Skype goes to gym class and gets kids dancing

A lot of students feel left out or bored in physical education classes, and one P.E. teacher is doing something about it. Jon Tait, assistant head teacher at Woodham Academy in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham (U.K.), has pioneered using Skype to challenge his students in new ways — both academically and physically.

One way is by taking part in an international dance project with teachers in other classes around the world. “Initially we thought we would send each other videos of our dances and then judge them,” Tait recalls. “Then I had the idea of doing it live on Skype, which was so exciting. Our students learned different dances before the contest. On the day of the event, we set up computers, webcams and projectors in our gyms. We divided our kids into groups and they danced for each other on Skype. We also set up an online poll for the students so they were able to vote for their favorite dances with their cell phones. It was incredible to watch. I live-tweeted about it and it garnered so much attention from the online teaching community. Everyone wanted to get involved.”

Find out more about Tait’s take on how to use Skype in physical education, including what sports do and don’t lend themselves to sharing online.

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Steve Clarke
Microsoft News Center Staff