Headquartered in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, also known as the LSU AgCenter, is one of nine institutions that make up the state’s university system. The LSU AgCenter’s mission is to provide research-based educational information to improve the lives and economic well-being of the people of Louisiana.
One of the AgCenter’s most innovative initiatives is a set of nutrition education apps and technology-based nutrition education lessons called Body Quest. Originally developed by Auburn University, Body Quest apps prompt school children to engage in physical activity and learn about the benefits of proper nutrition by playing games with animated characters.
These educational apps help instructors combine classroom learning with online learning to appeal to student learning processes by involving digital technology. Additionally, the apps allow students to experience independent learning in a controlled environment, since the lessons are confined to the apps and prevent students from simply surfing the web where they may encounter false information or inappropriate content.
iPads in the Field
Every week, extension agents from the LSU AgCenter bring iPads loaded with the Body Quest apps to third grade classrooms across Louisiana. The goals are to teach kids about nutrition, encourage them to move more, and to provide opportunities to try fruits and vegetables, including locally-grown varieties the agents bring into the schools.
AirWatch Efficiencies Add Up
The LSU AgCenter uses VMware AirWatchⓇ to manage its fleet of 700 iPads. The AirWatch-managed iPads enable the small IT staff to restrict student usage to educational apps, shield kids from unsafe material, and protect the iPads from accidentally downloaded malware, random password changes, or other damage that a third grader might innocently cause.
The configuration also enables the staff to securely collect data about the program for academic research. As part of the Body Quest program, students now take surveys using the Qualtrics Survey app after they complete specific units. Prior to moving to Qualtrics, this was a cumbersome process using pencil and paper. But now, with Qualtrics managed by AirWatch, the process is automated.
LSU AgCenter plans to continue and expand the Body Quest program, bringing this innovative education initiative to as many school children as possible. The value and impact of such a widespread initiative would be immense.
Watch this video to learn more about the Body Quest program.