When it comes to adding new resources to their physical education and student wellness programs, teachers and administrators always focus on one simple question: what are the benefits to the students and the teacher?
In selecting the IHT ZONE heart rate monitor and Spirit Assessments software, teachers have been very clear about what went into their decision and how that decision has been validated. From instant feedback to post-session communication, teachers explain how the IHT ZONE has positively impacted their students and their programs.
Understanding the most important metric
Consumer heart rate monitors can tell the wearer everything they could ever dream to know about their activity, but in educational environments, sometimes too much information can be just that, too much. Teachers have been drawn to the IHT ZONE because it focuses on the one thing that determines how successful a workout will be: heart rate.
“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."
The Centers for Disease Control says that children should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, 30 of which should be at an elevated heart rate. The IHT ZONE shows students when their effort level has reached the moderate to vigorous zones by changing from yellow to red. By changing colors, the IHT ZONE helps younger students who haven’t learned about their actual heart rate to know when they are in their target heart rate zones.
Group class with objective individual assessment
The IHT ZONE also creates a level playing field for each student in a class. By measuring each student’s heart rate throughout the session, the heart rate monitor allows teachers to accurately assess each student individually. For San Bernardino City Unified School District (Calif.) PE Specialist Scott Smith, the monitors proved game-changing for a program in need of a fresh start.
“The heart rate monitors have super-charged our program,” Smith said. “You can see it in the body language of the students, the look on their faces. As soon as we gave them the heart rate monitors, they really felt at that time that we really cared about them as individuals.”
For Smith and his fellow teachers, the heart rate monitor took the guessing out assessing students. Rather than assume students who were running were working the hardest and students who walked didn’t try, the teachers knew what each student was going through. And the students saw that.
“All of a sudden, bam, it was a game-changer,” he said. “The kids felt like they had something to come to class for. The (monitor) gave them power they never thought they had.”
Communication with student and parent
Along with the real-time feedback during the session, the students – as well as any other invested stakeholder including parents – receive a post-session email that shows exactly what was accomplished. The report shows:
- time spent exercising in each heart rate zone
- a graph showing the student’s heart rate throughout
- how the student performed compared to the teacher’s goal for the day
Teachers use the reports to reinforce lessons with students.
"Kids ask me how I know what I know,” Charles City High School (Iowa) teacher Steve Stallsmith said. “‘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."
With the data, students focused on their own goals. Knowing that they were being gauged only against themselves, students of all fitness levels began to reach goals they struggled with before wearing the IHT ZONE.
“The out-of-shape student who maybe hated PE, they are wearing the and all of a sudden they are yelling out, ‘Hey Mr. Smith, I’m in yellow’ or ‘I’m in red.’ Their excitement was focused on that,” Smith said. “And the kid who is in great shape would say to me, ‘Mr. Smith, I can’t get out of blue.’ And I would tell him that he’s going to have to work just a little bit harder, and when those kids finally got into yellow, they raised their arms and shouted it.”
The reports also allow for open communication between teacher and parent should the parent have questions about the program and the student’s performance.
“The best part about using the ZONES is the communication with the parents that it allows,” Odebolt Arthur Battle Creek Ida Grove High School (Iowa) teacher Jeff Miesner said. “The emails with the daily workout sessions are great for letting the students and the parents know what is going on in class."
Creating a familiar routine
Especially as schools work on their return-to-campus plan following last year’s COVID-forced shift to remote learning, getting students back to a familiar fitness routine is vitally important to their overall health and academic readiness. For Miesner, that routine included students wearing IHT ZONES again.
“Every day the students have PE, they are wearing the ZONES,” Miesner said. “We wear the ZONES for every activity.”
Students, he said, are familiar with the technology and know what’s expected of them when wearing the ZONE. That familiarity has helped them get back to the business of improving their fitness.
“The use of the ZONE is a great tool for the students to monitor what their body feels like when they reach different heart rate ranges,” he said.
The results have proven that. Wearing the ZONES has helped students lower their resting heart rate after realizing that fitness had suffered when students weren’t able to come to campus for PE with the ZONES.