Wellness and Health Technology: A Gargantuan Step Forward for All!

Technology impacts 21st century learning and assessment in ways that are almost immeasurable. Today’s students have no idea what old school “chalk talk” methods with virtually no technology in the room even looks like. Most modern classrooms have technology embedded in them in some manner such as Wi-Fi, PCs, tablets, notebooks, smart boards, LCD projectors, and all sorts of other technological advances. Modern teaching and learning in the classroom has advanced and progressed by gargantuan steps. But those of us instructional professionals in the physical realms of Wellness and Physical Education were left wondering if and how technology would promote our arena of education. Thank goodness that wellness technology arrived on many levels and in many forms! Similar to traditional academic disciplines,  health technology has forever changed assessment in the PE and Wellness classrooms. All you have to do is “step” forward and utilize it.

The common denominator of physical assessment advancements falls into two categories in the form of steps taken and heart rate. If you are fortunate and progressive enough to infuse health technology into your classes, then your students will press forward in dramatic fashion. The most important factor is that the subjectivity of assessment/grading will be removed drastically with the use of technology. What used to be far more informal, subjective observations related to perceived effort and intensity of participation has been replaced with steadfast data. Teachers can now monitor students according to the number of steps taken, their heart rate intensity, or both in every activity or class! Say “Bye-Bye” to the subjectivity of student effort and say “Hello” to data-driven information.

What’s even more helpful is that there are multiple options not only for steps and heart rate, but also for finances/budgets. No matter what your budget, you should be able to procure some form of fitness technology. Gopher has multiple options related to budgets, here’s my perspective on possibilities for pedometers (steps), heart rate monitors (pulse/heart rate), and finances.

Encourage Students with Pedometers

These little devices are fantastic for assessing the number of steps taken per activity or per class. You can set goals for the activity, class, week, month, etc. The pedometer option is best for smaller budgets that want to utilize technology on a regular basis. Gopher has a multitude of options for pedometers that are sturdy and designed for consistent use throughout each day of the week. Pedometers come in all shapes and sizes and are a great technological advancement for any activity classes. Counting steps encourages kids to keep moving.

Health Technology in PE
Use Gopher’s Optic Heart Rate Monitor to increase the intensity of your students in PE.

Increase the Intensity with Heart Rate Monitors

This option is a little more advanced technologically as they observe pulse/heart rate and therefore monitor intensity and effort more effectively. Heart Rate Monitors come in many choices in the form of chest straps and/or wrist watch versions. Gopher also has a great selection of heart rate monitors that work within most budgets. Heart rate monitors immediately change the intensity and tone of your classes, morphing effort from subjective to objective the moment the heart rate monitors are deployed.

Regardless of which activity technology option you choose, you will be thrilled that you took the technology leap! Students will be presented with an authentic form of fitness and effort assessment that was not available previously. We purchased a bank of pedometers and heart rate monitors in our district, and it changed the face of our wellness and Physical Education programs almost overnight. So, take that big step into the health technology world! Let us know how much it changes your students, classes, and program. You will love the assessment and intensity results!

Peter is the Director of Athletics at Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA. Previously he was the Elementary Principal & K-12 Wellness Coordinator in Canton, MA and was the Massachusetts K-12 Wellness Director of the Year in 2011-2012.

Peter is the Director of Athletics at Milford Public Schools in Milford, MA. Previously he was the Elementary Principal & K-12 Wellness Coordinator in Canton, MA and was the Massachusetts K-12 Wellness Director of the Year in 2011-2012.

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