Journey into Media App Review: Sworkit

When I began using this app the goal was to evaluate its merits as a tool to be used along with the Wellness 10 curriculum.  The second criteria I was investigating was whether the app could facilitate a healthier approach to technology use.  The app took off after an appearance on the hit show Shark Tank and an investment offer from billionaire Mark Cuban for 1.5 million for 10% of the company.  The name comes from the abbreviation of the phrase “simply work it”  So far the app has been downloaded for than 14 million times across both ios and Android platforms,  The app caters to those who may not have time or resources to work out at the gym and it’s main selling points are ease of use and accessibility.  Even if you have just a few minutes the app will personalize a workout for you using a variety of exercises that include cardio, flexibility, strength or yoga.  It offers a range of different styles of workouts and the exercises are demonstrated to users via video of trainers in action.  Voice prompts also give you cues as to time remaining or type of workouts.  It is free to download although there are certain features that are only available with a paid subscription.

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   Features

The features included with this app are impressive for a free program.  The free version runs on advertisements but they are not overly distracting.  As mentioned earlier, users are offered the choice of strength, cardio, Yoga or stretching exercises when they first log in.  They can then choose anywhere between 5 and 60 minutes for their workouts.  The video trainer will then take you through the exercises.  You can pause anytime or even adjust the workout for injuries.  For example, if you’ve had a shoulder injury, you can deselect the exercises that you are not capable of doing.  You can also customize your workouts by creating your own or download a whole host of premade workouts including Full Body, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced workouts), runners’ Warm-up, Office Chair Stretch, Plyometrics, Golfer Sworkout, Around the Office, Surfer Sworkout.  The paid version can be had for the small price of $2.99 a month and gives you access to ask a trainer 24/7 as well as ad-free use among other features.

Terms of Use

Like many other apps in the app store, you must be a minimum of 13 years of age to download it.  However, it can be used in a teaching format.  For instance, I use my projector along with the app to have classroom workouts or fitness center workouts that all students participate in together.  Or, I may invite students to chose a workout of a certain length on their phones and then let them go through the session on their own.  The terms of use also state that the company is released from any liability resulting from an injury and does not claim responsibility in the event of injury.  There is also an option on the app to post photos to social media but the terms clearly state,

“Although we are not liable for defamatory words posted on our Site by our Users even if given notice, we do prohibit defamation under this Agreement and we may, if we believe the situation warrants it, take action against the offending User, including but not limited to telling their mom on them. Please notify us at contact@sworkit.com if any of our Users has posted anything that you believe is defamatory.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiCN6LQ6IEA

Therefore, it seems as though the app creators have taken precautions to guard against defamation and inappropriate posts.  Another possible concern that has been much talked about in the tech world lately is the protection of personal data.  As fitness data can be something quite personal, companies must be sure to safeguard against data collection.  As Strava found out recently, releasing workout data can course privacy issues for people all around the world.  Luckily, Sworkit has covered this area fairly well through a very simple to use interface that requires little to no entry of personal data.  Whatever data is collected is strictly protected and will not be given to third parties according to the terms of service.  Finally, the terms of service also have a disclaimer of liability which releases the company from liability due to unforeseen circumstances.

Pros and Cons 

This app has tremendous potential in education, especially for Health and Wellness classes.  I have used it as a whole class activity and have even had students evaluate the workouts based on the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.   This provides some excellent higher level thinking and analysis opportunities as well.  The app is simple to use and even provides a Sworkit Kids version for younger users.  The platform itself is simple and you get quite a lot for the free version of this app.  As mentioned above, there are not many negatives that come with this app.  When examining this app through a media lens, there are some concerns surrounding posting content or personal workout data but once again, it comes down to having a discussion about digital citizenship with students.  The Yoga poses and stretching also allow for students to decompress, and take care of their mental well-being.

Overall Review   

This app has been a great tool to use over the past year or two especially for a change of pace in our regular Wellness 10 routine.  As mentioned above it gives students some choice as well as providing guided exercises with the proper form being demonstrated to users.  Other than minor concerns with the possible sharing or personal fitness data, this app allows students to get exercise, have fun and stay active while alleviating stress.  I give this app 4 out of 5 Luke heads and would highly recommend it for teachers.

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One Reply to “Journey into Media App Review: Sworkit”

  1. Thanks for sharing this review, Luke! I had never heard of this app before. It sounds really user friendly and I especially like that it includes a yoga component. I also like that you had students think critically about the app by comparing it to the Canadian PE Guidelines. This app sounds like a great way to tie tech and wellness together! Love it!

    Like

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