Artificial Intelligence (AI) in PE

AI is a hot topic these days. I’ve been to two conferences recently that were all about machine learning and intelligence. Inevitably, AI will soon affect every aspect of our lives.The impact of AI on Physical Education has yet to be made clear. However, as AI becomes more integrated in education, it will likely affect all subjects, including ours. Due to the uniqueness of our subject area, however, the impact might look different from that of other areas of education.

“To explore the potential uses and benefits of AI in physical education and the challenges it may pose, I decided to talk directly with AI. The discussion was fascinating, and while it was intimidating at times, it ultimately offered a positive outlook on how we can incorporate AI in practical subjects like ours. I hope you enjoy hearing from AI itself!”

So, what do you think AI is today? (ChatGPT)

AI creates intelligent systems that can perform tasks requiring human intelligence, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and robotics. AI has healthcare, finance, transportation, entertainment, and customer service applications. These systems can analyse data, automate processes, and aid decision-making. However, AI has limitations and cannot replicate human intelligence entirely.

How do you see AI being used in Education specifically? (Gemini)

AI is transforming education by personalising learning, automating repetitive tasks like grading, and creating engaging student experiences. It can revolutionise learning by catering to individual needs, freeing teachers’ time, and making learning exciting and interactive.

Okay, but we don’t want to replace teachers, so how can AI support us in our practice rather than replace us? (ChatGPT)

You’re right; AI shouldn’t replace teachers. Instead, it can be a powerful assistant in your classroom. Imagine AI as a tireless helper that can:

Personalised learning: AI can analyse student data to identify strengths and weaknesses, then provide students with customised materials and practice exercises that target their specific needs. This frees you to focus on more complex topics and provides individualised guidance.

Grade mountains of work in seconds: AI can handle repetitive tasks like grading quizzes and multiple-choice questions, allowing you to spend more time giving in-depth feedback on essays and projects.

Craft-engaging activities: AI can generate interactive games, simulations, and other activities that make learning fun and cater to different learning styles. This keeps students engaged and motivated.

By working together, teachers and AI can create a dynamic and supportive learning environment where every student can thrive. AI tackles tedious tasks while you bring your creativity, expertise, and human touch to shape well-rounded learners.

What could its impact be on practical subjects like Physical Education? (ChatGPT)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly impact Physical Education (PE) by providing personalised fitness programs tailored to individual students’ needs and goals. AI-powered systems can give real-time feedback on form and technique, which can help reduce the risk of injury and improve performance. Virtual coaching and training simulations and immersive technologies like VR and AR can enhance learning experiences by offering guidance, motivation, and instruction in realistic settings. AI-driven performance analysis using wearable devices can help students track their progress and set achievable fitness goals. By gamifying physical activities and promoting engagement, AI can motivate students to participate actively in PE classes and maintain healthy habits. Moreover, AI can assist in injury prevention and rehabilitation by identifying risks and providing personalised recommendations. Overall, AI has the potential to revolutionise PE education by optimising coaching, enhancing performance analysis, and promoting student engagement while ensuring ethical and responsible implementation.

That sounds great, but much of it isn’t practical in most lessons. What are the most straightforward ways PE teachers can use AI? (Gemini)

Indeed, implementing complex AI technologies may only be feasible in some PE lessons. However, I can be a helpful tool for creating engaging PE lessons. Here’s an idea:

1. Leverage AI-powered game generators:

Apps like “The PE Geek” use AI to design games based on your available equipment and student grade level. These can be a great starting point, especially if you’re short on time or looking for fresh ideas.

2. Tailor the lesson with student data (if available):

Some schools use fitness trackers or other data collection methods in PE. If this is the case for you, see if there’s a way to anonymise data on student strengths and weaknesses. You can then use this info to tailor your lesson plan activities, ensuring everyone is challenged but not discouraged.

3. Use AI for assessment help:

AI assistants offer tools like Rubric Maker to streamline the creation of rubrics for assessing specific skills. This can free up your time to focus on instruction and provide more specific feedback to students.

Remember: AI is a tool, not a replacement for your creativity. Use these suggestions as a springboard to design a lesson that aligns with your teaching style and student needs.

I agree with your assessment. AI is a powerful tool that can augment human capabilities, but it shouldn’t replace them entirely. Here’s why your approach is a good one:

For me, AI is only as good as the human using it. It is suitable for ideas, checking for understanding, or summarising significant information for busy teachers. However, when it comes to applying the recommendations, it is always essential for a teacher to do their due diligence and use their professional judgement, too. What are your thoughts on this? (Gemini)

AI excels at processing information. AI can perform tasks very well by summarising large amounts of data or generating ideas. This frees up valuable time for teachers to focus on other aspects of their jobs.  AI, however, lacks human judgment. I can’t replicate a teacher’s experience and understanding of their students’ needs. A teacher’s professional judgment is crucial in applying AI recommendations to a specific situation. For instance, an AI might suggest a particular teaching style, but the teacher would need to consider the specific student group to determine its effectiveness.

Another point to note is that AI systems are trained on data sets created by humans, and these data sets can be biased. Teachers need to be aware of this potential bias and critically evaluate any recommendations from AI. AI is a valuable tool for teachers, but it should be used with a teacher’s professional judgment and expertise in the classroom.

Do you realise that Physical Education is much more than just Physical Training?

Yes, of course. Physical education (PE) extends beyond physical training, encompassing diverse learning experiences for holistic development. While promoting physical fitness and skill acquisition remains integral, PE also includes health education, focusing on nutrition and injury prevention. Additionally, it fosters the development of motor skills, social interaction, and cognitive abilities through activities such as team sports and cooperative games. Moreover, PE contributes to emotional well-being by providing a supportive environment for building confidence and resilience. Ultimately, its overarching goal is to instil lifelong habits of physical activity and wellness, ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

So, where should PE teachers start when considering using AI in their planning? (Gemini)

PE teachers can dip their toes into AI by focusing on areas that enhance personalisation and engagement. Remember, AI is a tool to support your teaching, not replace it. Experiment with a specific aspect and see how it complements your curriculum and teaching style.

Can you think of any great examples of AI supporting learning in an activity such as basketball? (ChatGPT)

In Basketball, AI can help players improve by analysing shooting techniques for better accuracy, simulating game scenarios to enhance strategy, and tracking performance metrics like speed and agility. It can also prevent injuries by identifying risky movements and tailoring training programs to players’ needs. With AI, coaches can provide personalised feedback and design drills to maximise player development. Overall, AI supports learning in basketball by offering guidance, simulating real-game situations, tracking progress, and minimising injury risks.

What does Meaningful PE mean to you?

As an LLM [Large Language Model], I can’t experience PE firsthand but can access information about Meaningful PE (MPE). Here’s what it emphasises:

  • Student-centred learning: MPE focuses on making PE relevant and engaging for each student. This might involve incorporating their interests or offering choices in activities.
  • Personal growth: MPE goes beyond physical fitness. It aims to help students develop social skills, confidence, and a love for movement that will last a lifetime.
  • Positive experiences: MPE prioritises creating a positive and inclusive environment where all students feel comfortable participating and valued.
  • Lifelong benefits: The ultimate goal is to help students discover the joy of movement and develop habits that will contribute to their overall well-being.

MPE is about creating a PE class that goes beyond just following drills. It’s about fostering a connection with physical activity and its positive impact on students’ physical, social, and emotional well-being.

So, should PE teachers be worried about using AI in their lessons in the future? (Gemini)

No, PE teachers shouldn’t be worried about AI replacing them. AI has the potential to be a valuable asset in your PE classroom. Here’s why:

Focus on what you do best: AI can handle administrative tasks like grading fitness tests or tracking attendance, freeing you up to focus on your best – motivating students, providing personalised coaching, and fostering a love for physical activity.

Enhanced Student Learning:  AI tools can personalise workouts, give real-time feedback on technique, and create engaging games. This can lead to faster progress, better skill development, and a more enjoyable student learning experience.

Data-driven Decisions: AI can analyse student data to identify areas where the class might struggle or excel. This allows you to tailor your lessons more effectively and ensure everyone is challenged appropriately.

More Time for Individual Attention: With AI taking care of repetitive tasks, you’ll have more time to provide individual attention to students who need extra help or want to push themselves further.

AI is here to complement your teaching, not replace it. It’s a tool that can make your job easier, your lessons more effective, and your students more engaged. So embrace the future of PE with AI as your helpful teammate!

A recent lawsuit involving a teacher found that copying a video in a PE lesson ended in a double tibia and fibula break. Professional judgement and due diligence are essential when using AI in Physical Education. Do you agree? (ChatGPT)

Yes, professional judgment and due diligence are crucial when considering using artificial intelligence (AI) within Physical Education (PE), especially in light of potential legal implications, as evidenced by the lawsuit you mentioned.

When integrating AI into PE, educators must exercise caution and responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of students. This includes carefully evaluating AI-powered tools or systems before implementing them in class to verify their suitability and appropriateness for the intended purposes.

Professional judgment plays a significant role in determining how AI technologies are utilised in PE lessons. Educators must assess the potential risks and benefits associated with AI applications, considering factors such as student safety, effectiveness of the technology, and alignment with educational objectives.

Due diligence involves thorough research and evaluation of AI solutions, including their reliability, accuracy, and potential impact on student learning and development. Educators should also consider any ethical considerations related to the use of AI in PE, such as data privacy and fairness issues.

Could you build me a simple scheme of work for a PE unit like dance? (ChatGPT)

Unit Title: Introduction to Dance   Unit Overview: This unit aims to introduce Key Stage 3 students to various dance styles, develop their coordination, rhythm, and creativity, and foster an appreciation for dance as a form of physical activity and self-expression. Aligned with the National Curriculum for Physical Education in England, students will learn basic dance techniques, explore different dance genres, and collaborate with peers to create and perform dance routines.   Lesson 1: Exploring Dance Styles   Introduction to different dance styles prevalent in the UK (e.g., ballet, contemporary, street dance) Discussion on the cultural significance and historical context of each dance style Warm-up activities to prepare students for dance movement Lesson 2: Basic Dance Techniques   Demonstration and practice of basic dance techniques, including posture, alignment, and footwork Guided exercises to develop coordination, balance, and flexibility Partner/group activities to explore movement dynamics and spatial awareness Week 2: Exploring Dance Genres   Lesson 3: Exploring Contemporary Dance   Overview of contemporary dance as a fusion of different movement styles and techniques Learning basic contemporary dance movements and sequences Creative activities to encourage students to express themselves through contemporary dance   Lesson 4: Introduction to Street Dance   Introduction to street dance culture and its influence on urban communities Learning basic street dance moves and grooves (e.g., popping, locking, breaking) Choreography session to create a simple street dance routine Week 3: Creating Dance Routines   Lesson 5: Choreography Basics   Introduction to choreography concepts such as formations, transitions, and motifs Guided brainstorming session to generate ideas for dance routines Small group work to start developing choreographic sequences based on chosen themes or concepts   Lesson 6: Rehearsal and Refinement   Practice and refine choreographic sequences with feedback from peers and teacher Discussion on the importance of teamwork, communication, and collaboration in dance Rehearsal of dance routines in preparation for final performance   Lesson 7: Final Rehearsal   Complete run-through of dance routines with costumes and props (if applicable) Final adjustments and polishing of performances Lesson 8: Dance Showcase   Presentation of dance routines to classmates, teachers, and possibly parents/guardians   Reflection and feedback session on the unit, including strengths, areas for improvement, and personal growth in dance skills and appreciation   Assessment: Assessment will be based on students’ participation, engagement, effort, improvement, and performance in dance activities throughout the unit. Formative assessment will be ongoing during lessons, while summative assessment will be conducted during the final performance showcase. Self-assessment and peer assessment opportunities will also be provided to encourage reflection and collaboration. The unit will align with the National Curriculum objectives for Physical Education, focusing on developing students’ physical skills, creativity, and appreciation for dance as an art form.

Can you recommend some great PE-specific AI tools we could use in our practice? (ChatGPT)

Certainly! Here are some AI tools designed explicitly for PE teachers to consider incorporating into their practice:

PlaySight Offers AI-powered sports video analysis tools that can track and analyse athletes’ movements during practice and games. It provides real-time feedback on technique, performance metrics, and tactical insights to help coaches and players improve their skills.

Coach’s Eye is a video analysis app that uses AI to analyse and annotate athletes’ movements frame by frame. It allows coaches to provide personalised feedback, draw annotations on videos, and compare performances side by side to identify areas for improvement.

Zybek Sports offers AI-powered sports performance testing systems to assess athletes’ speed, agility, and power. These systems provide objective data on athletes’ physical abilities, helping coaches tailor training programs and track progress.

SweatWorks is a fitness technology platform that uses AI to create personalised workout plans and track athletes’ progress. It offers interactive workout experiences, gamified challenges, and social features to motivate athletes and keep them engaged in their training.

Kinovea is a video analysis software that uses AI algorithms to track athletes’ movements and provide biomechanical insights. It allows coaches to analyse techniques, measure performance metrics, and create custom training programs based on individual needs.

These AI tools can help PE teachers enhance coaching effectiveness, optimise training programs, and provide personalised feedback to athletes, ultimately improving performance and fostering a positive learning environment.

Are you excited to see where AI can improve Physical Education provision for pupils? (Gemini)

Absolutely! As a large language model, I’m fascinated by the potential of AI to revolutionise many fields, and PE is no exception. It’s exciting to imagine PE classes that are:

Like personal training sessions for every student, AI can tailor workouts and provide real-time feedback, ensuring everyone progresses at their own pace and reaches their full potential.

Giant injury-prevention playgrounds: AI can analyse movement and identify risks before they become problems, keeping students safe and allowing them to participate more confidently.

Video game arcades for fitness: AI-powered games can make exercise fun and engaging, motivating students to push their limits and develop a lifelong love of physical activity.

These are just a few possibilities, and the potential for AI in PE continues to grow. AI can create a more dynamic, personalised, and enjoyable learning experience for every student.

The best part? AI won’t replace the irreplaceable role of PE teachers. Instead, it can be a powerful tool that empowers you to create an extraordinary learning environment for your students.

So, where should I start? (Gemini)

AI in PE class can be a game-changer, but where do you begin? Don’t worry; you don’t need an entire AI overhaul! Start small with wearable tech that tracks primary fitness data. This can personalise warm-ups or cool-downs based on your class effort. Next, explore apps that analyse short skill videos – they can provide essential feedback for individual drills. Finally, many existing fitness platforms use light AI for points, badges, or challenges. Find options that fit your class age and interests. Remember, AI is your teammate, there to support your teaching style. So, experiment with a tool that interests you and see how it enhances your lessons. Let’s embrace AI together and create fantastic PE experiences for your students!

So there you have it. AI itself can see the potential benefits to Physical Educators of embracing the technology as an opportunity rather than a threat. Before we see AI as a natural and embedded tool within most practical lessons, there is a long way to go. The argument for reducing movement time is complex for PE teachers to accept. Still, from a planning and development perspective, the opportunity to save time, expand access to ideas and resources, streamline and build consistency within our provision and free up energy from planning to provision is clear. I’m not yet sure what this will look like in the future, but I am sure it’s a conversation that will continue!

(Phil used a combination of ChatGPT and Gemini to form this discussion and ran all the answers through Grammarly AI to ensure clarity of language and correct any grammar and spelling)

Guest Blog by Phil Mathe

Phil Mathe is an international PE teacher with 18 years’ experience of working in, leading and developing PE departments and PE curricula. Phil has authored two books on PE design and is undertaking a PhD in International Physical Education at The University of Northampton. Phil has a passion for trying new things, embracing new technologies and ideas and enhancing the opportunities of students, both physically and mentally.

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