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CD-ROM for Physical Education GCSE
Published in 2002 by Espresso Education Ltd (www.espresso.co.uk) in association with Hartlepool LEA
Site licence £300 (also available as an add-on to the Espresso on-line service)

Minimum requirements: PC with minimum of Windows 95, Internet Explorer 4, Media Player and Macromedia Flash 5 Player

CD-ROM for Physical Education GCSE

This CD-ROM makes a valuable contribution to the study support materials available to students undertaking a GCSE in physical education. It will be a useful addition to school learning resource centres and for personal use by students at home.

The CD-ROM offers a diverse range of resource materials including short tests, video clips, information sections and web links for further study.

On running the CD-ROM the front page is broken down into four subject related sections and a homework and search facility. The subject sections focus upon: The Human Body, Healthy Living, Training, and Sport and Society. In addition there is a facility to save work that you have done to either your hard drive or a floppy disk.

On accessing the front page there is no initial direction/guidance on how to use the CD-ROM or navigate your way around the various sections. Therefore the initial reaction is to move into different sections to get an overview on how the CD is put together. However, whilst it is easy to navigate around the various sections, a short overview and introduction on the purpose of the resource would have been beneficial as an initial guide to students use.

The Homework Section:

This is split into the four subject related sections highlighted above, which gives students opportunities to revise and test their knowledge and understanding gained throughout the use of the CD-ROM and within and outside of the formal classroom environment.

Within the human body homework section there are some useful web links that would require students to be on line to in order to utilise these resources fully. For example there are three excellent web links to the British Heart Foundation on reducing salt intake, why physical activity is important and a section on ‘lets get physical’. On using the links each connected with ease, and it was reassuring to see study support material being utilised from a recognised and informative source.

In addition to the web links, the homework section has a series of tests to print out or type in on screen. These included tests on the knowledge of joints and the effects of exercise on measuring lung capacity. Each of the tests whilst rather short, were relevant to the GCSE syllabus, and more importantly included the answers to questions asked!!

The healthy living and training homework sections were structured around similar formats to the human body described above. There is a range of web links and self tests for students on aerobic training and training for specific types of events and activities.

The homework section on sport and society is mainly based around an extensive range of web links to for example; the Sydney Olympics, funding of sport, British Olympic Association and Cliff Richard Tennis schools. In addition there are some useful tests and information sources on top earners in sport and controversial issues related to sport and society. This section although mainly web linked does act as a catalyst for students to think broadly about the wider role and function of sport within society.

However, it would have been useful to see examples of disabled role models or links to organisations such as the British Paralympic Association to demonstrate a much broader overview to diversity and inclusion with sport and society. This is particularly relevant to many GCSE syllabi and would have been beneficial for students to have relevant links to further information on these prominent and emerging issues within sport and physical education.

The four subject related sections:

Each of the four subject related pages (i.e. human body, training, healthy living and sport and society) focus upon a range of video clip activities, web links and study support resources. Each activity is easy to navigate around and access with relative ease.

The video clip images are clear and well structured and have a running commentary to support the pictures. The images can be put to full-screen, which is particularly useful if more than one students is utilising the resource at any one time. These short sections may be utilised by teachers within their formal teaching of the GCSE syllabus to support their delivery.

The sections have a useful note pad for students to type in text as they watch video clips, and or read various sections of the CD-ROM. There are links to various tests within each of the four sections that involve activities such as dragging muscle types onto a skeleton or identifying joints within the body. These were initially difficult to drag and click onto the correct area of the images, but did act as a useful study support resource.

In conclusion this CD-ROM offers a wide variety of resource materials for students studying GCSE physical education. It will act as a valuable support tool to students learning outside of the formal classroom, and I would recommend it as a useful addition to schools and colleges learning resource centres.

Philip Vickerman
Liverpool John Moores University