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Wyland students using technology to get fit

| Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, 3:36 p.m.

Students at Wyland Elementary School in Hampton use computers in many of their classes, but now they are expanding technology into physical education.

Mike Thompson, physical education teacher at Wyland, received a grant from the Hampton Alliance for Educational Excellence to purchase a set of iPod Touch devices for use in his physical-education classes.

The Hampton Alliance for Educational Excellence is a nonprofit organization established to provide funding for educational-enrichment opportunities for the Hampton Township School District.

On Jan. 23, Thompson had his fifth-grade classes creating music videos of themselves jumping rope with the Video Star app in preparation for the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart.

Students performed different skills and tricks while another student in their group recorded the jumping on the iPod Touch device and added special effects with the app.

“It's funner than just jumping,” said Carly Werner, a fifth-grader at Wyland. “It's fun to watch and change it (the special effects).”

Thompson said he was excited to receive the grant and already has had students use the devices as stopwatches and pedometers. While creating the music video is one of the first larger projects, he has plans to expand the use of the iPod Touch devices in the class.

While the concept of using technology in physical-education class is newer, Thompson is hoping to push the limits of the technology and students.

“My philosophy is to have the students learn as much as they can while still moving; iPod Touches allow the efficiency of both to happen,” Thompson said.

Thompson foresees students being able to use the devices to record a certain skill for them to self-assess; answer health questions while doing an activity and turn in the answers through an online drop box; or use QR coding, a barcode that digital devices can read and redirect a user to more information about a topic.

“I really want to have this as a routine thing from day one,” Thompson said.

“I would like for them to be utilizing them every day because there are so many things you can do with it.”

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