Ewa Makai Middle garners national recognition as tech innovator

iPads personalize PE at Ewa Beach school

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ewa Makai Middle School is known for using technology to boost learning.

Now, the campus is getting national recognition for using it to promote fitness.

From rock climbing to dance to full on workouts, Ewa Makai students track every movement in physical education on digital tablets.

"We use the iPads to record our videos of us weight training," seventh-grader Marcus Lelauti said.

Added eighth-grader Elizabeth Gritton said, "When you review yourself doing it, you can see your mistakes."

Heart monitors add crucial information to student's profiles.

"So now they are accountable and they can be self-directed on how much they need to exercise and how much is enough," physical education teacher Jan Combs said.

Ewa Makai Principal Edward Oshiro said the school created "Tech PE" in 2012, and has been growing it ever since.

"We put our money where we thought the emphasis should be and we bought a lot of technology," he said.

Start-up costs for the project were $35,000.

Ewa Makai bought iPads and other gadgets with school funds, grants, and donations.

That work paid off.

Education website Noodle recently named Ewa Makai one of the 41 most innovative schools in America, in large part thanks to Ewa Makai's "Tech P.E." program. Noodle also spotlighted the school's digital app, created by Ewa Makai's technology department, which allows students to track their class performance throughout the year.

The school has 940 students this year, and school officials said even non-athletes like "Tech PE."

"It evens the playing field because everyone is moving at the right pace for them," Combs said.

And because students document progress with oral and written presentations, their academics also get a workout.

What else are schools doing to weave technology into physical education? The state Department of Education offered these examples:

  • Aiea High School: video fitness projects using iMovie
  • Aiea Intermediate School: video fitness projects using iMovie
  • Helemano Elementary: pedometers and iPads
  • Kipapa Elementary: Google classroom
  • Leileihua High School: heart rate monitors and iPads
  • Mililani High School: heart rate monitors
  • Moanalua High School: heart rate monitors, iPads and Apps
  • Salt Lake Elementary: pedometers
  • Radford High School: heart rate monitors, iPads, iMovies and Apps
  • Waialua High and Intermediate: video fitness projects using iMovie
  • Wahiawa Middle School: iPads and iMovie

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