Case Study

NSW Schools ‘Race Around Australia’

“What began with dozens of students has now morphed into 4000 students across 47 schools and 290 classes taking part in physical activity and engaging with Australian history geography in culture.”

Client: NSW Dept of Education School Sports Unit

From increased concentration to developing positive lifelong habits, the benefits of physical activity in young people is widely recognised. What NSW high school teacher Emily McLachlan didn’t anticipate, however, was the immediate success of her ‘Race Around Australia’ challenge – a virtual tour of the nation as student’s runs were plotted on an interactive map. Digital Village created a web application to help thousands of NSW students race around Australia and sprint towards their academic goals.

Race Around Australia landing page

The Situation

Concerned by falling levels of activity amongst young people, Emily McLachlan wanted to design a physical challenge that would engage students. The premise was simple: ‘Race Around Australia’ (albeit virtually). Student’s runs were plotted on a virtual map so they could see their progress around the country. The innovative challenge garnered interest from students, teachers and education departments but was quickly overwhelmed by the need to manually update the map each day. In order to achieve her goal – creating a challenge that every student in every school could participate in – Digital Village was approached to develop a tech solution.

The Solution

We hosted a workshop in order to fully understand the specific needs and requirements of our client. The outcome was to, firstly, create a web application that allowed students of all ages to sign up, enter their run distance and see their progress across Australia. As they raced across the country, however, content relevant to their studies would be displayed as they passed points of interest. A competitive element was also added to keep students engaged. Classes and even schools could race against each other, seeing their cumulative totals nudge their school crest around Australia.

Race Around Australia Platform agnostic
Cross device solution

The Success

The web application we developed has allowed our client’s vision to become a viral success. What began with dozens of students has now morphed into 4000 students across 47 schools and 290 classes taking part in physical activity and engaging with Australian history geography in culture. ‘Race Around Australia’ has been covered in national media and its creator, Emily McLachlan, proudly recognised in the Learning Edge search for NSW’s most innovative educator. Most importantly, however, teachers have reported students being happier and more focussed after their runs alongside the social benefits of students working a cohesive team goal, to ‘Race Around Australia.’

NSW students have now run a combined 166,000KM with Race Around Australia, which is 6.5 times around Australia.

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Technology Skills of Tomorrow

Strong technical skills alone is not enough to run a successful IT project. A combination of communication and soft-skills along with business acumen is needed to be sure that objectives are met and outcomes are delivered.

The Problem

Business owners struggle to articulate what they need in a way that makes sense for a developer to do their job. And equally as much, engineers struggle to articulate the complexities of software to their clients in a way that makes sense to them. Technology is expanding and becoming even more complex, and businesses are relying on tech more than ever. So this problem is only getting bigger.

The importance of communication and soft skills in IT projects

The combination of technical and people skills in IT projects is so great that we have partnered with an organisation who specialises in coaching engineering teams in communication and leadership.

The Accelerator Program (Provided by Cred)

Cred works with governments and corporations to train and develop IT teams in communication and leadership and to focus on delivering business outcomes rather than focusing on only code and features. Cred has partnered with DV to deliver an accelerator program to enable IT specialists to level up their career, be in demand, over-subscribed, and to increase their income and stability. To learn more about this program click here..

The Digital Village Producer

A Digital Village Producer is a project leader who understands people, business and technology and can translate business requirements into technical solutions that deliver business outcomes.

Digital Village connects  ‘hybrids’ (a person who speaks both man and machine) to businesses on a contract and project basis. Learn more about the DV model here.