Wireless headphones in PHE,

The next step in differentiated learning.


Two years ago I found myself in between ”gym facilities”. The old gym was torn down and the new gym was in the progress of being built. All PE classes proceeded in what we called ”The Bubble”: a huge semi permanent inflatable tent on the soccer pitches. There were no walls and often enough two classes were taught simultaneously. A single net divided The Bubble into different teaching spaces. Instruction was difficult but when teaching anything using music it turned into a real challenge for teachers and students alike.

While thinking of solutions to overcome this obstacle I suddenly remembered a documentary where young adults would go to silent discos for the enjoyment of music and dancing.


After doing some research I was quite pleased to find out that one of the distributors of silent disco equipment had its business not too far from where I was located. The cost was also minimal. We ordered a set of 3 transmitters and about 40 headphones. The brilliancy of this came from that the headphones are designed for moving and dancing. Students can dance, run and jump and these headphones will “support” all actions. The 3 transmitters can broadcast over three channels and the headphones can be switched between these 3 channels. When students wear their headphones they are more drawn into listening and less triggered into talking leading to a more focused learning environment.



I have used the silent disco equipment in multiple settings. For example:


Receive instruction from a screen (videos).

Follow instructions from fitness Apps.

Injured students can individually perform a workout following instructions from fitness YouTube channels.

Group work, when designing dances or performances 4 groups can use their own music without getting distracted by the music of others. (3 with headphones and 1 group just using the surround system)

Differentiated learning. For example students can choose their stage of running development and practice their endurance following different episodes of the NHS podcast from couch to 5k. The reach of the silent disco is about 100 meter.


What’s next?

Momentarily I am looking into the possibility of combining the silent disco headphones with a microphone. Students would be able to receive more individualized instructions from me (or others) while listening to the general instructions. While they are practicing their endurance I could per group give feedback about their running form, without having to shout across a soccer pitch. Or when they are playing games I could create 3 channels for the different positions used in invasion games. Peer coaches could give each other instructions during a game. Or I could create a “help line” for the referees such as the TMO in rugby. The possibilities are limitless. 

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