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Physical education classes using heart zone monitors to improve learning and health

Physical education teachers at Covington-Harper Elementary School in Dumfries and Osbourn Park High School in Manassas are making classes more engaging with the use of technology.

Heart Zone Monitors are giving students the chance to see their effort levels. Students wear the monitors on their arm during cardio-respiratory endurance activities, where they can see the changes in their heart rate as they participate in class. Using a Bluetooth signal, the data from each monitor is sent to an iPad, where teachers can assess and track each student’s progress.   

Covington-Harper Elementary students recently completed a dance unit that was a collaborative effort between P.E. Teacher Doug Gilbert and Music Teacher Jennifer Nichols. Gilbert is excited about the benefits and the lessons that the monitors provide.

“Our goal is to bring the 21st century to the gym and provide an information platform where our students can be motivated to learn and empowered to improve their own fitness,” Gilbert was quoted as saying in a news release. “We plan on using the data provided (average heart rate, time in each fitness zone, etc.) to come up with a personalized fitness plan for each student.”

At Osbourn Park High School, P.E. Teacher Justin Contois has been using the monitors with his students for the past two years. Lessons in his classes are more fitness-based versus learning to play sports games.

“Data is huge at the high school level,” Contois was quoted as saying in the news release. “We need to show that our programming is working. We teach our students how to use their bodies as a workout device and how to remain fit throughout a lifetime. We cover many body weight exercises and breakdown the form and function of each one. We then ask each student to master each movement by teaching it to someone else. Having data to show that each student is improving, especially when talking about cardiovascular endurance, is imperative, not only for the teacher, but for the student mindset.”

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