Me and My Heart Rate Monitor

I have to admit that before Ivan’s workshop last Friday on heart rate monitors, I wasn’t a big fan.   What bothers me about the way technology is used in certain quarters is that it is seen as a replacement for the self.   Maybe this is what Bill Gates has lead us all to believe.   I know that he really believes that technology can save the world.    The worst example of the bad use of technology in my opinion is the way the world has so abused Power Point.  Well maybe weapons are worse.   I think that people just forget  themselves in a presentation and end up reading what we are seeing on a screen.  Boring!!!!  I usually cringe when Power Point comes on, but I know if it is just part of presentation rather than thee presentation, that it is effective.

So when I heard what schools like Shanghai American School are doing with heart rate monitors, it just seems like they are trying to get technology to do more than what it was made to do.   Technology is just a tool and to me, if it is overused it takes people out of their bodies and lands them right back where we don’t want them when they are playng (in their heads).    We want them sweating, fully engaged, playing with great joy, and learning all the time.

Ivan helped us clear all that up in his workshop last week.   He shared a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of using heart rate monitors, and now I think we all see it as tool to help people get out of their heads and into their bodies.  The idea of a heart rate monitor is to set a target heart rate zone like between 120 and 160 beats per minute and then spend as much time in that zone during a particular period of play as you can.    This is really a good idea for developing fitness.  He said, though, that  a lot of students just focus on the watch and not on the activity because they become obsessed with getting into the zone so he even covers up the dials.    It is nice to know that in our p.e. dept. technology is a tool, not the end.  I think he showed us how it can motivate students to be more active and fit.

I think that maybe Steve Jobs should find a way to have a heart rate monitor built into an i-pod because when all things are said and done there are a lot more people doing fitness and getting fitter with an i-pod than a heart rate monitor.

Thanks for the workshop Ivan.

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