Meeting Target Heart Rates: Staying Fit with New Technology

Optic 4
View or project the entire group’s realtime heart rate data for in-the-moment feedback!

The emphasis in physical education classes throughout the country is seeing a major paradigm shift from an old-style curriculum, where sport skills and athleticism were paramount, to an emphasis of fitness and well-being for ALL students. One driving force behind this shift has been the use of technology in PE, more specifically heart rate monitors and class monitoring systems. 

Technology initiatives can be seen in classrooms across the nation, and physical education is no different.  Various successful platforms exist to meet the goals of promoting cardiovascular health and student wellness; one such system used is the Gopher Optic Strapless Heart Rate Monitor.

An Innovative Way to Incorporate Technology in PE

St. Anthony Village High School Principal, Wayne Terry, explains that by using heart rate monitoring the physical education staff has reinvented itself and found an “innovative way to incorporate technology into the PE curriculum – motivating students to take an active role in monitoring their fitness.  The results have been very impressive.” 

Class monitoring systems, such as the Gopher Optic, pair the use of Bluetooth® enabled Heart Rate wrist watches worn by all students.  Teachers see the data from all students at once and in real- time via an iPad app. The app allows teachers to set individual exercise criteria and performance standards by which students are assessed. This enables teachers to objectively assess and grade students based on their individual needs and efforts in class. While using projection technologies, students monitor their own work against mastery criteria while receiving high-quality feedback instantly.  Teachers can use an Apple TV, a projector mounted in the gym rafters, and a portable projector to provide authentic objective data on a daily basis.  This information is also stored throughout the course to be used as reference / growth points.  This information can then be accessed by teachers, the student, and parents to reflect on performance and track progress over time – helping motivate students reach their fitness goals.

An Excellent Assessment and Feedback Tool

This teaching and learning technology allows physical education staff to provide individualized performance criteria, assessments, and feedback within a group setting.  Teachers now have an impartial tool for grading and providing differentiated instruction.  This system has helped students make a personal connection with the content as the goals, assessment criteria, and activities are designed based on what is best for their body; gone are the days where all students are given a blanket exercise prescription. As technology continues to be a normal part of students’ lives, the use of tech tools in PE can serve as the starting point of learning to use technology resources for future fitness monitoring. Many adults will pair technology and fitness on a daily basis with the use of heart rate monitors, Garmin™, Fitbit®, and many various Smartphone apps and programs.  Likewise, the Gopher Optic system has been revolutionary in shifting physical education pedagogy from acquiring specific sport skills to learning and understanding how to have a healthy body.

There are many great tech advances occurring in our schools every day.  Physical education curriculums now also have the ability to utilize technologies in the classroom as a literal game-changer for delivering content and assessment.

Related Equipment:
Optic™ Strapless Heart Rate System: Break away from chest straps with the ultimate heart rate tracking solution exclusively for PE!
FITstep Stream Pedometers: No wires needed—our newest pedometer allows you to capture MVPA data with just the push of a button!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Resources


5 Ways Small Sided Games Make a BIG Impact

Author: Jessica Shawley

A Brand New Tool for PE You Didn’t Know You Needed!

Author: Brett Fuller

5 Skill-Based Floor Hockey Games

Author: Michael Beringer

16 Parachute Team Building Activities

Author: Tim Mueller

Motivating Unmotivated Students​

Author: Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Jessica Shawley, and Tim Mueller

Promoting Activity and Success Through Adapted PE

Author: Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Marci Pope and Maria Corte

Bin Ball

Author: Randy Spring



Sign up to receive the latest physical education resources, activities, and more from educational professionals like you straight to your inbox!