Using iPad/iPhone in lessons – Coach’s Eye

For the last few weeks, I’ve been making use of an app called “Coach’s Eye”. This app created by TechSmith is available for download currently priced at £2.99 from Apple’s App Store. I believe it’s also recently made it onto the Android platform but, not being a user, I don’t know much more about this.

The idea is a simple one; teachers/coaches can use video analysis software to provide either instant visual/verbal feedback to students, or fiddle with video clips to add graphics and more in depth analysis to the visuals.

For me personally, Coach’s Eye means that you can honestly make use of technology in just about every practical lesson imaginable. For too long, PE departments have been peddled expensive, elaborate technology & software like Kandle or Dartfish to name but two. Now I’m not going to bash these bits of tech; they are sophisticated, innovative and can allow experienced users to perform all kinds of wizardry to wow and engage even the most sceptical of audiences. However, if like me you work for a living & don’t usually have a spare few hours to spend creating, tweaking and computer-screen-staring, you might never make it past the most basic functions of the programmes.

I used Kandle for the 1st time in my previous school, 7 years ago. The only thing it ever got used for was the time-delay playback function. This allowed kids to see what they had just done on a projector screen and hopefully then evaluate/improve their performance. This for some reason was always in gymnastics. Unfortunately setting up a video camera, projector, screen, laptop & cables was a right pain in the arse. And the £2000 cost for the full Kandle package didn’t really seem justified.

Now compare that to Coach’s Eye. The App is £2.99. It allows users to capture video or import existing footage from the camera roll. Once captured, the footage can be slowed, paused and with the use of the jog-wheel function, rolled on frame by frame. You can record audio commentary onto the footage for verbal feedback and also draw graphics directly onto the visuals on screen. It’s a bit like a poor-man’s Alan Hansen-esque analysis diagram. The finished analysis video can be uploaded to YouTube, sent via email or Twitter all via the inbuilt “share” function. The whole process can be as quick as 2 minutes; great if you are wanting to show kids what they are doing in a lesson/game/skills practice. I’ve started taking a pair of headphones to plug into my iphone so that kids can clearly hear the commentary – it can be a bit quiet when played on a windy field.

You can take your time with Coach’s Eye and create more complex analyses, but for me, this kind of goes against the beauty & simplicity of the software. It isn’t designed to be that expensive bit of kit that gets wheeled out when Ofsted come sniffing. It’s real day-to-day useful technology.

The way I’m using Coach’s Eye is pretty much Teacher-driven. Some institutions may have invested in iPads or other generic tablet devices en masse. At Cramlington we operate a scheme whereby all students in Years 7 & 8 have opportunity to obtain a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. This kind of mass usage would allow kids to create their own Coach’s Eye analysis videos & share them with others in the group. Not something we’ve looked at yet but a distinct possibility in the near future. We also employ a fantastic team of web designers who create apps & programmes in-house; I might ask them to look into creating a similar (non-Copywrite-infringing) programme for our kids to download and use.

For now, I’m still learning. I’ve included a link to an early attempt at using C.E. in a badminton lesson. The audio was recorded post lesson – the original commentary for the lads involved was pretty crap to be honest. Enjoy.

Badminton Coach’s Eye