Schenectady County

Technology tracks Draper students’ fitness

Students don’t just learn the rules to basketball in gym class at Draper Middle School now.

Students don’t just learn the rules to basketball in gym class at Draper Middle School now.

They strap on heart monitors and then play hard. After gym class, the monitors download data to the teacher’s laptop, showing whether students stayed in the fat-burning yellow zone without entering the pushing-too-hard red zone.

Pedometers are also used to track their performance. Mohonasen Central School District bought the equipment though a federal grant.

The goal is to teach students how to lead healthy, active lives, Draper physical education teacher Nicole Schaap said. Students can use the reports to learn how much they should push themselves as well as track how much work they’ve done.

“It gives them a visual of where their heart rate was,” she said. “They can see — ‘Hey, I thought I was working hard but I was working too hard.’ Or, ‘I thought I was working hard but I only got 25 minutes.’ ”

Having the data lets them take control of their exercise, she said. And students are now much more successful at meeting their target heart rate and staying in that zone.

“It’s motivation,” she said. “Now they’re getting more specific: ‘How long was I in the red zone? Was it better than last class?’ ”

The monitors got the attention of Adidas and its partner, Interactive Health Technologies. The companies recently visited Draper Middle School to observe a technology-focused gym class.

The two companies are running a contest for schools that are “revolutionizing” gym class, with candidates uploading videos for a public vote. The winner gets up to $25,000 in equipment.

Draper’s video can be found at

“We produced this video to showcase our students’ success,” Schaap said. “We’re really trying to give them the tools to be successful, not just in our class but in life.”

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