One of the major issues in physical activity and sport in schools we are guessing the amount of activity and the type of activity children are engaged in within schools. It is no longer good enough to tick a box because someone is doing physical activity. It is understanding what intensity, how long and what activity they are engaged in. This is crucial.
We need to take the guess work out of what activities we believe the children are involved in throughout the school day and this can only be done by having a objective resource that provides the correct data. There is resistance to Fitbits etc. as this information can be compared by children and GPS does not work indoors and isn’t accurate.
The PAT System (Pupil Activity Tracker) has recently been launched by SAQ International. This uses ANT technology - it doesn’t track the child so is not invasive; it captures their activity using new technology that involves an accelerometer. This provides all levels of physical activity from sitting, sprinting and it also provides loading, steps and distance covered.
Access to the dashboard is through the Cloud and this is the responsibility of the school, teacher and head teacher. Here they can look at individual’s performance, whole class, whole school and girls v boys etc. It provides a minute by minute picture of what an individual has done throughout the school day. This can lead to competitions class against class, school against school, girls against boys, etc. but the individual data can be kept secret and personal goals can be set by the teacher so therefore it is not always the sporty children who win the awards.
An added bonus to the system is that parents and children can access their independent performance through the Cloud with a simple individual licence. Therefore the parent can gain an understanding of the levels of activity their children are taking throughout the school day and week.
PAT is the future of monitoring physical activity within schools.