Originally published Feb. 2, 2022 in the Maine DOE Newsroom.
Physical Education at Carrabec Community School looks more colorful as students’ wrists glow with a mix of blue, yellow, and red. The glow comes from the new heart rate monitors from Interactive Health Technologies that students are using as part of Heidi Day’s Physical Education class. The monitors, IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors, use colors to indicate students’ heart rates as they play and learn through Physical Education.
“The goal in this process is to make the learning personal and relevant to each individual. This system should help the students make the connection between the perceived rate of exertion and their heart’s ability to adjust to the intensity they are putting forth,” said Heidi.
Students have learned the drill. They come to class, get their assigned heart rate monitors, log them in by holding them on a scanner attached to Heidi’s computer, and keep an eye on the color. As students exercise, their heart rate data is saved on the monitor.
Once the class is over, students put their monitors back on the scanner to upload their heart rate data. An e-mail is sent to them and their parent/guardian with the amount of time they spend in blue, resting heart rate, yellow, target heart rate, and red, max heart rate. Students then use a spreadsheet on their laptops to record the number of minutes in each category.
“Students will set appropriate personal goals and work weekly to achieve those standards. The spreadsheet allows tracking that averages the time the student has spent in the resting, target, and max heart rate zones. This process becomes a means of self-assessment for my students, making their experience in physical education personal and success achievable,” Heidi explained.
The heart rate monitors are working well, and students are excited by what color their monitor is, but Heidi has worked hard for that excitement. Last year Heidi attempted to integrate the monitors, but found the process overwhelming.
Heidi explained, “I love technology. However, I am limited in my skill set as well as my patience when trying to implement something new. I feel like it takes me three times longer than it should, and I get so frustrated I tend to avoid the trouble altogether.” But through perseverance and help from the MLTI 2.0 ambassador program, Heidi has found success.
“Honestly, without (the Ambassador’s) help, I don’t believe I would have been able to implement this addition to my class. He has been there to troubleshoot through the challenges, making changes and adjustments as necessary, allowing me to still focus on my students. Ask for help! I’m so glad I did! I am excited to have this new process in place, but I know with all the daily tasks I have to complete, there would be little chance of me learning it all on my own and implementing it without support!”