Dive into an armchair

14th May 2008 at 01:00

This innovative teaching software, which has been approved by the Amateur Swimming Association, provides educational and motivational support for new swimmers.

The material will appeal to all teachers, especially those with a limited knowledge and understanding of swimming techniques.

Instead of introducing new skills to children in the pool, the swimming lessons start on dry land.

Through the excellent use of technology, the software reinforces the development of front crawl, breast stroke, back crawl and floating and moving. Each stroke is broken down into sections: How my stroke should look; What am I doing wrong?

and How can I fix it?

Swimmers are able to study excellent animations of each component of the above skills and follow the accompanying dialogue.

For the majority of children, this will work successfully. However, for younger children and those with a reading difficulty, a sound option could be incorporated into future versions to make this resource even better.

Swim Academy also uses three-dimensional images of swimmers to show learners how to use land-based mirroring techniques. For example, it demonstrates how to practise the correct kicking technique at home plenty of incentives to persuade young swimmers to keep going. They can record and publish swims, achievements and awards, receive free certificates and play computer games that are educational and fun.

There are informative notes for parents and teachers, along with expert advice on pool safety, including what children need to bring to the first lesson, what to do beforehand and in the swimming class, and pool rules. In addition, there is a wealth of support material and free trial software on the website.

Swim Academy is available free to schools and swimming clubs. The money is reclaimed when swimmers buy their own copy for pound;29.99.

The package can be used at home or school, and teachers can easily integrate it into conventional swimming lessons. It's easy to use and has been designed so that swimmers can use it independently.

An excellent teaching and learning resource, it far outweighs the more traditional teaching and coaching manuals currently on the market.

Huw Davies is a senior lecturer in PE at the University of the West of England and managing director of the Physical Education Primary website www.peprimary.co.uk

Huw Davies looks at software that helps teach swimming techniques

Swim Academy

CD-Rom, pound;200 for school site licence and pound;29.99 for individual copies

Email: info@swimacademy.org


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