ONLINE LEARNING IN ACTION: An Interview with Director of Sport, Hayden Danks - Cranbrook School

ONLINE LEARNING IN ACTION: An Interview with Director of Sport, Hayden Danks

04 May 20 by Hayden Danks

An interview with Cranbrook Director of Sport, Hayden Danks on how Cranbrook School's Sport & PDHPE programmes have been adapted for Online Learning.


What technology are you using for sport/PDHPE?

The main delivery platform for the School is Canvas and we are using this and Microsoft Teams to deliver meetings between sports teams and the coaches and livestream activities with students. We couple this with a range of online resources already available and published to support our online classes.

Are you doing live-streamed interactive classes, pre-recording lessons, getting students to complete tasks independently, or is there a mix?

Cranbrook Sports Department have provided a platform of daily exercise for the boys. The exercises are via worksheets with clear diagrams and instructions, as well as staff filmed exercises. Some are stock standard exercises to build and maintain fitness levels and others are sports specific. Each Head of Sport has built their own sports page on Canvas and will be filming workouts for the boys to follow applicable to their sport. We are shortly moving to interactive whiteboards as well on which coaches can share styles of play, strategies all in real time with the boys.

We are working to keep a healthy mix of interactive classes, independent tasks and live and pre-recorded lessons to ensure the boys remain connected and motivated through their education. The feedback we are receiving is that the boys want to keep interacting with their coaches, they want to keep regular contact with their squad and continue to feel part of a team and the sport. Our motto is: self-isolation does not mean you need to feel isolated. We can all still be connected and remain healthy.

How are you keeping kids active?

When our students have a sports lesson that is normally in their timetable, the boys are instructed to get up and get active! When their allocated sport period comes up, students have to access the relevant page on Canvas and participate in the daily workouts of strength and conditioning or go to their sports specific training page.

Sports staff are also uploading other content regarding sport in Australia generally. For example, the FFA have recently asked for feedback from Australia’s students on soccer in Australia today, so Cranbrook’s Football Coach has asked all his students to consider this and write their opinion. The top three responses will then be submitted to the FFA. It is important that our boys take this opportunity whilst they can to really consider sport in general and, in the situation that we now find ourselves, they now have even more capacity to do this.

Is anything being done for sports teams? (instruction on remaining fit, reference to online team training etc)

Although they’re not able to play matches, our senior squads are in close contact with their coaches. We are also working to loan out some of our school equipment to the 1st teams such as heart rate monitors. The boys will then train independently and when they return the monitor to the School we will be able to download the data and provide feedback on their fitness capabilities and review their progress and areas for improvement over time. This will give teachers and them quantifiable data.

We are encouraging all our boys to be creative with their workouts – they need to log on to the online learning platform, and our staff are setting up specific times for the boys to ask questions and gather feedback.

What are teachers now doing differently?

For sport, we will continue to evolve and improve the delivery of online classes. Getting our teachers in front of the boys is so important to all of us, and it’s important to the boys also to be connected to their teachers, coaches and teammates. We are especially focussed on further moving towards running online classes which provide the boys with interaction with their teachers directly and moving away from videos and website links.

What innovations have emerged?

Daily creativity is really starting to come into this and innovations are coming regularly. Staff members are being invigorated and thinking differently which is a real positive to have come out of this situation.

As example, our Tennis coaches have been filming instructional videos for students giving narration in grips and racquet strategies the boys can try at home in their bedroom or living room.

In another example, our swimming coach is filming himself swimming laps and tumble turns so that stylistically our swimmers can review and incorporate into their styles. This can be practiced at home by boys lucky enough to have backyard swimming pools, or also on land where we encourage our swimmers to perfect their techniques. The boys can train in their own space and our coaches will be online to watch and direct.

The opportunities are endless for what and how we can deliver our programmes and Cranbrook sports staff are really embracing this opportunity to work new ideas and methods into their teaching.