Over 500 primary school students in Dublin 8 show off their motor skills through world’s first motion tracking platform – MoveAhead

  • World’s first child-centred motion tracking platform MoveAhead aims to improve children’s motor skills through digital play
  • Smart Moves pilot programme evaluated motor skills of over 500 local schoolchildren, double its initial reach and extended into three additional schools due to its success
  • Pilot programme builds on previous research that found that majority of children can no long hop, skip or run properly due to increasing digital use

MoveAhead, the world’s first motion tracking and analytics platform designed to enhance children’s physical and digital skills, has improved the skills of over 100 local schoolchildren in Dublin 8. Through its Smart Moves Programme, in partnership with The Digital Hub, MoveAhead evaluated the skills of over 500 local schoolchildren, resulting in 100 children taking part in the six-week programme to develop their skills.

The Smart Moves programme aims to increase digital literacy and physical literary skills through an innovative curriculum that uses technology to get children moving. On average children spend 6 hours a day on screens, resulting in a lack of physical movement and almost 90% struggle with fundamental activities such as hopping and running.

MoveAhead, founded by Dr Johann Issartel and Dr Jamie McGann, is based on 15 years of research on children’s movement science at DCU and Trinity College Dublin which found that children’s movement skills are slowing as the use of technology and screens speeds up. The technology has reached millions of children globally and embeds its technology in popular games and apps for children, like Kinder’s ‘Applaydu’, to develop their skills through regular play.

The Smart Moves Programme was developed by MoveAhead in partnership with The Digital Hub as a follow up from the successful market validation achieved with support from Smart D8.  The programme evaluated the motor skills of over 500 children in Dublin and developed a six-week programme to build on movement skills that were identified as needing support in the evaluation. Using MoveAhead technology, children were empowered to design video games and used their own bodies as controllers to harness their movement skills in an identical way to regular play time.

The games run on any camera device and can be played in school or at home, providing feedback for teachers, parents and children to help understand and improve their movement performance.

Owing to its success, Smart Moves more than doubled the original target of reaching 200 schoolchildren and resulted in the addition of a further three weeks of the Smart Moves initiative to five afterschool programs, bringing a lasting impact on children in the locality.

Commenting on the partnership with MoveAhead, Stephen Brennan, Head of Strategy and Partnerships at The Digital Hub said:

“We are delighted to support MoveAhead in the launch of their first Smart Moves programme in the Dublin 8 community. This programme plays a critical role in providing a solution to a challenge that is facing many families by using the growing interest in digital technologies to advance movement skills in children, and the Smart Moves programme is a prime example of how this can be done. We look forward to seeing this critical programme progress and benefit those in our community and wider Dublin area.”

The Smart Moves programme aims to improve knowledge and understanding of physical activity  and digital literacy, develop positive attitudes towards physical activity, improve motor competency levels and increase physical activity levels. It also seeks to enhance digital skills, as well as develop critical thinking and online safety skills and build confidence among children in an increasingly digital work.

Speaking on the Smart Moves programme, Dr Johann Issartel, Co-founder of MoveAhead said:

“The Smart Moves programme is a milestone step in the progression of MoveAhead and has played an important role in developing movement skills in over 500 local Dublin 8 children. MoveAhead aims to solve a skills challenge in children by meeting them where their interests lie, in digital technology.

By working with children to create games that not only enhance their movement skills but also analyse where these skills may be low, we can accurately pinpoint improvements to ensure that children are moving differently and develop their motor skills. We are grateful for the support of The Digital Hub and look forward to continuing the development of the Smart Moves programme to provide greater benefits for children and families in the community.”

In 2023, MoveAhead was selected as one of four pilot projects for the Smart D8 programme, an urban health initiative using innovation to improve and sustain community health and wellbeing in Dublin 8. Over the course of three years, Smart D8 has elevated several innovative pilot projects, including Menopause and the City, Heart of Our City and Civic Dollars.

Using the movement data results and feedback from children and teacher experiences with the Smart Moves programme, the curriculum is now being refined and the supporting digital tools updated to best support a differentiated and personalised approach to curriculum delivery.

For more information about MoveAhead and the Smart Moves programme, visit: https://moveahead.io/


For more information:

Rachel Power | Murray | rpower@murraygroup.ie | 087 939 9605

Notes to Editor

About MoveAhead

Founded and developed by Dr Jamie McGann and Dr Johann Issartel, MoveAhead digitises movement and physical development with motion tracking software built specifically for kids. Combining 15 years of research and science, MoveAhead brings movement, physical development and developmental insights to children’s increasingly digital lives. MoveAhead is collaborating with The Digital Hub Development Agency and scaling it’s ‘Smart Moves’ programme through its extended learning programme and partnered schools in Dublin 8.

About The Digital Hub Development Agency

Located at the heart of the historic Liberties area of Dublin city centre, The Digital Hub provides high-quality workspace and support to small businesses in the technology and creative sectors, social enterprises, artists, and craftspeople.

At present, almost 55 businesses and organisations are based on The Digital Hub’s campus, collectively employing over 600 people. Current member companies include indigenous enterprises such as Akara Robotics, Bizimply, Good Travel Software, Kavaleer, Neuromod and patientMpower while the campus is also home to over 40 artists, craftspeople and arts organisations including the Dublin International Film Festival, field:arts, Flux, Pallas Projects and PhotoIreland.

The Digital Hub is also a supportive partner of its neighbours and the surrounding local community, leading a series of initiatives and projects for people of all ages, abilities and interests, many of which are designed to increase economic activity in the Liberties. They include the Smart D8 initiative, which seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of Dublin 8 citizens through collaborative demonstrator projects, Beta, a new international arts and technology festival and The Liber8 Music Project, run with BIMM Institute.

In addition to overseeing and running the campus and its activities, The Digital Hub is also responsible for the careful management of an extensive property portfolio, which includes many buildings representative of Dublin 8’s industrial history.

The Digital Hub Development Agency is the Irish state agency that manages The Digital Hub with a mission to deliver economic and cultural impact to Dublin 8 and beyond. The Agency was established by the Irish Government under the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications in 2003.

Further information is available at: www.thedigitalhub.com or on X: @TheDigitalHub