Early in the 2012 school year I was searching through copy after copy of different PE equipment catalogs for a pedometer I thought would most benefit my students (plastic vs. aluminum, “chip” clip vs. stationary hook, etc.). After what seemed like hours looking at these inferior activity markers, I remembered an interesting product that I thought did something along these lines worn by a principal–and many of his school’s students– in Colorado I had met a few weeks prior.
One thing led to another, and after raising nearly $4,500 in grants, my colleague and I were able to bring the aforementioned Sqord products to our school. All students in grades 3 – 5 were outfitted, along with any of our 95 staff who so desired. An assembly was held to formally launch the product, and we even enjoyed a little related local and national media attention.
From the moment our students strapped on their PowerBands, most were fully on board with this exciting new product. They ran, played, jumped, twirled and tumbled to earn more points and score a victory against the classmate they were paired up with for the week. One student wrote how she rode her bike around the block three extra times each night with hopes of beating her opponent.
More than just anecdotal success, I saw my students’ PACER scores (a test measuring cardiovascular fitness) increase as Sqord participation grew. My students loved this program!
In addition to the added movement in their lives, my students were receiving a safe introduction to online social media. They were able to interact with their peers via the sqord website, sending hi-fives and pre-written squawk messages. Each day they simply had to “swipe” their Bands over one of the several BaseStations we had in the school, and all of their movement was sent away to the protected website.
This program was precisely what my school needed. An external motivation tool that could create some excitement and provide for my students a rich incentive to move and get healthy.
As I write this blog, I am days away form bringing this technology back to my school for a second straight year. Over the summer Sqord has made multiple upgrades to their various products, software and website, and I can’t wait to get them back into my building.
So as my students and I stand on the verge of another great year with this inventive product, we are very thankful for the forward-thinking, innovative minds behind Sqord. Here’s to another great year . . . !
Mike Humphreys, PE Teacher, NBCT
Arlington Public Schools