International classroom engagement via the #7minrunchallenge

 
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After completing a night run using the nike+ app, I received notifications on my phone shortly after finishing, letting me know I had run my fastest km, my furthest run and how far I’d run that week. It made me feel all ‘warm and fuzzy’ that this app on my phone was recognising my feats and efforts and I felt motivated to run again. How could I replicate this feeling of recognition and motivation in my PE classes? This was my attempt.

The #7minrunchallenge was a pretty simple concept. Time your students for 7 minutes and see how far they run. Record, tally, repeat. Students received badges for each milestone they reach as well as getting personal best distances. This method of gamifying fitness seemed to really engage my male PE classes to strive to achieve the next distance badge or keep in front of their mates. I decided to create a ‘total distance’ cell in the document and run two of my classes against each other, hoping this competition would engage the students in some friendly banter and inspire them to run that little bit harder. Most students were fully engaged in this process and were running great distances in the 7 minutes each lesson.

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I wondered if this could be taken further and have classes from all around the world competing against each other. How cool would that be?

So I tweeted and got some interested teachers in @AnthonyCoe3116  @neatiewelsh both excellent #physed teachers from Tasmania, Australia as well as e-learning guru @TimGanderNZ from New Zealand.

After a few twitter PM’s, the google sheet was set up and ready to go! Four classes simultaneously competing in a running challenge thousands of kilometres apart. I think this could be the future of international student engagement.

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The experiment has fully engaged my students and has replicated that same sense of achievement I felt after running with the Nike+ app. It has all of us thinking about the future possibilities of connecting PE classrooms to engage and inspire students to be their best. Anthony has already put the idea out for a global crossfit challenge which I hope to be involved in somehow next term.

Finally, it was a buzz to get a mention at the #ACHPERtas state PE conference earlier in the week, you can check out the mentions and full presentations from @PENathan and @AnthonyCoe3116 presentations here and here. Well worth a look!

If you have an idea about how you could connect your classroom to others around the world, tweet out the idea, you will be glad you did.

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