Imagine a new direction in physical education…
Imagine having individual exercise data that was immediately sent to student records, the student, and the parents, each day from physical education classes. Today, the evolution of heart rate technology has revolutionized physical education and sports by allowing for more precise measurements and accurate evaluations. Our profession, and more importantly our children, need us to do all we can to advocate for their health.
To do this, we must show objective results. The key is the feasibility and speed of merging data for physical education records. Heart Zones Inc. has started the revolution by automating the transfer of data from students in physical education classes and sport practices, allowing parents, as well as the students, the teachers, coaches, and the administration/school board, to stay informed regarding the success of individual lessons or practices. It is now possible to individualize and record the effort of every student in every class or practice. Generally, fifty percent of a physical education grade is based on effort. Without heart rate sensors, there is no possibility of defending effort evaluations for our students and our athletes. Guessing is not assessing. In the automated world we live in, our profession needs an awakening to rethink how we deliver physical education and athletic conditioning.
How do we, as physical educators, capture the interest and the imagination of our students today? I believe it begins with the use of futuristic technology and a new methodology designed to educate students about healthy lifestyle choices and consequences. The real question we are trying to answer is: “Will our students have the mental, physical, and emotional health to have the energy for healthy living for the year 2022 and beyond?” This revolutionary thought process has changed the way we teach Physical Education.
I believe we must come to an understanding that physical education alone will not solve the state of health and well-being for our children. It is a community and lifestyle challenge for us all. Imagine a high-tech physical education program that reaches outside the wall of the gymnasium and into the community. Imagine seeking out best practice and identifying those who need inspiration, and those who can offer inspiration to live better. Imagine a world where physical education is not just another “PE” class to be completed, but a destination for a different kind of learning.
It is my belief that the first thing we must do is bring inspiration to our students, one by one. We cannot recommend exercise prescriptions to “groups” of individuals. We must deliver exercise prescriptions to “individuals” in a group setting. To accomplish this, heart rate sensors level the playing field by making sure each child understands that fitness is an individual journey. This means giving all children immediate feedback so they can exercise according to their own heart rate response. Armed with this knowledge and the skills presented in this high tech lifestyle model, students will be able to “invest” in their own health; not just for today, but for a lifetime. Imagine as all students enter the gym, their first task is to take responsibility for their own learning by placing their numbered heart rate sensor on their arm then starting it with the push of a button. This is the first step toward self-directed and self-sufficient learners who take responsibility for their own learning. Every student understands that they will be given credit and held accountable for what they do.
The Visual Evidence: No One Is “Guessing”
Students and the teacher can use the Heart Zones Big Board to see the heart rate intensities using both colors and heart rate numbers. No names are shown for individual squares of heart rate data. Each student knows only their heart rate square number. Student identification for each square is available to teachers. The colors give teachers continuous feedback, helping with Lesson Design. Both the color and heart rate guide all students individually, in a group setting. Their heart rates are there for reference at all times for understanding heart rate intensities in moderate to vigorous exercise, as well as during pre-exercise and recovery exercise time.
Lesson Design: Documenting Results
It is important to share lesson design with both the students and the parents at the beginning of the year. This helps students understand they are being held accountable to these goals. They will be subjectively assessed based on observation, but will be objectively assessed using heart rate data for their effort assessment. This powerful combination, used by students and their parents, also shows that there are proper intensities of exercise for each phase of the lesson design. I believe that students and parents must be presented with this visual evidence of lesson design and the expectations for student outcomes, as well as a measurable outcome for assessment performed by teachers. It takes “guessing” out of the equation. When students and parents are sent the heart rate graph daily, they can see the purpose of the technology integration. It truly allows for a Mind-Body connection.
This is the beginning of a personalized journey of fitness. All students are now being evaluated for what they do in class. No one is guessing: not the student, nor the instructor. We are helping to develop self-sufficient and self-directed learners for a lifetime of fitness success and healthy living.