New Device Tracks Students’ Output in Gym Class

Could this be the end of the easy A?

Remember when gym class was sort of an easy A? You just showed up in your standard-issue sweats (my school’s gym uniform was emerald-green mesh shorts with a heather T-shirt, for the record), play a little dodge ball, and voila—an A on the report card.

A new Sony-powered heart monitoring system might make those A’s harder to get. Designed for PE classes, the Sony Spirit system uses a heart monitor and a memory card to track a student’s output—and recovery times—during gym class. Afterwards, the stats can be loaded and saved on a computer, so students and teachers can track progress over time.

Sony and its partner, Interactive Health Technologies, has built a whole curriculum around the device, and they’re hoping to get it into schools ASAP. So far, Texas is the only state to approve its use.

Although the system is designed as a means to tackle childhood obesity (the idea being that if a student can see his physical fitness plotted on a chart, it’ll lead him to develop healthy habits), I can easily imagine a scenario where those output charts become fodder for the grade books. Not that that’s a bad thing–but there goes your easy A.