Students Take Swipe At iPad-Guided Workouts

While iPads are not uncommon in classrooms, they're making their way into some school gymnasiums. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

Students at Scholars' Academy in Rockaway Park, Queens are running, jumping and stretching their way to fitness, all with the help of an iPad.

"I think that it encourages students to push a little harder and exercise more and really get their heart racing," said Alexandra Powell, a Scholars' Academy student.

Scholars' Academy is yet another school in the country to introduce technology into its gymnasium. Here, students break into small groups and follow workout apps on iPads mounted on walls, though phys ed teachers are close at hand.

"The traditional phys ed class was focused on 10 to 15 percent of the student population which was people who played sports, where 80, 90 percent or so of the students who didn't play sports really didn't get anything out of it that was transferable to the real world, to their real life," said Scholars' Academy Principal Brian O'Connell.

Sixth graders at the school can be seen breaking a sweat with circuit training.

"With 125 students, you might touch a basketball two or three times during a phys ed class. When you have individual fitness programs every student is getting a full body workout for that 45 minutes," said Scholars' Academy Athletic Director Joseph Lunati.

Most of the students who spoke with NY1 say they can do without the competitive nature of sports in gym class.

"If you lost a point kids would kind of yell at you, kids would not want you on your gym team. I remember I got picked last for gym teams a lot, so having iPad fitness really helped me gain my individuality back with gym class," said Anna Hickey, a Scholars' Academy student.

Students say fitness does not end once gym class ends. Many say they're excited and inspired to exercise outside of school.

"I download it into my phone and me and my cousins go into the living room and exercise," said Shelsea Sumba, a Scholars' Academy student.

"I try to do it at home, like whenever I get free time," said Arsal Choudhry, a Scholars' Academy student.

School officials say life-long fitness is, after all, the ultimate goal.

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