Workshop at the 2014 Active Living Research Annual Conference.
Advances in portable electronic technologies have created opportunities to adapt from conventional paper and pencil data collection methods into the use of iPads for physical activity observations in parks and school settings. This two-part workshop focused on data collection in community settings using direct observation SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) and introduced and provided practice for using iSOPARC - a new iPad application for collecting and storing SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) and SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth) data. In addition to standard SOPARC data on physical activity (e.g., sedentary, walking, vigorous) and target area physical characteristics (e.g., accessibility, usability, supervision, and organization), iSOPARC permits the collection and exportation of photos, and enables the identification, mapping, and spatial area calculation of target areas using the iPad’s GPS technology.
The first part of the workshop focused on the SOPLAY/SOPARC approach for data collection on physical activity, followed by an introduction on the use of the iSOPARC application for iPads. Following the introduction, workshop participants were provided with an iPad mini and taught the basic functions of iSOPARC using video examples of various physical activity settings. Following a brief practice and troubleshooting session, participants then experienced real-life data collection using iSOPARC in outdoor settings. Several convenient outdoor physical activity areas were pre-selected and loaded into the application for the full iSOPARC experience. Following data collection practice, participants were engaged in a discussion about their experience with the application and its potential for physical activity data collection in diverse settings.