The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 12, 2013

St. Peter early learners going high-tech

ST. PETER — The use of new technology in schools often elicits thoughts of high-schoolers on iPads.

Thinking of kids in pre-K through those early elementary years using such devices isn’t as common. But Darin Doherty, principal of South Elementary Early Learning Center in St. Peter, points out there is an array of digital tools available and being used by all grade levels in the classrooms of today.

“There’s tons of stuff,” Doherty said.

Even in gym class technology is being incorporated. Phy-ed teacher Christi Maloney is using iPod Touches in creative ways.

Maloney has students video record each other doing certain skills, such as sit-ups and push-ups. Because the children are in kindergarten through second grade, Maloney said lessons have begun simply.

“We are working on learning how to hold it and videotape, and learning how to keep our fingers out (of the frame) and keep the person (in the frame),” she said.

The idea is for the children to get to see their form and then compare it to the proper form of the skill or movement.

Maloney also found several apps the classes have been using, including one that allows students to put their finger over the iPod’s camera lens and it reads their heart rate. She teaches the students ways to keep their heart rates in the target range, between 175 to 195 when running.

“I’ve had kids every lap saying, ‘Can you check it again? Can you check it again?’” Maloney said. “It’s such a great motivating thing to keep them running."

Another app shows a bag full of exercises, and it pulls out an exercise for each student to do. Maloney planned to use the iPods for digital scavenger hunts.

The gym itself has been upgraded to include a new sound system, drop-down screen and projector.

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