Assessing Health Games in Secondary Schools: An Investigation of the American Horsepower Challenge 2009-2010

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Eiríksdóttir, Elsa
Xu, Yan
Miller, Andrew
Poole, Erika
Catrambone, Richard
Kestranek, Dan
Mynatt, Elizabeth D.
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We present detailed findings from our study of a long-term multi-site physical activity pervasive game for US middle school children: The American Horsepower Challenge. In this technical report, we concentrate on the following findings. Compared to the pedometer data collected one week before the AHPC was deployed, the participants logged significantly more steps during the three heats as compared to the pre-game period, and overall students described being motivated to participate in AHPC to have fun, be healthier, and to support a sense of school pride. Most parents reported encouraging their children to be physically active or play sports, but as the challenge progressed we found a drop in family support for being physically active. The AHPC teacher is crucial to the game's success, providing structured opportunities for additional physical activity, becoming stewards of the pedometers, and mediating between the school, students and the sponsor. In addition to these findings, we also present design recommendations, including: designing for limited information technology resources, and implementing workarounds for expected hardware failure.
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