Innovation in Online Education: teaching Health and Physical Education at the Brisbane School of Distance Education

The recent and urgent need to transition student learning online has resulted in a myriad of questions from Australian students, parents and school leaders. Most notably are questions pertaining to the more practical aspects of the Australian Curriculum. As traditional bricks-and-mortar schools redefine how they provide education to their community, many are left perplexed by how to teach and assess subjects such as Dance, Visual Art and Health and Physical Education (HPE). Typically,these subjects rely on rapid feedback to and from students based on the repeated performance of specific (and often complex) skills. Simply, these subjects are grounded in coaching where teachers fire off comments, suggestions and information that support students in honing their performance. What this looks like when there is physical separation of teacher and student is one of the great challenges of online and distance learning. At the Brisbane School of Distance Education, the Health and Physical Education Department have enthusiastically accepted this challenge.

Piloted by teacher Tamara Brown and Head of Department Hamish Pike, an innovative approach to video-based coaching is being trialled. The premise for this project is simple: increase the frequency of student performance and coaching feedback in every HPE lesson. By taking an action research approach to this project, Tamara has developed instructional videos that show students how to capture their performance during lessons. This is facilitated by the One Note smartphone application. Students are directed to repeatedly capture their performance and instantly share it via One Note. This then allows Tamara to evaluate their performance and to provide ongoing verbal and written feedback during lessons. Moreover, this teacher is continuously collecting evidence of student learning which will be used for summative assessment. By making the learning of the practical aspects of HPE visible in her lessons, Tamara will know what each student needs to do to improve and can provide the expert coaching that is so critical in her subject area. In fully online schools like the Brisbane School of Distance Education,this innovative approach to pedagogical improvement is strongly encouraged.What Tamara learns in her context will undoubtedly help teachers across the school as they all work to ensure the online mode is the best mode of learning for their students.