Over the last term, I've been doing a lot of cycling. This is nothing new. I've cycled before, and always enjoyed it. The difference this time is my decision to integrate technology into the sport.
Upon recommendations from friends and family, I signed up to Strava - a cloud based data tracking system for cyclists. Sounds nerdy right? Well it probably is, but it's also become one of the most motivating reasons to get out there each and every day and enjoy an active lifestyle. The app which I click on and off at the beginning and end of each ride tracks distance, time, route and even the elevation profile of the course I rode. It allows me to monitor progress, set goals and analyse future paths, as well as follow other cyclists. The interest and energy with which I now enjoy cycling, even when I'm not actually on the bike, is enormous. Some screenshots and an example of a heat map provided by a cyclist blogger is shown below to demonstrate some of the cool tools available.
It got me thinking about the application of technology in the classroom. So long as its done right, a simple (and boring sounding) task like data analysis can become amazingly engaging. Rather than analyse data we've taken from the net, why not get the kids outside, go for a long walk, run or ride and then get them to analyse the data each time? This would have the added advantage of getting students outside but also provided a meaningful method of integrating both technology and numeracy into the classroom.
I'm healthier than I was at the start of the term now, largely thanks to Strava. There are obviously thousands of Apps in existence where similar processes can be applied - EasyDietDiary (a food/nutrition intake analyser), and MotionX (a sleep monitor) are some that comes to mind, but the point is we should never stop trying to integrate technology into the classroom, and we must move away from the obvious tools like Google and Wikipedia. I'm sure there is already an App available that would be better suited to many lessons you will one day need to teach.
A Computing teacher with a passion for collaboration and open source teaching.