking at the different body systems. Peel away the human skin to see reveal exactly what takes place at a physiological level amongst elite athletes. The app is available for either iPhone/iPod/iPad and starts off with the users selecting a focus sport. The app then launches an introductory video narrated by Dr Greg Wells, before it takes to inside the body. From this point on the app really excels as you navigate through the blood stream via a simple yet exciting navigation system. As you approach points of interest related to the focus sport, the app switches to a video explanation or tidbit of information.

6. Pocket Heart 2 (£6.99) Is a brilliant way to learn and review the function and structure of the heart in 3D. Students can explore the case studies in full detail or complete a ‘locate pin quiz’ to test their knowledge.

7. Virtual Heart (Free) You can see inside of a model heart and allows users to label key components or explore elements such as blood flow, right through to valves/electrical impulses. Will be using this in class to help visualise the concepts of acute responses to exercise. For example, have students complete a step test and determine their HR, then use the app to show them what their heart actually looks like at that exercise load.

8. Cardiograph (£1.49) Cardiograph is a super high quality app that tracks your heart rate via your devices camera. The best feature about this app is the capacity to create multiple profiles, making it perfect for a class full of students. Also if your running iOS 5 and using iCloud then all of your measurements will be synced to all of your devices instantly.

9. The Skeletal System Pro III (£10.49) includes the most in depth 3D skeleton ever developed, the ability to rotate, cut and get superior/inferior views all with the simple stroke of the finger.  This app’s primary use is as a learning tool but can also be used as a fast and innovative reference tool by utilizing the index function which allows the user to select an item and the app will automatically zoom in and identify it.  Additionally, this app is ideal for physicians, educators or professionals, allowing them to visually show detailed areas of the skeletal system to their patients or students – helping to educate or explain conditions, ailments and injuries.

10. Speed Muscles (£1.99) This is a must have game if you are tackling anatomy  with a practice mode allows you to learn specific regions without doing all the previous levels. Review mode lets you replay all the mistake you made in the last game to increase learning speed.



Augmented reality anatomy apps: This is a hot topic these days in education, with more and more apps becoming available that support AR. But what exactly is it and how can you use it within your teaching? Augmented reality is about enriching the learning environment, and presenting content in a creative, interactive and informative way. This technology, when applied to education, means incredible educational scenarios can be designed which would otherwise be impossible. For example, using virtual reality, we can hold something as small as an atom or as big as a planet in our hands, on a practical scale unconceivable in reality. Augmented reality also makes it possible for us to study abstract concepts such as geometric and three-dimensional shapes which are difficult to learn through a flat text book, allowing us to freely manipulate and observe them from any angle, thus greatly improving our spatial visualisation.

So for PE & education:

I have recently discovered a group of apps by Arloon and these are simply phenomenal. For teachers wanting to easily implement Augmented Reality for the first time, using these apps would be a simple yet effective place to start. Their range of apps include cell biology to the one most applicable to PE, and that is their anatomy app.

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Step 1: Download the Anatomy Arloon App

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Step 2: Go to Arloon, download and print the AR card and cut it out and stick it onto a hard backing (this is what the students will need to scan)

Step 3: Start any ARLOON app and press the Augmented Reality option that then allows learners to interactively engage with the human body systems in a truly amazing way. The description function is a great way for students to learn the main parts of the body and the quiz option allows students to test their knowledge.



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Further use: When the camera turns on, point your device at the card. If you have correctly selected the image you want to use as a code, you will see the 3D content appear in augmented reality over the image.

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For a more in depth explanation of how to use this fantastic app watch their instructional video here.

 How to use in PE
As I have only just discovered the app at the recent Apple ADE conference from a group of PE educators from Spain, I will be looking to implement it from September when I return to school. I will in due course update it with evidence & experiences from my teaching.
1) If you have class sets: Get the app on your class sets, and teach the theory using the educational part of the apps’ content.
2) Just one iPad:
1) Plug it in to the projector/whiteboard using the apple VGA connector cable
2) Stream via AppleTV
3) BYOD: Because ARLOON works on all devices and operating systems, it is the perfect tool for just-in-time teaching and adapts to each student. It makes it possible to apply the Bring Your Own Device program, which provides students with a personalised learning experience using their own mobile devices.

Further reading:
Edutopia’s article on AR & how it can benefit students learning
great blog article with lesson integration ideas from “Two Guys & Some iPads” (Brad and Drew)
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More creative, advanced & complex uses: Create your own AR experiences via Aurasma

2) iTunes U: Allows you to search for video or audio lectures from universities and colleges and take notes from them. You can read books and view presentations and see assignments that have been set up.  An iTunes U course includes all the items you would use in a traditional course: a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and so on. Also they can include video and audio lectures as well as interactive elements such as content and links from the Internet, iBookstore, App Store, and iTunes Store.

iTunes U app: The app can be downloaded from the app store so that you can have your course content via the app. Just tap a book and start reading, click a video and its instantly on, click a link to go straight to the correct segment. With automatic updates iTunes U keeps all documents, notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date through the app. You can encourage pupils to download the app if they have their own devices as well.

Creating your own courses:  Apple have recently made it possible for any teacher or lecturer to create their own  iTunes U course and this is especially useful if schools do not have their own VLE or good ICT infrastructures to house course materials. It’s easy to create your own custom courses for iPad and means  it puts materials you create for your course including syllabus, videos, apps, books, class assignments etc all in one place. To start using the iTunes U Course Manager, which is an easy-to-use web-based tool, simply gather all the materials you need and follow the steps in iTunes U Course Manager by clicking here.


3) Revision Apps: Pupils could use their devices such as these to revise and we can ensure that they are used in the right way with a number of useful apps, podcast services and other resources to enhance the revision experience for many young people. In this post we will explore some of the best emerging technology out there for physical education students.

Revision App is the Ultimate Revision Tool. With pre-loaded flash cards covering GCSE, A-Level, University and College subjects. There is a quiz functionality, the ability to create your own video, text or audio flash cards. Additionally you can participate in a group study and send flash cards to friends or other members of your study group.

Revision aid allows pupils to build their own text or multiple choice questions and use the quiz section to take the quiz in random order.

Top 20 Exam Revision Tips, is an iPhone/iPod application that brings you the guidelines for exam revision tips that are really very helpful for every student.


4) Note taking/ work apps:  There are literally hundreds of apps that allow students to take notes or create work on that make learning more engaging, fun and interactive. The best note taking app available is evernote and its features simply surpass any other app on the market. They are similar to Apple because they too have a big focus on education and the simple to use interface means that pupils can take notes and sync them to the central server, meaning nones are always there. This is excellent for PE because we are constantly using different facilities, locations or classrooms- pupils simply pick up where they left off.  Evernote is like a binder that a student can carry with them from year to year. Each year a student can collect all of their learning in one location and essentially, indirectly or purposely, compile a digital portfolio.

Environmental benefits: Using such an app has environmental benefits as well because you will find that eventually you can become paperless. You can scan assignments and teaching tools and store them in notebooks. Also pupils have no excuse for not forgetting their books either and are probably much likely to take notes on an iPad than in a text book.

Differentiation: I have a number of students with special educational needs in my btec class and they find it difficult to take notes. Touch screens instead can be much easier to use by students with fine motor difficulties or low levels of literacy and can also help unorganised students by keeping their notes all in one place.

To read more about the iPads in SEN education click here for an excellent live binders resource.

Work apps: There are hundreds of apps that you can use for getting students to record and write down notes, coursework or projects. Whiteboard apps capture what students or teachers draw on an iPad screen and can also record voice. To view my favourite ones click here to view my page on this topic.


5) ebooks: Apple’s recent announcement of an upgrade to iBooks author has meant that it is now even easier to create your own course text books and really puts you the teacher in control of content for your courses and classes. There are two ways that you can create ebooks for your devices and these are firstly converting a word, pages, powerpoint or keynote document into a PDF so that it can be viewed in iBooks, or using iBooks author on a  mac. For information and a how to guide see my page on ebooks by clicking here.


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My PE Exam is a fantastic website created by James Simms. It is full of simple 10 minute video tutorials on YouTube for students to use within their revision for theory PE exams. There are over 300 videos covering the full range of GCSE, AS & A2 PE.

You can follow his work at @My_PE_EXAM

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