- Associated Press - Friday, August 15, 2014

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Dubuque teachers will be able to monitor students’ heart rates through a web-based program while they exercise at school.

The program gives Dubuque Community School District teachers an idea of physical activity levels by middle school and high school students while they exercise in class, the Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1oAh5z8 ).

Students will place straps containing heart sensors around their chests. The sensors will send data about the students’ heart rates that will be projected onto a screen or wall in class while they’re exercising.

The online application that collects the data is called Polar GoFit. It also shows how close a student is to reaching his or her target heart rate and maintains a record of how long students remain in those zones.

Jackie Hart Weeber, a health and wellness teacher at the Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, said she is excited to see how the program will affect her students’ motivation levels in class. She said the program will give students instant feedback and shows “if they are doing well or if they need to be working a bit harder.”

“I no longer have to grade students just by looking at them,” she said. “Now I know if they are really working.”

The district’s wellness coordinator, Amy Hawkins, said the program is an effort to keep students active and make exercise more rigorous.

“The district’s goal it to put an emphasis on how important health and fitness is to our youth and to our whole community,” Hawkins said. “By making the kids more aware of their fitness levels, I think it will motivate them to want to continue improving those levels.”

The district adopted Polar GoFit after seeing similar technology used in Cedar Rapids schools.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com