Thinking about Sport and Physical Activity during and after Covid-19 pandemic led us to think about physical education first. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, one team member who has 2 daughters saw physical education to disappear from the daily teaching program while another team member who is married to a teacher, felt firsthand the impact of this pandemic in the education sector. So, our inspiration comes from our daily livings, family experiences and news around the globe in regards to Sport and Physical Activity during Covid-19, the consequent lack of activity, accountability, and interactivity experienced by students around the world.

What it does

Playdate is the concept solution we designed to attend pains and aspirations of students and teachers:

  • Students and teachers can’t see one another during PE activities;
  • Communicating is a big problem as it's not possible for teachers to coordinate and support students during PE activities as well students to support themselves;
  • Students are isolated and lack social interaction as they are limited by the size of their own living spaces and outdoor activities that are only allowed to be done alone;
  • Students’ assessment doesn't exist as most PE activities disappeared from the educational program or are executed out of teacher’s sight:
  • It's difficult to motivate students to do physical activities as other alternatives play a bigger influence when they are alone (mostly online and video games or simply spending too much couch time on TV, surfing Social Networks, etc.).

Our solution has 3 aims: 1. To stimulate organized physical activity during pandemic-like times, 2. Increase the amount of physical activity AFTER restrictions are lifted by removing the obstacle of physical distance as much as possible, 3. To empower students in the process so they feel considered in the design of their program, leading to a personalized set of activities, more satisfaction and interest in doing more physical activities out of educational context.

Playdate allows to create and share remote physical activities by setting an environment where:

  • Teachers and students can build events (Playdates) together to remotely meet and play together.
  • Playdates are built by snapping blocks of activities to build a timeline that shows duration and intensity.
  • Teachers can assign blocks of activities to students and sequence them in the timeline.
  • Students (as well as any other individual) can co-create their own Playdates or choose a Playdate and share with friends they will play with later on.
  • Invites are sent and participants play together in a Zoom-like virtual space.
  • Students can give feedback to teachers and add reflections in regards to activities they just did.
  • Participants can create funny clips to share to social, invite friends and family to join.
  • Brands can share their own Playdates and participants can follow Kevin Doyle or Ciara Mageean training Playdate.

At user/concept testing, the feedback was largely positive. Despite our process was designed having students and teachers in mind, during user/concept testing, testers offered many suggestions to improve the concept and extend it to other segments such as sports clubs, sports associations, professional players, personal trainers and the overall population as well.

How we built it

We applied a design sprint process with alignment, ideation, storyboarding, prototyping and user testing. We started with secondary research focusing on numbers about the impact of Covid-19 in sports and physical activity, news in the media and then we did a problem framing workshop to dive in and explore both the current situation our audience was experiencing and the underlying pain for those experiences. From there we reached a problem statement to align the team. Then we did primary research with students and teachers to outline the most critical insights and we reframed our insight statements as How Might We questions. With a clear view of our design opportunities and journey obstacles we sketched a couple solutions and we came with this concept Playdate to test with users and get their feedback.

Challenges we ran into

The most relevant challenge was time and availability of subject matter experts (students and teachers) to inform the process and get feedback from, so the process could keep the user centric approach. We also found that the concept has a couple challenges itself, mostly related with privacy when sharing videos of Playdates that show activities done in school context. A couple solutions were outlined by users, especially to limit the share of videos to private message. Nevertheless, this represent one of the challenges we found that would need to be addressed in specific on future iterations.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of reaching a concept that answers to student’s aspirations for empowerment and personalization. Physical activities are often a pain for students due to excessive intensity or lack of interest in proposed activities that has no relationship with their preferences and biorhythm. Playdate would make learning physical education and practicing physical activities more practical and personalized so no one has to feel excluded or embarrassed for not being able to perform as well as the top one.

What we learned

During our discovery phase, we learned that many activities that are assigned at school are not enjoyed by all students, and many wished for a solution that allowed them to choose activities that matched their particular preferences and biorhythm. We also learned that many students dislike physical activity because they are reluctant to be visible to other students. Our solution addresses this by facilitating a fun and interactive approach to physical activity.

What's next for Playdate

What's next for Playdate is an iterative development process to refine the concept we reached considering feedback, suggestions and findings from concept test. Next, make it tangible with a prototype for user testing and move with market validation. If markets show interest in the solution, to productized it for the market and scale it by adapting the solution to the specifics of other markets.

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