Website gets students more active for better mental health.
The NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC) educates and supports a wide cross-section of the community, from early childhood and school education through to TAFE adult learning. It provides targeted support for people at risk of not achieving their full potential. In Australia, high school students in years 7-10 have a high prevalence of anxiety, depression and behavioural issues that affect their ability to learn, achieve and progress.
Lara Hatton is a teacher at Centennial Park School, which delivers short-term, intensive programs for high school students living with mental illness. She explains that regular physical and recreational activity is proven to have a positive effect on overall mood, and helps prevent depression and anxiety. "Staying active increases positive self-image, self-esteem and resilience, which in turn foster good mental health and wellbeing," she adds.
The challenge was to push this message out to high school students in an appealing and engaging way. With the majority of young people dwelling in the online space, a website was the ideal communication platform.
Hatton and her team drafted an online learning resource called the 'Me, Mood, Get Active' website, specifically for use by high school students with behavioural, social and learning challenges. The visual design had to appeal to a potentially disinterested audience, and engage students who may not normally participate in practical lessons. The tone of the site needed to be welcoming and promote 'having a go' in a safe environment with small groups of like-minded people.
Hatton explains, "We hoped to minimise the amount of text on the site, to create a fresh and interactive portal to relevant and reliable information with links to external resources."
After searching through a number of potential web providers, Hatton approached Novo IT on recommendation from a colleague.
Novo IT Solution
In line with the brief, the Novo IT team built the Me, Mood, Get Active website on WordPress. Novo IT took care of all development, from visual design and build through to hosting the site on DEC servers.
"It was such an easy process," says Hatton. "They listened carefully to what we needed, and got on with the job straight away."
Animation provided an interactive experience, including navigation animation and character animation. A dynamic image carousel and various transition effects were applied to enhance interactivity.
A 'mood card' tool was added, which allowed students to fill out a mood card to track their feelings over time, with a report at the end of the Me, Mood, Get Active program.
Hatton is thrilled with the Me, Mood, Get Active website. "It has been a fantastic resource for students, teachers and parents. It has already made a real difference."
The site was entered into a competition between schools running similar programs, and received an outstanding response from judges and other contenders.
"The design and navigation are user-friendly, and resonate really well with our students. We can easily update the content ourselves, which saves us time, money and hassles."
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