Mobile fitness applications are all the rage for people who want to get active and stay in shape. Smart wearables revenue is projected to hit $38 billion USD worldwide by 2018 – driven in large part by the demand for fitness trackers and accompanying apps.
Physical education teachers can tap the same type of technology to engage students in P.E. class, and to keep them moving long after class has ended. By downloading these free (and a few low-cost) apps, P.E. teachers can incorporate the best tech resources into their everyday classroom activities.
Check out the top apps that physical education teachers should have at the ready:
1. SworkIt – Free
Fourteen million people have downloaded this free app, which allows users to create personalized workouts that range from five minutes to an hour in length. There are options for cardio, Yoga, strength training, circuit activities, and more. This is a perfect fit for P.E. teachers who want to switch up the type of activities from one class to the next, but don’t have a lot of time to create such a variation in lesson plans. The workouts that happen in SworkIt can sync to other fitness apps like Fitbit, DailyMile, MyFitnessPal, and more.
2. Hudl Technique – Free
This app makes slow motion video assessment possible, making it applicable to both P.E. class and school sports settings. The app can analyze baseball swings, or set up side-by-side comparisons of tennis techniques. You can record video in high-definition video, and upload videos and images from other sources, like the phone camera. Hudl also offers a library of video resources to help students learn new skill sets.
3. Fit Radio – Free
Nothing gets a kid’s feet moving quite like the right music. Eliminate the time it takes to create the right playlists for your activities by choosing from thousands of lists already available in this app. There are 15 to 20 available playlists in each genre that are changed up daily. There is even a setting for picking kid-friendly tunes that are void of profanity and inappropriate content.
4. Skitch – Free
This app is not P.E.-specific but its capabilities work well in the setting. Skitch is a product of Evernote (the popular organization app), and it allows users to visually communicate ideas in a variety of ways. In a P.E. class, Skitch is useful for taking photos of students trying out new skills, and then attaching ideas and tips to the image. Sports coaches can also use the Skitch app to draw out plays, or comment on images of plays that have already occurred.
5. FitnessMeter – $1.99
FitnessMeter is the ultimate tool for measuring student athletic pursuits – from speed to agility to altitude to general physical shape. The app has video functions that help with measuring outcomes, like distance and height. It even has a function that counts repetition on activities like jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, and chin-ups.
6. Balance It – $1.99
This app is specific to helping students develop gymnastics skills through Task Card learning. With more than 60 hand-drawn balances, starting at beginner level and working up in difficulty, it’s a scalable app that can work for a variety of ages and fitness levels. In addition to individual “balance” challenges, there are paired ones and challenges written for larger group teamwork.
While Physical Education apps can’t take the place of the actual physical activities in class, they can supplement what teachers are already doing quite well. Blending the available technology with good old-fashioned exercise and skill building is a cutting-edge way to maximize the impact of P.E. classes and keep students genuinely excited about the activities taking place.