ThinkActive – motivating children to keep fit in a fun and engaging way using simple technological design, and low-cost technology.
ThinkActive uses simple technological design to track the impact of youth sport and fitness programmes without compromising the privacy of the children they work with.
- ThinkActive helps primary-school-aged children get fit.
- Open Lab worked alongside Newcastle United Foundation’s six-week Match Fit programme.
How it works
ThinkActive uses inexpensive activity trackers and pseudonymised avatars to encourage children to get fit.
The teacher is given a collection of activity trackers, and each student is assigned an randomised avatar such as Blue Elephant 3 or Red Octopus 5. They update their step count by scanning their personal QR code onto a ThinkActive hub.
The teachers encourage students to reach the target of 3,000 steps a day.
The children compete in teams, but can choose whether they reveal their identity to their friends or the rest of the group. This allows them to compete, but not feel pressured or stigmatised if they don’t have as many steps as someone else.
heir data is anonymized on collection to safeguard the children, and prevent potential stigma or bullying.
The system was created alongside Newcastle United Foundation’s six-week Match Fit school programme – a fitness, football and nutrition course for children between 7 -11 years old.
- Public Health England reports that one in five primary school children are obese.
- Commercial activity trackers can be costly and often need an expensive smartphone to work.
- The safeguarding of children in schools can be complex, and care needs to be taken when collecting their private data.
Open Lab uses simple technological design to allow youth sport and fitness programmes to track their impact at low-cost without compromising the safety of the children they work with.
The private data can also be used to leverage governmental and public bodies to influence health policy around activity and technology spending.
- ThinkActive worked across two primary schools in the North East alongside the Match Fit programme located in the west end of Newcastle, which is in the top 5% of the most deprived areas in the UK.
- The children did a total of 13,064,861 steps between them during the first study. Each student had a mean average of around 13,000 steps a day, which is the equivalent to around six miles.
- ThinkActive won second place for Tech Innovation for the Future in the T3.com awards.
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