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Now in its third year, Race Around Australia has encouraged tens of thousands of NSW students to become more active.
From increased concentration to developing positive lifelong habits, the benefits of physical activity in young people is widely recognised. Motivated by research proving increased physical activity improves learning outcomes, a NSW teacher devised a challenge that would engage students.
The premise was simple: students’ runs would be plotted on a virtual map as they ‘Race Around Australia’. The innovative challenge quickly garnered interest from students and teachers across both Australia and the world, but was quickly overwhelmed by the need to manually update the map each day.
The School Sports Unit in the Department of Education wanted to build a scalable digital solution that was easy to administer and integrate with existing school administration systems.
An initial design sprint was run to fully understand the challenge and determine the optimal approach to deliver the experience to students and teachers.
After gathering the key requirements, user journeys, UI and prototypes were developed to recreate the experience as a web application.
The MVP was tested in NSW schools and became a viral success. What began with dozens of students morphed into 4000 students across 47 schools and 290 classes taking part in physical activity and engaging with Australian history, geography and culture.
To achieve the department’s goal of reaching every school in NSW, a web application was to be built using Angular JS and Laravel PHP to allow the application to rapidly scale and change as required.
A team of specialists was built from the Digital Village Network with the exact capabilities required for the project
Now in its third iteration, Race Around Australia has been implemented as a highly-scalable web experience for students and teachers that promotes physical activity and delivers educational content as students complete stages of their virtual race.
The web application supports thousands of simultaneous users operating on AWS and integrates with other government systems for administering participant data and printing participation certificates.
To date, the NSW Education Department’s program has been used by 24,000 students and 1500 DET staff, and the team has been engaged throughout the program each year to assist with resolving challenges and creating a better experience for RAA participants.
‘Race Around Australia’ continues to reach its goal of promoting learning outcomes by making exercise a part of every class.