Diatribe from a Digital Dreamer


By Paul Rosengard, Executive Director for SPARK

Almost every morning I have coffee and read the paper.  Someone I’ve never met tosses it onto my driveway when it’s still dark outside.  Are paper people nocturnal?

This, like many habits is a tough one to break – but I’m nearly there.  Soon, I’ll change my subscription from paper to digital (sorry paper people who are reading this in the middle of the night…).  But you’ll have to pry the coffee from my cold, sleepy hands.

When I was a PE teacher, I used to develop lesson plans for my classes, print them onto paper or cards, and read them all day long.  As a coach, this continued after school with practice plans.  Maybe you’re a teacher and doing the same thing?

Today, technology presents us with options.  Recently, SPARK evolved to offer an all-digital version for every program.  That means lesson plans, assessment tools, content cards, written tests, music, videos — EVERYTHING — can be saved onto a computer and/or downloaded to an iPad/tablet, smartphone or other mobile device.

I’m not teaching anymore but if I were, I’d transition to using an iPad almost exclusively.  Here are just a few reasons why:

  1. Space saving – you can have 10 resource books on a shelf or you can have them in your ibooks section.  More room in your tiny workspace for important things (like that picture of you shaking hands with Lance Armstrong).
  2. Enlarging anything  on the screen – print, diagrams, your photo of Lance Armstrong, etc.
  3. You can check the score of the big game in seconds from your ESPN app – between classes of course…
  4. Connect immediately to an LCD and show videos, use Coaches Eye (app that analyzes movement), teach students how to use an assessment tool, anything you have on your iPad you can project onto a wall.  (BTW no one wants to see that picture of you with Lance Armstrong).
  5. Kids will think you’re cool(er).

We’re in the throes of a digital revolution because for many reasons, paper cannot match up.  Soon, it will be commonplace for teachers and students to receive an updated tablet at the beginning of the school year loaded with their textbooks.  Probably save a lot of backs too.

Will digital change the way teachers teach?  Yes – it absolutely should because a world of possibilities is now available.  Imagine your volleyball exam study guide with hyperlinks to supplemental articles, videos, and photos?  At SPARK, we’re looking forward to the evolution of sight and sound.

We hope you’ll embrace the possibilities and go along for the ride — right after you cancel your newspaper delivery.  I think your paper person will land that dream job and appreciate sleeping later in the morning…

Paul Rosengard

Executive Director


Want to get an idea of what’s available on SPARKfamily.org (SPARK’s digital library and home to all e-manuals, videos, assessment tools and other digital resources)? Visit sparkpe.org/familysite to learn how to become a member or access or FREE Demo Site!