Students were challenged to create a video on an iPad that explains how to properly receive or serve a volleyball. The videos were then posted to a website where they could be shared with other students, teachers and parents. Above, Kaine Reiter (center) saves a video clip he and classmates Austin Dopheide (left) and Daniel Harrison (right) created using an iPad.
Students were challenged to create a video on an iPad that explains how to properly receive or serve a volleyball. The videos were then posted to a website where they could be shared with other students, teachers and parents. Above, Kaine Reiter (center) saves a video clip he and classmates Austin Dopheide (left) and Daniel Harrison (right) created using an iPad.
October 2, 2013



Wade Obrecht moves around the gym with motivation and excitement. The Fairview Elementary School third-grader is working on his volleyball serve, and a classmate is offering instruction. Other students in the gym are working on forearm passes or overhead passes while some fellow students record the action on iPads. "You put weight on your right foot and then locate it to the left, and then swing your arms to the ball," Obrecht explained. "It's really fun." This fun is a new way iPads, often labeled the enemy to activity, have come to Keith Petersen's classes to engage students in physical education.

"It's so neat," said Petersen, who is in his 30th year as a physical education teacher at the school. "Technology used the right way is just awesome."

In today's classes, teachers like Petersen are finding new ways to not only teach rules and skills, but encourage a lifetime of fitness and wellness. With the use of iPads, they have found unique ways to keep students engaged and help them stay fit.

"A kid is always a kid, and a kid comes to class and they love to play," Petersen said. "That hasn't changed."

Adapting the use of iPads in class for a volleyball unit has changed the way the kids learn and develop new skills.

Most of the students have enjoyed use of the iPads so far.

"It's pretty cool to videotape ourselves," said McKenzie Poock. "It's fun to have them (iPads) in gym class."

Third-graders Poock and Hannah Shanks work together on volleyball drills. They learn the skills, instruct each other on them and then record themselves on the iPad with an iMovie application. The students then use the iPads to evaluate themselves in serve, set and pass.

"It's cool when we get to watch people doing it," Shanks said. "I like to see how we did."

Petersen said adding the iPads has taken his P.E. classes to another level to enrich the experiences of today's students.

"It's helped with skill development," he said. "When they have to teach it to someone else they have to understand it. Some of them are really good."

Other class units that will benefit with use of iPads are already being discussed.

"If I were to do something similar, I think we'll do it with our shooting form in basketball and ball-handling skills," Petersen said. "We can do the same thing with soccer skills with dribbling and trapping. I think we can use it in gymnastics to show our tumbling skills."

Kelli McCaulley, a K-12 technology integrationist at the school, was instrumental is getting the iPads into the elementary P.E. classes. Her goal for the project was using the iPads for creating, which involved multiple higher-order-thinking skills.

"I feel it's very powerful when you put the students in charge of their own learning," she said. "That is exactly what the students did in Coach's class by having to demonstrate and explain what they learned from the volleyball unit. It's a win-win situation."

Use of the iPads allows instructors to assess a student's finished product in a completely different way than just a paper test or quiz.

"The students are proud to showcase their knowledge," McCaulley added. "The best part that I observed was seeing the groups work together to achieve their movie. It was a highly engaging project because many of the students felt like movie stars and directors. The classes cannot wait to see their movies online to show their families."

Videos of the student's volleyball unit have been posted to Petersen's website and can be found through the Carroll Community School website.