One of the avenues for obtaining funding with the DML Competition is to “augment existing connected learning programming with new connected learning resources and/or experiences that must be conceived of and sequenced as playlists that span and scale across organizations or institutions.”
The Read.SwimISCA.org’s proposal includes a bridge from an existing program that has been operational for the past five years. USA Swimming of Colorado Springs started its Deck Pass program in 2011. Developed and maintained in-house, Deck Pass has awarded 35 million patches since it opened.
The USA Swimming patches are similar to XPs and Digital Badges in that they are bestowed to individuals based upon merit and achievements. The graphic patches form collections for individuals who have set-up free accounts with usernames and passwords.
In 2016, of USA Swimming’s 400,000 athletes, about 300,000 have Deck Pass accounts. Non-members can play along too.
Individuals can issue friend requests for messaging and revealing their collections to others to witness. A majority of the patches are granted on Mondays following the weekend swim meets and come automatically based upon a rules-based system that interacts with the national swims database.
Some patches have come based upon holidays, geography, meet standards and coaches creations. USA Swimming Coaches (30,000) can design and issue custom patches to connect with the swimmers: Practice Beast, Performer of the Day, Kicking Winner, etc. Some patches are geared for swimmers in certain ages and provide appropriate insights on the Safe Sports, Anti-Doping, Nutrition, Anti-Bulling.
Rewards can be tied to patches. One cool feature of Deck Pass is its ability to integrate with a phone’s camera and provide QR Code Reader interactions. A kid could get a patch through the application by attending the USA Olympic Trials and seeing the QR Code in the meet program or on a sign at the facility.
The Deck Pass program is growing by 20% a year and is especially valued by Moms OnDeck. Its purpose was to keep kids motivated, striving, and involved in the sport of swimming. The “cartooning” of the patches are not as well received with older kids so different tools are being deployed that address the more mature kids with a detailed focus on how to swim faster. The patches for older swimmers are less abstract in offering a cool reward, but the patches are getting more technical. The trend in the patches is to show specific interests in how to better perform. Data analysis happens and the patches can unlock a video series to keep one motivated.
Read.SwimISCA.org can build a bridge of connected learning assets that spans between the USA Swimming Deck Pass and LRNG.
Support for Read.SwimISCA.org comes from USA Swimming Coach, David Scraven, Head Coach of Upper St. Clair Swim Club and High School in suburban Pittsburgh. Scraven, a former Standford swimmer, coaches one of the best teams in the region. Getting some of the swimmers at USC into the coalesce of a city-wide Varsity Club for working on technology can provide a way for city and suburban kids to reach and interact with connected learning, while playing well with others.
Other partners in the Read.SwimISCA.org network have swim pools and teams, including the JCC Sailfish (USA Swimming Club), Thelma Lovette YMCA, Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh Public Schools (14 pools, 8 varsity teams, 20+ teams in elementary and middle school grades) and Hosanna House.
The Teamwork and Sportsmanship patches or badges offer some ways for early adopters to integrate and connect various systems and populations.
TeamUnify, another within the sport of swimming that support the Read.SwimISCA.org proposal, can fill a tremendous role in capitalizing the opportunities for connected learning among the LRNG efforts and the patches of USA Swimming. TeamUnify has a times database too. TeamUnify’s app, OnDeck, fills other needs for parents/guardians, swim coaches and teams.
The short-term plans being discussed, should the funds from the DML Competition arrive, is to deploy the aquatic-related playlists by advancing Read.SwimISCA.org network internationally. Those in swimming in Canada, UK, AUS, NZ, and RSA do not have nor wish to contract with the services of USA Swimming. With the robust tools and help of TeamUnify and LRNG, the international markets can be opened.
AutoCoach of Australia is another partner in the aquatics field that has exceptional, high-tech timing equipment especially geared to swimming. AutoCoach XPs are expected in the months to come. AutoCoach has customers around the world, especially in Australia and the Pacific rim nations. AutoCoach sales efforts involve the attending of many coaching clinics and seminars around the world, including the World Clinic held in the USA.
Deploying aquatic related playlists can be successful with the USA college-club markets. Building relationships with those sizable populations would avoid duplication of efforts and needless competitive wranglings with USA Swimming.
College swimming happens with varsity teams at the NCAA levels as well as with non-varsity, club settings. The club settings present a challenge, but also the best opportunity for wide-spread adoption of playlists and pathways with Read.SwimISCA.org and LRNG hosted utilities. College Tri Teams would be potential advocates for playlists.
All the water polo players in the college ranks follow the lead of the Collegiate Water Polo Association and its sibling organization also hosted in the Philadelphia area, American Water Polo. American Water Polo is a long-term partner with our aquatic efforts in Pittsburgh and has provided a letter of support for Play.ClOH.org.
Spoken as a recent coach of the Carnegie Mellon University Womens Water Polo Team, I am confident that the college club water polo scene can benefit from certain XPs that have already been designed and are about to launch at LRNG. — Mark Rauterkus
Another strategy for advancing connected learning opportunities in aquatics with Read.SwimISCA.org is to develop content for older individuals, ages 16 to 24, and then re-position these XPs and pathways within the USA Swimming Deck Pass framework. What goes into LRNG can also be tweaked and plugged into Deck Pass. Rather than beat em, join them. Let’s provide Read.SwimISCA.org’s XPs to USA Swimming. The older kids who seem to out-grow the cartoon-like patches of USA Swimming’s Deck Pass might appreciate the career, technology, personal development and cross-training within Read.SwimISCA.org. The user-base at USA Swimming could migrate to LRNG with the help of the playlists and pathways of Read.SwimISCA.org. Furthermore, older swimmers with tech skills can begin to craft their own patches for each other and the younger swimmers on their teams.
Aquatics, deep water swimming, pre-lifeguard tests, water safety, lifeguard training, SKWIM, water polo, open-water swimming, one-mile swims, sports first aid, swim instructor volunteering, wellness exercises and the Olympic sports are central to the SwimISCA.org network and experiences. Many of the competitive swimmers in the age group ranks might appreciate on-going structure and badges after ending their competitive swim team seasons. This makes a sequence to playlists at Read.SwimISCA.org from an existing connected learning program. The span goes from USA Swimming (National Governing Body) to TeamUnify (swim business that manages big data for teams in the cloud) to LRNG with playlists, pathways, XPs and badges from Read.SwimISCA.org.