Motivate Students and Increase Activity Time with BlazePod

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By: Kevin Hopp, Zeke Bailes, Hank van der Merwe

In an age where sedentary lifestyles have become the norm, the quest for engaging and innovative physical education solutions has led to the introduction of BlazePod, a ground breaking Flash Reflex Training system into schools. This technology not only promises to transform physical education but also addresses the urgent need to counteract the physical inactivity crisis that threatens the nation’s health and well-being.

“Teaching Physical Education for 17 years in the Topeka Metropolitan area has been a labor of love and a highlight of my life. Over the past 4 years I have been our districts Physical Education consultant enabling me the opportunity to adjust the curriculum and provide Professional Development throughout our district to the Elementary and Secondary Physical Education programs. This new role was the catalyst that led me to find BlazePod, one of the best new tools that is now a staple in our programming and curriculum.
- Kevin Hopp
Topeka Public Schools

Engagement and Motivation

BlazePod is an impactful tool for the physical, mental and motivational development of the students. So impactful, that Topeka School District decided to create a whole day of Professional Development and purchase BlazePod for each elementary Physical Education teacher in the district.

One of the biggest benefits of BlazePod is how they jump-start student engagement and motivate by supercharging basic activities. They can create a sense of urgency, competition, improve reaction time, multi-tasking, better focus and so much more. For example, dribbling a basketball to a BlazePod instead of a cone added so much more to the drill. BlazePod makes basic drills smarter by instructing the student where to go and what to do next. The unpredictability of the lights brought excitement to the students, for the aforementioned drill they wouldn’t know ahead of time, if they were going to perform a lay-up, chest pass, dribble 5 times, or where they were going next, until they performed the task and hit the light.

“I haven’t seen my students this excited in a long time. They literally enter the gym asking me if we are going to use them.”
- Trent Suzuki
2022 SHAPE America Western District PE TOY

See BlazePod in Action!

Click on a button below to view videos of BlazePod being used in PE!

Fitness & Warmup

Motivating students to enjoy basic exercises is challenging, but with the incorporation of BlazePod, the students get excited and push their effort to new levels. BlazePod makes an average and basic routine into something new and exciting for the students by creating a new level of engagement and motivation. Here is an example of one of our favorite warmup activities:

BLAZEPOD: Fitness Stations

  1. Pass out different colored wristbands to the students. You can use up to 8 colors, to match the 8 BlazePod light colors.
  2. Have all the students start in the middle of the gym.
  3. Set up several cones with BlazePod on top. I set up 8 cones around the gym, and labeled each of them with a different exercise or activity that I want them to do.
  4. Set a timer for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Then I hit start on my device (Smart Phone/Tablet)
  6. Each student must locate their corresponding wristband color to BlazePod light color and run to that station and perform the activity/exercise as a group.
  7. After they finish at that station as a group, they tap the BlazePod and then identify where their next BlazePod color appears or determine which station they go to next.
  8. This repeats for the duration I have set.

This takes the students out of the basic routine of traveling clockwise and adds a randomization to the activity. The students really enjoy it!

“We enjoy the pods during station time for our skill development and situational awareness. Utilizing the pods and the app in my classroom has greatly enhanced my students' motivation and created a highly exciting and engaging atmosphere. By incorporating the Blazepod functions into stations and gameplay, my students have shown growth in skill development and situational awareness. They have become more aware of their surroundings and are better equipped to react quickly to fast changing environments, all while improving their skills!”
- Zeke Bailes
Knox County Schools

Stress Relief

BlazePod is a great tool to reduce stress and aggravation in students so they can get back on task. There are many students who struggle with behavioral issues and struggle to stay in the classroom.  There are also many teachers who are dealing with these same issues during game play and P.E.

BlazePod has become one of the strategic unlocks for solving these issues. The BlazePod Reactive Intelligence Wall (RIW), which is basically 6-pods affixed to a wall is an amazing tool to use any time a student is struggling. After a few minutes on the RIW, the student normally calms down and is ready to re-enter the game or activity we were playing. The RIW is also used as a proactive tool for some students, who knew ahead of time that they would need the wall before being ready to enter the game or activity, whether this was for focus, anti-stress or to gather some energy prior.

BlazePod Around the World: Australia

Our BlazePod School Activities are meticulously designed to align with pivotal educational frameworks, including the Australian Physical Education Curriculum, the Physical Literacy Framework by Sports Aus, and the Australian Government Sport 2030 Agenda. By focusing on the Movement and Activity strand, we aim to foster a holistic approach to physical education that promotes lifelong health and wellbeing.

Expanding Horizons through Healthy Competition

The evolution of The PodGames into a virtual competition and the establishment of the PodGames Schools League represents a significant leap forward in making competitive physical education accessible and continuous. The introduction of sprints and the grand finale, The PodGames Cup, offers a structured pathway for schools to engage in healthy competition, culminating in a national event to crown “The Quickest On Earth.”

Going Global: The International Stage

In March 2024, The PodGames will take an exciting step onto the international stage at the Saint Stithians Sports Festival in South Africa. This event will see over 1000 athletes from more than 90 sports teams participate in a multi-sport festival. We will be there with our Reaction Intelligence Wall to challenge and inspire athletes and coaches alike, further cementing the role of innovative technology in advancing physical education.

Authors:
Kevin Hopp: Dean of Students, Topeka Public Schools
Zeke Bailes: PE Teacher, Knox County Schools
Hank van der Merwe: High Performance Expert, Australia

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