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Boosting physical activity in school: Event with more than 30 000 players

 

2 February 2022
by Eva Toome

 

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Lack of physical activity and obesity among schoolchildren is a growing trend according to a study published by WHO. So how to encourage children to move and be active? Estonian School Sport Union (EKSL) in cooperation with the Estonian EdTech Loquiz found an ingenious solution to connect movement to gaming.

Estonian School Sport Union has been actively different activities and movement opportunities to students and teachers for 31 years already. During COVID, when schools in Estonia started distance learning and group gatherings were not possible, the union came out with the idea of smart games. EKSL joined forces with the Estonian EdTech Loquiz which is already used in a number of schools daily as a way to encourage active movement.

Event with more than 30 000 players

EKSL’s quick cooperation with Loquiz lead to the first game being released in February 2021. In 2021 from February to June, all together 32 927‬ children from 231 schools participated actively.

Games were highly appreciated by teachers due to their simplicity and because they were fun and challenging enough for the kids.

“Covid stopped the sports-events for schoolchildren and lowered the overall activity levels of pupils,” says Eric Hints, CEO of Loquiz. “Supporting Estonian School Sport Union in their quest to offer physical activity to every pupil in a fun way was an exact match with our mission to help to make pupils physically more active. This was the biggest education-focused sports event during the year that allowed everybody to still follow strict Covid public gathering rules.”

“Games on the Loquiz platform were a perfect fit for the Estonian School Sport Union,” confirms also Robin Orgulas, EKSL project manager. “Since it wasn’t possible to gather crowds the perfect fit was odometer-based games where each student could create his of her track. Also, being able to offer teachers some help with their workload and also keep students on the move was great.”

How the games were built?

Games were intended for public school students and each game contained questions and distance appropriate for the study level. While building the game the sports union included a test group of students to get their direct feedback to add clarity and a friendlier user experience.

Games were designed to enrich the knowledge base of participants and to repeat the curriculum and facts from different classes. There was no competition between participants built into the game. Although players collected points during their games, the scores were not shared with other participants. Games’s goal was not to beat others but to improve knowledge and endorse the movement.

Games were meant to be played outdoor but were not locations based – so the students could choose which way and where to walk outdoors. It was great to see that students involved family members, relatives, and friends to the walks! Although the game was possible to play alone, it still was set up so that one could include a permitted amount of friends in the game. This way it was possible to beat loneliness and isolation which are too common in the shadow of COVID-related pandemic restrictions.

Students had to develop independence

The tasks in the game opened based on the distance covered by the player i.e every 100m of walking new task opened to be completed. As games did not have determined start and finish points, students had to learn to plan independently while planning their track. Games carried on equal treatment, partnership, and tolerance principles with different levels, and teachers could choose which game to make accessible for specific students. Students who did not have smart devices were provided different solutions to borrow the equipment.

Digital innovation in schools is an ongoing process. EKSL project with Loquiz shows that new technologies can be one solution to making children move more and learn on the go.

The showcase was originally published on Loquiz webpage.

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