play / 2016

Gaggle uses a fun wearable beacon and mobile app to create a revolutionary new child safety service

Gaggle uses a fun wearable beacon and mobile app to create a revolutionary new child safety service

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by EPage

Gaggle uses a fun wearable beacon combined with a mobile app to create a revolutionary new child safety service to help monitor large groups of students on school field trips.


Are any other organizations collaborating on this proposal?

Redondo Beach Unified School District, Redondo Beach Council of PTAs, El Segundo Unified School District

Please describe your project proposal.

We will expand on our pilot program in a number of Los Angeles schools: the service will be tested on dozens of field trips across a wide variety of locations with elementary school children. Performance will be monitored and improvements made to the hardware and software. We will develop new wearable beacons for use with young children, improve the mobile app, and ensure the service is robust enough to handle substantial simultaneous usage.

Which of the play metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Access to open space and park facilities
  • Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs
  • Perceived safety

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to play?

A large number of kids cannot participate in school field trips due to parental concerns over their safety. We consulted with public school administrators and teachers and discovered that this was a growing issue, often preventing children from experiencing parks, museums, cultural and educational programs, and more.

After being one of many chaperones on a field trip with a class of 125 elementary school kids we had the opportunity to see the challenges of monitoring both large and small groups. Not only is a chaperone tasked with the important duty of protecting a group of children, but the chaperone must spend a significant amount of time gathering and monitoring the group, even when there is nothing wrong. This experience has inspired us to develop a solution to this problem using smart phones that most chaperones already carry.

Gaggle is a unique, new child safety service that helps families and groups keep track of each other. Children on field trips wear a Gaggle Beacon, which allows a chaperone to know that a child is near. Chaperones use an iOS or Android application that is linked to the bracelets, allowing them to know when a child has moved out of range. This real time, continuous, automated attendance monitoring allows a trip to run much more smoothly, and more importantly, safely.

If a child separates from the group, or the group moves on without the child, their primary chaperone(s) will be alerted before they have a chance to wander too far away: instead of many minutes passing before a chaperone realizes a child is missing, they are alerted in seconds. If the child is not readily found, the alert can be escalated to the entire trip or even to every person who has the Gaggle application installed on their phone.

What makes our service unique is that all the chaperones are linked to one another via the Gaggle cloud service. If a child moves between groups, their chaperone will know that the child is not actually lost. Information is shared among every chaperone of a trip, and if escalated, every local Gaggle user.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Surveys, assessments, and interviews with school staff, parents, chaperones, and community members will help grade effectiveness and impact on LA2050 play metrics. We will monitor numerous factors during trips. Feedback will be correlated with measured performance of the Gaggle service. Monitored factors include:

  • Frequency and duration of separation alerts.
  • Frequency and duration of temporary disconnections between a child and the group.
  • Mobile device battery use due to the application during the activity.
  • Chaperone use of the application features.
  • Errors or problems encountered by the application.

Adjustments will be made after each activity to address any issues.

Success will be measured by the following:

  • Increased number of children who participate in field trips.
  • Increase of time spent on activities (reduction of active monitoring time).
  • Percent chaperone satisfaction with the service.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Quality improvement research