The enactment of new curriculum supported by a mobile app: Students’ and teachers’ perspectives

Year: 2019

Author: Tannehill, Deborah, Calderon, Antonio

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Increased international interest in two aspects of teaching and learning focus on 1) teaching using physical education (PE) curriculum models (CM) and 2) employing innovative assessment practices to document student learning. In Ireland, the SCPE Framework is built on six CM that are focused, theme-based, and reflect a specific philosophy about what is most important in PE. When examining innovative assessment, thePhyz app is designed to facilitate teaching and support student learning and assessment in SCPE.

The aim of this research is to develop an understanding of the Phyz potential to support teaching, learning, and assessment in PE. It intends to 1) support a small cluster of PE teachers as they familiarize themselves with the Phyz and integrate its use effectively into their planning and teaching, 2) build a learning community composed where these teachers can learn and plan collaboratively, share, reflect, and plan to improve their teaching practice supported by the Phyz, and 3) ensure that SC students are key partners in effective use of the Phyz to demonstrate their learning.

This study is significant as it follows six teachers delivering the SCPE Framework, tracking their professional learning needs teaching with the CM and using the Phyz, providing insight to professional development (PD) providers on the realities of delivering a new curriculum. It has the potential to impact on the experiences of SCPE students by engaging them as active learners in their own learning experiences and demonstration of learning.

A qualitative approach using a case study design allowed for deep exploration of the context, constraints within that context, the realities associated with the enactment of SCPE curriculum in schools, and the student experience of using the Phyz to support learning.

Teachers agreed that the Phyz and CM need to be taught separately, teachers need to have a clear understanding and knowledge of the CM, understand how to plan for and use the Phyz, and need to design units of learning before adding the Phyz. Students responded positively to learning through the CMs due to the ownership and responsibility for their own learning that it encouraged. The Phyz itself was novel for PE and permitted students to choose how to demonstrate their learning.

The increasing role and use of mobile applications is becoming more apparent by teachers and within teacher education. Our findings will have implications in the design, integration, and study of mobile educational apps in school environments.