D8 Kids Moving Ahead

Over 500 primary school students in Dublin 8 show off their motor skills through world’s first motion tracking platform called MoveAhead following a hugely successful pilot


Business, Life

MoveAhead, the world’s first motion tracking and analytics platform designed to enhance children’s physical and digital skills, has been helping over 100 local schoolchildren in Dublin 8 to ‘get ahead’ with its innovative Smart Moves programme.

Working in partnership with The Digital Hub and as part of a Smart D8-supported pilot, MoveAhead evaluated the skills of over 500 local schoolchildren, resulting in 100 children taking part in the six-week programme to develop their skills.

The Smart Moves programme aims to increase digital literacy and physical literary skills through an innovative curriculum that uses technology to get children moving. Research shows that on average children now spend 6 hours a day on screens, resulting in a lack of physical movement and almost 90% if kids struggle with fundamental activities such as hopping and running.

MoveAhead, founded by Dr Johann Issartel and Dr Jamie McGann, is based on 15 years of research on children’s movement science at DCU and Trinity College Dublin which found that children’s movement skills are slowing as the use of technology and screens speeds up. The technology has reached millions of children globally and embeds its technology in popular games and apps for children, like Kinder’s ‘Applaydu’, to develop their skills through regular play.

Speaking on the Smart Moves programme, Dr Johann Issartel, Co-founder of MoveAhead said: “MoveAhead aims to solve a skills challenge in children by meeting them where their interests lie, in digital technology. By working with children to create games that not only enhance their movement skills but also analyse where these skills may be low, we can accurately pinpoint improvements to ensure that children are moving differently and develop their motor skills.”

The Smart Moves Programme was developed by MoveAhead in partnership with The Digital Hub as a follow up from the successful market validation achieved with support from Smart D8 – the health and community wellbeing focused smart city innovator.  The programme evaluated the motor skills of over 500 children in Dublin and developed a six-week programme to build on movement skills that were identified as needing support in the evaluation. Using MoveAhead technology, children were empowered to design video games and used their own bodies as controllers to harness their movement skills in an identical way to regular play time.

The games run on any camera device and can be played in school or at home, providing feedback for teachers, parents and children to help understand and improve their movement performance.

Owing to its success, Smart Moves more than doubled the original target of reaching 200 schoolchildren and resulted in the addition of a further three weeks of the Smart Moves initiative to five afterschool programs, bringing a lasting impact on children in the locality.

Commenting on the partnership with MoveAhead, Stephen Brennan, Head of Strategy and Partnerships at The Digital Hub said: “This programme plays a critical role in providing a solution to a challenge that is facing many families by using the growing interest in digital technologies to advance movement skills in children, and the Smart Moves programme is a prime example of how this can be done. We look forward to seeing this critical programme progress and benefit those in our community and wider Dublin area.”

The Smart Moves programme aims to improve knowledge and understanding of physical activity and digital literacy, develop positive attitudes towards physical activity, improve motor competency levels and increase physical activity levels. It also seeks to enhance digital skills, as well as develop critical thinking and online safety skills and build confidence among children in an increasingly digital work.

Using the movement data results and feedback from children and teacher experiences with the Smart Moves programme, the curriculum is now being refined and the supporting digital tools updated to best support a differentiated and personalised approach to curriculum delivery.

For more information about MoveAhead and the Smart Moves programme, visit: https://moveahead.io/

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