Bucyrus phys-ed program goes high tech

BUCYRUS — Bucyrus Middle School students in Nathan Hill’s physical education classes are taking their physical fitness to a new level thanks to activity trackers.

The Movband 2 activity trackers are worn on students’ wrist during physical education classes to allow them to track moves and distance during a 30-minute class period. Each device can be reset at the end of class allowing other students to utilize them.

“We purchased 60 of these devices through the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant and the district’s After-School Program,” said Hill. “In addition to my middle school physical education classes, students are able to use the Movbands in the High School physical education classes and during the After-School Program.”

The wrist worn activity trackers were the next logical step for Hill’s students, who had been utilizing pedometers to track their steps during the 2015-2016 school year. The pedometers were more than 10 years old, and Hill and Secondary School Principal Dr. Mark Burke worked together to find a solution to purchase the new activity trackers.

“After the first nine weeks of the 2015-2016 school year, Dr. Burke came to me with the After-School Program idea and we moved quickly to make it happen,” said Hill. “I wanted to integrate technology in my classroom to give students access to instant feedback from their device on how much they moved during a regular physical education class, and the Movbands are the perfect fit.”

Hill can track which activities are the best for movement. Students know their personal best distance they run or move during each class, and set goals to constantly improve during class.

“Each student in all of my classes are required to wear a tracker each day,” said Hill. “Students chart their steps and distance traveled each day at the end of class, and are able to compare their progress to how many miles it is to landmarks around Crawford County and Ohio.”

The students enjoy seeing their feedback each day, and get upset if a tracker is not available for the day. They try to be creative and find different ways to move besides running, including running/walking in place during instruction time.

“I’ve been very impressed with Mr. Hill’s integration of this technology in his classroom,” said Dr. Burke. “It’s a win-win situation for all the Secondary students because the activity trackers are being used during the After-School Program.”

Hill credits Galion Elementary physical education teacher Matt Tyrrell with helping him identify the trackers that would work best for the Bucyrus students.

“The collaboration and cooperation that took place to bring these new trackers to the Secondary School serves as a great example of the positive things that can happen when teachers, administrators and teachers from other districts work together,” said Bucyrus Superintendent Kevin Kimmel. “I appreciate the work Mr. Hill is doing with his students to help them be more proactive in taking responsibility for their overall health and well-being.”