March 2, 2017 – Within six seconds following a physical education class, teachers using the IHT Spirit System already have important data necessary to evaluate that day’s workout and help motivate each student to improve in the next workout.

The importance of the feedback is immeasurable, as Bill Gates pointed out in a 2013 TED talk about supporting teachers. Students benefit from that as well, especially the personalized feedback they receive through IHT’s Spirit Software. Students get two looks at an analysis of their workout immediately after completing a workout, the first coming as they return their IHT ZONE wrist heart rate monitors following class.

Students can see on the teacher’s computer screen an initial graph showing how long their heart rate measured in each zone. At the same time, students, teachers and parents receive a more detailed email analysis of data measured against a fully customizable series of metrics including their personal fitness profile.

Delivering understandable heart rate data

Teachers don’t have to wonder if students will seek out workout data for themselves. The Spirit Heart Rate Monitor software automatically delivers the data directly to students. Knowing the student has the same information enables the teacher to provide personalized instruction vital in large group training to motivating students to get active and fit.

“I see students all day who have their own (heart rate) monitor,” said Shane Stubbs, who’s taught PE in Australia for 25 years and began using IHT’s technology when the new school year began in early February. “I say ‘hands up if you’ve ever looked at the dashboard on the app or on that website?’ Then I ask, ‘how many of you know what it means?’ None of them do.”

IHT’s commitment to not only showing students their heart rate data but helping them understand the data, caught Stubbs’ attention.

“In Australia, very few schools use any kind of heart rate monitor at all, and if they do, the monitors aren’t built for schools,” Stubbs said. “There’s no education system behind it.”

As he develops his own curriculum, called PE21 – PE for the 21st century – Stubbs utilizes the Zone and Spirit HRM software to record and deliver heart rate data to students. Stubbs’ efforts center on combatting chronic heart disease by focusing on what he calls the “Heart Fitness Score,” a universal indicator of heart health.

“If the score goes down, you’re likely to get one of those diseases,” Stubbs said. “If it goes up, you’re very unlikely to get diabetes, you’re very unlikely to get high cholesterol. That’s it. You need to track it in class and we do it with the Zones and IHT Spirit System.”

Software promotes a unifying PE mission

By joining IHT’s technology with his vision, Stubbs created a PE ecosystem he believes will positively impact the heart health – and lives – of the next generation of students.

“You’ve built the mission and connected the dots,” he said. “I can give that mission to a PE teacher and to a school and they will take that up. But if you just sell them a watch or monitor without education, without the professional development, without unbelievable software, it’s useless. I haven’t seen anyone yet who can do software the way IHT does it.”

Teachers utilizing the system across the U.S. continue to see the same benefit for students that Stubbs sees, most notably the inherent ability to deliver heart rate data to each student. Many students who carry their smartphones with them during the day can see their reports before heading to their next class.

“Any time you can use a piece of technology to meet a kid at their level, it’s phenomenal,” said Doug Hallberg, the 2016 SHAPE America Eastern District Middle School Teacher of the Year and a Spirit System user.  “I can pretend my kids don’t have phones, or I can give them something to look at in the locker room rather than Snapchat. That’s what the reports are.”

Personalized learning in its simplest form

While the student begins to understand the reporting – does the heart rate data match with the student’s perceived effort during class? – teachers can take the data and explain any differences.

“I think that’s where the value in this becomes,” Hallberg said. “Teachers get to meet kids on a very personal and individual level and have a conversation with them about what’s going on (with their fitness). This is real data that I can talk to kids about, that I can talk to parents about.”

Students get it, thanks to the data and instruction.

“Being a track athlete and being as fit as I am, the data showed me how much I actually have to work to get into that zone,” said Justin Lehmkuhler, a student in Woodford, Ky., who understands the data that populated his Spirit System dashboard while in middle school. “I can’t just take it light and train light if I want to improve.”

In addition to delivering heart rate data to students through the Spirit HRM software, teachers can also utilize other software options including an Assessment Measures package ($300 per year)  that includes a number of lesson plans developed directly in accordance with national standards and grade level outcomes. The Assessment Measures software suite also includes the built-in ability to administer and assess the components of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program’s tests and social and emotional outcomes.

However teachers choose to personalize PE for their students, IHT’s software delivers the data necessary to start the process.

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