Motivating students with the use of technology

Originally published Feb. 28, 2018 in the Times-Republican.

By Nicki Boliver, Contributing Writer

When I last wrote a column for Inside Education, I was teaching physical education at the middle school level. I’m now teaching at the elementary level. Making the switch has forced me to modify my teaching methods from working with seventh and eighth graders, to now working with K-4 students. What a change it has been! However, no matter what level I’m teaching, one question still remains the same — how can I motivate my students to embrace a healthy lifestyle?

Providing an atmosphere that is motivating, positive and one that safely encourages risk-taking, is a challenge physical educators face daily. Using the technology of heart rate monitors has helped me overcome the challenge. Heart rate monitors are empowering students to self-manage and take ownership for their health and well-being through technology. It’s no secret that we all work harder on something we have ownership in. So we began giving students ownership in P.E. through individualized heart rate monitors and it’s had a huge impact on motivation and participation.

motivating students
Nicki Boliver

Read More

Eager students find success by creating individualized PE lessons

Students work harder and more frequently meet class goals when given the freedom to craft and manage their own individualized PE lessons.

“This year students will develop their own workouts based on their activity needs,” said Jeff Miesner, the physical education teacher at Odebolt Arthur Battle Creek Ida Grove High School.

Miesner gauges his student’s effort – and success in meeting regular goals – by the data he gets from the heart rate monitors students wear. Last year he introduced the IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitor to his students and has seen a noticeable increase in both exercise ownership and effort. Read More


Motivated by heart rate monitors, PE students up their effort

Wearing new wrist-based heart rate monitors that track student progress toward daily class goals, Crestview School of Inquiry (West Des Moines, Iowa) physical education students are proving that a little motivation can last a lifetime.

“It’s a really strong motivator and it’s something that pushes the students,” said Crestview PE teacher Chris Amundson. “It becomes an internal motivation, an intrinsic motivation.”

Crestview is part of a West Des Moines Public Schools initiative to introduce the IHT Zone wrist heart rate monitors and the IHT Spirit System Assessment Measures software platform in classes this year. Students began wearing the heart rate monitors regularly in August, and Amundson said students now look forward to working hard in PE class.

“Students are loving the Zones,” Amundson said on Jan. 17. “They get mad at me if they come in the gym and the Zones aren’t set up and ready for them to use. They are mad that they have to go and do something else first before they can put them on. It’s just kind of normal for them to use the Zones.” Read More


Heart rate monitors help teachers drive home intrinsic habits

As wearable devices become more and more prevalent, companies use different metrics to track activity and rate workouts. While steps and calories remain two of the most prevalent focuses in the consumer marketplace, teachers focus on minutes of exercise at an elevated heart rate to develop healthy habits in their students.

“I focus on heart rate,” said Riverton, Wyoming physical education teacher Mike Bradley. “If you get your heart rate up often enough, then you’re helping your overall health and fitness. I can walk 10,000 steps in a day without getting my heart rate up. We have to get our heart rates up for those steps to really benefit us.”

Teachers work with students to explain the benefit of wearing a heart rate monitor while exercising and understanding what the monitor shows.

The Center For Disease Control recommends that children and adolescents between ages six and 17 should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Interactive Health Technologies developed an education-focused heart rate monitor and assessment system, believes that teaching children how to elevate their heart rate during that daily activity is paramount to teaching healthy habits. People of all ages see the biggest health benefit from exercising at an elevated heart rate. Read More

Prescott Junior High PE program stars in documentary

Originally posted May 27, 2017 by The Modesto Bee.

At Prescott Junior High in north Modesto, pull-ups get counted, daily runs get timed, and the results matter – improvement can change your shorts.

While PE for most has wasted away in the shadow of math and reading scores, the Prescott Roadrunners keep a tradition of physical challenges. Hitting tougher and tougher targets for speed, strength and endurance earn kids a progression of colored gym shorts.It was those gym shorts that brought filmmaker Doug Orchard to Prescott, thanks to a chance encounter with alumna Jennifer Barcellos Dyan.

Orchard was midway through his documentary “The Motivation Factor,” on the power PE programs of the 1960s epitomized by La Sierra High School in Carmichael.


Read More