Tomorrow, across Qatar, we will mark the first National Sports Day with a range of activities including walks, mini-marathons, fitness tests and a variety of sporting matches. ictQATAR employees will be taking part in the official Sports Day walk tomorrow morning on the Corniche, and is giving all employees a pedometer so they can start counting their steps each day. Yes, technology can be very helpful in keeping us all fit.
What would happen though, if you combined a basic concept, like a pedometer, with the powerful concept of gamification? Well, there is a new gaming technology designed specifically for teens that did just that and actually got teens moving 30% more – the equivalent of one marathon a month! Zamzee is a gaming concept that tracks how much teens move each day with a simple device they wear. Each day they upload their activities to the Internet to track their progress and to complete with friends for a range of badges and prizes. It takes all the great elements of something like Foursquare and translates a simple rewards and competition concept into huge leaps in activity and fitness. Many teens already have gaming as an integral part of their lives, so why not put it to good use for health? Check out the Zamzee video to see how it works.
I first heard about Zamzee from Gabe Zichermann at ictQATAR’s Everything Mobile forum. It’s just one great example of how gamification can be used to promote engagement, and when it is used for health, all the better. Definitely check out Gabe’s blogfor more great Gamification news.
Zamzee is still in beta testing, but with its initial impressive results, this seems like something that could really catch on. As opposed to the standard physical education classes, why don’t we have teens wear a Zamzee and set certain activity goals for each month or semester? Having competitions within schools would be great way to encourage use and it can mean even teens who are not the most athletic could be fitness leaders without facing the wrath of a dodge ball.
I’d love to see Zamzee adopted in Qatar. Perhaps some schools or parent groups could sign-up to be part of the beta testing. Regardless, to mark Qatar’s Sports Day, I definitely encourage people to think about creative ways technology can help people stay fit. Get out there tomorrow and move– happy Sports Day!
Check out the official Qatar Sports Day page for more details about what is happening around the country tomorrow.