When we were developing Moki, we knew there would be some recurring worries that parents and teachers might have. After all, this kind of whole-school approach to measuring physical activity had not been tried before, and the truth is, we had some concerns of our own!
Here, we asked each of Moki’s four founders to address one of the four main issues that needed to be dealt with during development.
Budget is a crucial consideration for any school looking to fund a new initiative like Moki. We knew many parents would be asking their child’s school:
Is Moki worth the cost?
“Right from the outset, we knew Moki had to deliver serious value for money,” says James Huggins. “Most schools operate on extremely tight budgets, and we wanted Moki to be a viable option for as many of them as humanly possible.”
“We were under no illusions that this was ambitious. For Moki to be truly effective, whole classes of children need to be able to use it at the same time. Each child has a wristband they wear all day, and these are tapped into a central USB ‘reader’ or mobile app at the end of the school day.
“Most commercial activity tracker bands are prohibitively expensive for whole class or whole school use. But we were able to produce wristbands that provide accurate measures of physical activity without any of the distracting visual displays that are ubiquitous with fitness wearables. This allows us to keep the price-per-band extremely low while still delivering amazing data that can be used by teachers to educate children, as well as inspire them to be active.
“Many schools in England fund Moki using the annual PE and Sports Premium (PESP), which means it is coming out of budgets that have already been allocated by the government for the promotion of physical activity in schools. It is a way of getting children moving and promoting an active curriculum. We're happy to hear many teachers tell us that Moki is the best use of the Sports Premium they have ever made.”
From a product and design point of view, we knew there would be scrutiny from schools and parents over the safety of the bands. One question we were extremely keen to address was:
Are Moki bands safe to wear?
“As with all educational tools for primary school children, we have to be incredibly careful to ensure they are as safe as possible,” says Mike Outlaw. “We knew the bands had to present minimal risk to health and safety, even for much younger children. The reason we advise schools to focus mainly on children in Key Stage 2 is because they are at the age that will derive most value. They are able to understand the concept better, and make the link between physical activity and health.
“We also knew that, as technology progresses, concerns increase around the dangers of connectivity. Many fitness trackers use bluetooth to connect with over devices, leading to concerns about the potential for exposure to radio waves. That was one of the reasons we tried to keep things as simple as possible.
“Our bands do not connect with anything other than the reader, which is tapped using contactless technology. Outside of that, the Moki bands are simply inert pieces of silicon. They are completely safe for children to wear all day.”
Quite rightly, there is increasing concern about children’s data protection, with parents keen to protect their own personal data and ensure their children are safe. This had to be right at the top of our list of priorities when we were developing Moki.
Right from the outset we knew the right way to build Moki was to do so without it needing any personal information to deliver it’s full benefits to all our users users
Is the child's data safe?
“The Moki bands record movement by way of an accelerometer,” says Craig Carr. “This movement information is passed from the Band to the Moki app where any data is encrypted and stored locally on the school computer. Teachers are able to create profiles for individual users which can record things like name, age and gender, along with certain other metrics. This is for the school to decide, but Moki is able to provide its full benefits to the wearer, teachers and schools without the use of any personal data.
“Moki has undertaken Data Privacy audits to help us identify and minimise any data protection issues. The bottom line is, if children’s names are added to the Moki Application by the school - which is not required or requested for usage - then that data is completely inaccessible to anyone outside their class. Aggregated and anonymous movement data is backed up to Moki servers but no personal information is retained or accessible by Moki or any other third party at any stage.”
We knew one of the biggest areas of concern for parents in any new school initiative is around mental health and wellbeing. Often, sports and PE programmes are accused of alienating children who are less sporty, and creating unwanted focus on body image. We thought one question a lot of parents might ask is:
Isn’t Moki just another way of celebrating sporty children, and leaving the rest behind?
“It’s actually the exact opposite,” says Dylan Thompson, who, as well as being one of Moki’s Founders, is also a Professor of Human Physiology. “Moki is not a tool that promotes sporting excellence, but a way of measuring physical activity in all children. In that respect, it provides schools with a ‘level playing field’ that all children can benefit from.
“Unlike other tools that may have been developed specifically for PE and Games, Moki is intended to be worn all day. It recognises effort and performance in areas that schools have never been able to measure before. It does not report on how fast or strong children are, but recognises all physical activity as being beneficial to a healthy lifestyle.
“One of the first things we realised when we were developing Moki, was that there should be no read-outs on the bands. Children can just concentrate on enjoying being active rather than trying to beat each other’s ‘scores’. Of course, there is functionality in the app to allow for friendly competition and recognition, but crucially, the teacher remains in control of this at all times. They decide how much information to share with the children, and how to harness the data to encourage everyone.
“Feedback from teachers has been that, overwhelmingly, Moki has brought classes and whole schools closer together, particularly through tough times such as lockdown. We have found that Moki fosters encouragement and empathy, and helps children work towards common goals that they can celebrate and enjoy together.”
If you have any questions about Moki and can't find answers here on the website, or simply prefer talking to a human then don't hesitate to contact us.