Wearable fitness technology offers solutions to educators and motivates students.
SACRAMENTO, CA March 15 2016 – Physical education and health teachers are faced with a challenge to engage digitally savvy elementary, middle and high school kids in a 19th century classroom environment that hasn’t changed for 40 years. The Healthy People Initiative 2010 tasked these educators by setting new national standards to have students participate in moderate to vigorous activity 50% of class time (identified as 50% MVPA). So what are administrators and PE teachers doing to connect with students and get them moving?
“A relevant and engaging physical education program today will provide five outcomes: real-time feedback on fitness level and effort; deepen students’ intrinsic motivation versus participating out of compliance; track their fitness progress; measures individual student growth, not class averages; and helps students make a strong connection between their level of effort and their fitness level,” said Mark Femrite, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning at Westonka Public Schools in Minnetrista, MN, during a recent smart PE certification held by Heart Zones™ Inc.
Without digital measurement tools to help meet theses national standards of 50% MVPA, PE and health teachers are limited in their ability to obtain meaningful data on how well a student is performing or progressing. They must either rely on RPE, a rating of “perceived exertion” to measure student effort during class, or even less useful methods such as timing and counting laps or having students manually take their pulses. Not only are these methods outdated, subjective and often inaccurate, but they do little to motivate today’s students.
Wearable technologies increase the effectiveness of teaching physical education.
Research from the Tiger Study shows that including technology in physical education changes student behavior, increasing motivation and reported enjoyment of physical activities. “Combining wearable technology like heart rate monitors or step trackers to measure, manage and monitor students’ fitness progress with complementary data-driven physical education curriculums, provides PE and health teachers with vital tools and is great at getting kids moving,” says Beth Kirkpatrick, Director of Education and Advocacy for Heart Zones Inc.
Heart Zones Inc., a fitness technology and training company with over 25 years in developing fitness training solutions for school PE, designed the Heart Zones System to address the challenges facing educational institutions and PE educators. The Heart Zones System is a fitness technology hardware and software platform with data driven programs that engage, evaluate and motivate physical activity using wearables. The patented System gathers and displays 11 data points on the “Big Board” display to provide real-time feedback, allowing for true classroom management and teaching strategies, as well as continuing to enhance students’ intrinsic motivations to exercise. Physical activity data can be shared with parents and administrators and allows for objective grading and student teacher assessments.
The Smart PE movement in US schools
“By using the Heart Zones System, we get kids moving more, burning more calories, sharpening their skill acquisition and improving their brain function. The new curriculum uses technology to fire kids up to work harder and learn more during PE class time. Each student takes a sensor and starts moving, getting immediate biofeedback, and at the same time from the sensor I’m able to take attendance,” says Mike Mustar, Physical Education Teacher and Coach, Stillwater Area Schools, Stillwater, Minnesota.
Mustar is one of approximately 420 teachers using the Heart Zones System combined with Heart Zones Smart PE curriculum in their classrooms. Heart Zones is rapidly implementing their technology solution throughout the United States, and currently their System is installed in 93 schools in 24 states, effecting change for 7,500 students.
The enthusiasm over this digital transformation – a shift to personalization and accountability from the whistles and clipboards used to teach PE over the last 40 years – has Heart Zones leading the Smart PE movement. This is the era of Smart PE that encourages cognitive performance and physical literacy, engages youth to lead healthy active lifestyles and advocates pathways to reduce childhood obesity.
Heart Zones™, Inc. is a fitness technology and training company based in Sacramento, California, dedicated to helping “Get America Fit” by empowering the pursuit of healthy, active lifestyles.
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About the company: For the past 25 years, Heart Zones, Inc. has provided the latest in scientific-based heart rate training programs, certifications, books and educational materials for coaches, athletes and individuals. Founded by author, professional athlete and exercise scientist Sally Edwards, MA, MBA, the company was first to introduce networked fitness using ANT+ technology with The Threshold Training System™ for use in individual and group fitness training settings.
Patented Methodology: The Threshold Training System™
A methodology to set personalized heart rate zones using threshold levels based on metabolic changes unique to a person’s fitness levels. The threshold levels serve as lower and upper anchor points to create an individual’s personalized set of heart rates zones. The heart rates zones correlate to levels of exercise intensity. Each zone has a multiplier of effort or intensity that when factored in to the amount of time spent in each zone by the individual, yields a total training load value.
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