Mystery shrouds World Day for Physical Activity at IU Bloomington
April 7, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Dozens of Indiana University students in Bloomington will observe World Day for Physical Activity on Wednesday (April 8) with a 4-mile trek around the scenic campus as they search for a mysterious character.
The students, competitors in the alternate reality game
Part grant-funded research and part fun,
"Throughout the game we have been communicating with the students regarding health, nutrition, physical activity," said Jeanne Johnston, assistant professor in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and lead investigator of the high-tech, action-oriented research project. "They have been learning about the benefits of being active and living a healthy lifestyle. This is their chance to apply that knowledge and make a statement to the community that they care."
World Day for Physical Activity is promoted by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Brazilian research and advocacy group Centro de Estudos do Laboratório de Aptidão Física de São Caetano do Sul (CELAFISCS). This year's theme centers on "active neighborhoods building health." Both groups encourage people to accumulate at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for health.
"One of our goals is to increase the awareness of the walkability of the campus community and make the students more familiar with the campus and the benefits of walking," Johnston said.
Johnston and her research colleagues, Anne Massey, dean's research professor in the Kelley School's Department of Operations & Decision Technologies, and Lee Sheldon, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Telecommunications, received a $185,000 grant last year from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to explore how an interactive digital game can be designed to improve players' health.
The sequel to last fall's
Students work in teams of three to collect clues, solve puzzles and work towards solving the overall mystery for seven weeks. During this time they will be trekking across the campus and surrounding community to obtain clues and also have a goal of accumulating 50,000 steps per week. The players use various forms of technology including GPS geo-caching, the Internet and social network tools, such as Twitter and OnCourse. Winners of the many contests -- puzzle solvers extraordinaire -- and particularly enthusiastic participants all receive recognition and prizes.
After Wednesday's adventure students will enjoy free pizza donated by Butch's, a local restaurant that is also providing gift certificates to several lucky winners.
For more information, contact Johnston at 812-855-5073 and firstname.lastname@example.org.