Teachers who transitioned from on-campus to online physical education have kept students accountable to goals and assignments by providing them with IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors to use in their online PE classes.
When learning shifted to online in the spring, some teachers struggled to keep students engaged and accountable for their assignments.
“Last spring, we just couldn’t make the students do the assignments,” Charles City High School (Iowa) teacher Steve Stallsmith admitted.
When the school year ended and he began planning for this year, Stallsmith thought about the IHT ZONE heart rate monitors he used in his on-campus classes. Wearing the monitors in his gym, students put in the desired effort and worked to meet the goals he set for minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity.
With COVID-19 still rampant, he knew that online PE would be his reality for at least part of the year, so he decided to convert his on-campus program to online. By providing students with heart rate monitors to use at home and utilizing IHT’s library of lessons, he saw engagement – and with it accountability – come back.
“The accountability factor is the big decider in what we want to do,” he said. “A kid could say ‘I went and shot baskets at the Y for an hour.’ I believe that he did, but just like I’m accountable to my department head and administration, I need for students to show that accountability to me. The forms and the heart rate monitor give us that.”
Stallsmith’s online program focuses on three key elements:
- the IHT ZONE heart rate monitors;
- Google Doc lessons that are easily shared with students; and
- heart rate reports that show him exactly how the student exercised.
Using the IHT ZONE Heart Rate Monitors
Teachers find the IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors essential to their online PE program’s successes. Fossil Ridge High School (Poudre School District, Colo.) teacher Lisa McVicker’s online PE students have the option to use their own heart rate monitors or use one of the teacher’s IHT ZONE heart rate monitors. More and more, she said, students are putting aside their personal monitors and using the IHT ZONE.
“Those are so much better for them,” McVicker said. “We get real-life data.”
The monitors, designed specifically for education, give students real-time, easy-to-understand feedback on their heart rate as the exercise.
“Here’s what I really like about the IHT ZONEs,” Des Moines (Iowa) Public Schools PE and Health Curriculum Director Carlye Satterwhite said. “It is simple. I have worn my own personal fitness device for years and I still don’t know what to focus on with it. For these students, they just need to focus on their target heart rate. This has that information and that’s all, and to put that information into their hands earlier is huge.”
Keeping Students Active with Engaging Lessons
Along with the expectation that students get a certain amount of exercise every day, teachers also engage them with lessons about health, wellness and the benefits of different activities. IHT’s Spirit Curriculum includes a number of lessons that adhere to national standards and guidelines, and the Spirit Assessment software gives teachers the ability to create their own lessons. Many of the existing lessons have been converted from PDF to Google Docs so they can more easily be shared through the different learning management systems.
Those resources, Stallsmith said, help get students started on embracing activity from home.
“Now, with IHT and lessons as Google Docs, that has helped tremendously,” he said. “This has saved us a lot of extra steps and we are going to do things.”
Bringing Back Classroom Accountability
Without seeing students in person every day, teachers struggled with creating accountability: proof of completion more reliable than student and parent signing an activity log.
“This is learning in the 21st century,” Satterwhite said. “You can do it online. And, we have to provide students with alternative access to education that is meaningful and vigorous. “We are legitimately teaching PE from home and it is able to be implemented with fidelity. It’s not simply fill in the activity log and move on.”
Teachers get that accountability from the IHT ZONE heart rate monitors. As soon as the student completes an exercise session and stops the monitor using the IHT Spirit Mobile App on their phone, a summary gets delivered to the student, the teacher and the student’s parents via email.
“It is great that this program works for students while we are all at home,” Des Moines Virtual Academy PE teacher Amy Barsness said. “You must have the data to prove that students are getting the physical activity part of the class done. The heart rate monitors make it all credible.”
Those reports not only give the teachers the verification that work is being done, it gives them data that’s essential to have key conversations with students.
“The reports are integral to what I’m doing,” he said. “Kids ask me how I know what I know . ‘Well, I get your emails.’ That allows much better, much more real conversations. It surprises the students that we have this data, and that’s a good thing. It starts the real conversations we need to have with kids.”