Tag Archive | technology in P.E.

Middle School with Zamzee

By Timothy NguyenTim

My affiliation with Zamzee began roughly in 2011, when the Zamzee team made an appearance at my middle school. I was in 8th grade back then and the idea of an activity tracker that measures your steps intrigued me, as I was unfamiliar with idea to begin with. The enthusiasm of the Zamzee team and their persuasion quickly whipped me on board, and before you know it, the meter was on the way to my doorstep.

At first, my P.E. teacher challenged the class to see who can earn the most points, and I believe that it was the challenge that really got me going on the device. Later on, I ended up winning the competition, and ever since then, the Zamzee meter hasn’t left my side. Many of my friends commented about the device, and I gladly explained to them how it encourages you to get active. I practically wore it everyday to school and to the gym whenever vacation came around. At the gym, I was quickly remembered because I had the meter on: I stood out.

What encouraged me the most about the Zamzee meter was the accomplishments one could achieve. I always became excited when I earned a new badge, and that factor is what drove me to stay dedicated to the meter. Moreover, other than the obtainable badges, their challenges were another prime factor that kept me dedicated. From my standpoint, I thought it was a fabulous idea that one can earn tangible rewards from physical activity. Challenge after challenge, I pushed myself to earn enough Zamz for a product I wanted. That drive eventually led me to earn enough Zamz to purchase Yurbuds from BestBuy, which I proudly use every single day, and for that, I am extraordinarily grateful. It was because of this drive for accomplishment that I found myself pushing my limit of physical activity. There was even one point where I found myself exercising within my house, something I would never find myself doing because of how small my house is. But I was doing it, because of the Zamzee meter. Continue reading

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The Top 10 Zamzee Blog Posts of 2013

On the Zamzee blog, we document the scientific research behind Zamzee, our efforts to fulfill our mission of improving kids’ health, and fun stories and ideas about families getting active. Looking back at the most popular posts of 2013, it’s clear that Zamzee Blog readers are interested in the full spectrum of physical activity. But what’s the most popular? Here are the 10 most-read blog posts of 2013:

1.) 5 Playground Games from Around the World

Topping the charts of 2013 was a fun blog post about playground games from around the world. Look no further if you are looking for inspiration on how to spice up your kids’ backyard play: these games will have you moving, laughing, and earning mega-Pointz on your Zamzee meters!

2.) What’s the Difference Between a Pedometer, an Accelerometer and a Zamzee?

The second most popular blog post of 2013 was a short and sweet piece explaining the difference between pedometers, accelerometers and a Zamzee. If you’re new to Zamzee and activity trackers in general, this post is a great starting point for understanding more about your options for tracking your physical activity.

3.) Using Technology to Modernize Physical Education (P.E.)

A personal favorite of the Zamzee staff, this guest blog post by Cindy Sisson Hensley takes a look ahead at how technology can transform physical education to make school P.E. more engaging for today’s kids. Continue reading

Walking to School with Safe Routes and Zamzee

Safe Routes to School education event - August 24th, 2013 - Adam Brant (28)

“Back in my day, we had to walk ten miles back and forth to school. In the snow! Uphill both ways!”

It’s probably been a long time since you fell for that classic joke. But even though your grandfather probably didn’t walk uphill both ways to school, there is a good chance he did walk to school. Unfortunately, many kids these days don’t have a chance to say the same.

Back in 1969, 48 percent of K-8th grade students walked or bicycled to school. By 2009, only 13 percent of K-8th grade students were walking or biking to school. This uptick in students driving to school has had a big impact on communities. For example, did you know that 10-14 percent of all vehicular traffic between 7 and 9 A.M. is school-related?[1] Moreover, many communities lack the urban infrastructure that would make walking or biking to school safe for children. For all these reasons and more, Congress passed federal legislation in 2005 establishing the National Safe Routes to School program. The new program would fund projects to improve the safety of children walking and biking to school, and encourage families to travel between home and school using these modes. Continue reading

Reflections on a Year of Using Zamzee at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

By Sue Loubser, Director of Technology at Greenfield Hebrew Academy

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Sue Loubser and Jon Babul from the Hawks Development Team.

Our year is over and we reached our goal of A Million Minutes of Activity! We never doubted we would, although we did learn a few lessons as the year progressed.

When we launched the program last September, the school was abuzz. Our head of school recalls that “kids went home and were jumping around during dinner and running around in place as friends talked to them. Children who ordinarily couldn’t easily wake up in the morning or had to be dragged out of bed suddenly popped out with great enthusiasm and energy to maximize their minutes.” Parents were amazed by the changes in their kids’ behaviors.

Although this was launched as a Middle School project – there was so much interest from younger students that our PTSA started selling Zamzee meters. They sold 50 in short order and it felt like everyone was being active!

We held a lot of competitions during the year to keep students motivated. Originally our goal was to mandate the wearing of Zamzees as part of our PE program, but mid-year we took that requirement away. That meant we had to help the kids stay motivated to keep using Zamzee.

Students could win gift cards, T-shirts, chocolates (from Israel), drinks, baseball caps and even an iPod in random drawings or as rewards for exercising over a certain number of minutes. We were also given 20 pairs of Braves tickets to give to students who met a goal for exercising. We had random reward days where if you uploaded during the day, you received a treat (which could be a Zamzee flashlight or a skin) or even a surprise recess. Continue reading

Greenfield Hebrew Academy Reaches a Million Minutes of Activity with Zamzee!

GHA_and_Zamzee
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Using Technology to Get Kids Active

Technology is a big part of kids’ lives these days, from the classroom to playtime. But the digital revolution hasn’t yet become mainstream in kids’ sports and exercise. Especially for kids who don’t like moving, you have to wonder: could there be a better way to use technology to inspire kids to get active?

Right now, youth exercise is pretty closely correlated with traditional youth sports teams. That makes sense because, in the United States, 75% of boys and 69% of girls play organized sports. But what about those other kids, the 25% of boys and 31% of girls who don’t participate in sports teams? Right now, we don’t have many good options to cater to these kids and get them moving. Moreover, even if a kid participates in sports when they are younger, they don’t always stick with the team when they get older. This video by the Women’s Sports Foundation makes a compelling and scary case for why girls, in particular, keep leaving the game.

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Zamzee at Hill Middle School

Zamzee_SchoolZamzee was designed to get kids moving. There are schools using Zamzee across the country, and we love hearing from program leaders about Zamzee’s impact.

Thanks to funding from the Cigna Foundation, Loretta Sander of the Chicago YMCA in Naperville, Illinois designed an after-school program at Hill Middle School using Zamzee to get a group of kids active. She’s working with Brad Sulkowski from Northern Illinois University and together they are doing great things. We recently interviewed her to find out how the program is going.

Zamzee: Thanks for taking some time to talk with us, Loretta! Can you tell us more about why you decided to use Zamzee at Hill Middle School?

Loretta: Absolutely! When I found out I was able to do a kids program with Zamzee, I knew right away that I wanted to work with middle school students. Middle school kids desperately need physical activity – exercise brings those positive endorphins that help middle school kids feel better about themselves and their life outlook. The problem is lots of kids don’t like being involved in big group activities like sports teams (my son included!). But just because some kids don’t participate in sports, that doesn’t mean that they should miss out on the benefits of exercise.

Zamzee: We totally agree. So what are the kids in your program doing to get active?

Loretta: We are doing a five-week program for fifteen 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Hill. We meet every Tuesday and Thursday after school to do cardio, calisthenics, circuit rotations and interval training. We use a room at Hill so the students don’t even have to travel anywhere. All students were given a Zamzee at the start of the program and have been using it all along to track their activity and (of course!) get rewards.

Zamzee: And how are the kids liking Zamzee?

Loretta: They love it! Actually, at the beginning, a lot of the initial draw for kids was that they could earn rewards with Zamzee – they love the gift cards. That made them want to work out and participate in the program. They think it’s pretty cool that they can earn these rewards on their own, without the help of Mom and Dad. It gives them a sense of empowerment, which is a great thing for kids at this age. And the more they started working out, the better their bodies felt. Continue reading