Tuesday, June 14, 2011

30 Under 30: Innovative Educators - Pat Colgan (PE Alum)

Cortland APE Alum Pat Colgan - Prince Georges County in Maryland. Lots of Cortland PE Alum (approximately 30) in the same or neighboring districts including recent grads Jerry Greenlaw and Caleb Olsen.  They love fitness and Jerry's elementary school just got a bronze level for the national healthy school program. Congrats and keep up the great work Cortland Alum!

Name: Patrick Colgan
Age: 26
Location: Beltsville, Maryland
School: Buck Lodge Middle School and High Point High School
Position: Adapted Physical Education Teacher, Girls' Varsity Soccer Coach, Unified Bocce Ball Coach and Middle School Girls’ Soccer Coach

Technology and television screens aren’t always counterproductive to physical education, a fact popularized by the Nintendo Wii’s Fit. Patrick Colgan is popularizing this technology at Buck Lodge Middle School and High Point High School. By incorporating the video game console, LCD projectors, and board maker software into his general and adapted physical education program, Colgan makes it a whole lot easier for his students to design and enjoy their own individualized education program. Possibly more unique is Colgan’s involvement in the creation of a fully inclusive fitness club called Tutors and Tournaments that combines education, physical fitness, and technology into one club allowing students with and without disabilities to work together.

What are your goals for your work?
“My goals for the Wii Technology is to provide students with a[n] innovative way to develop their fitness and skills while having fun. I also hope that if students are stuck in the house that they may be able to use what we do in the after school club and in the classroom at home.”

What challenges do you face trying to break the mold?
“The biggest challenge is securing enough funds to hook up the 15 Nintendo Wiis to televisions and LCD projectors. We have significantly more Wiis than televisions, which prohibits us from using all of them during class and the after school program.”

In your opinion, what’s the biggest flaw with the American education system today?
“To me, the biggest flaw in the education system today is standardized testing. It takes a lot of creativity away from the teachers and how they use their specific curriculum. The high stakes testing can be stressful for teachers and students.”

Growing up, what educators made the biggest impression on you and why?
"My father, Ed Colgan, was a high school biology teacher and a coach for over 30 years.  His incredible work ethic, discipline, morals, values, and ability to balance a successful career and family are a constant inspiration to me everyday."

What do you hope your students take away from you?
“I teach students with disabilities in Physical Education and I would like to see them being physically active in the community when they graduate high school. Whether it be at a fitness center or at home. I also would like my students and athletes to take the ideas of respect, commitment, humor, dedication, discipline, an open mind, and a serious work ethic wherever they go.”

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