I’ve just spent a happy couple of hours walking in a park near my house. This is actually a very unusual Sunday activity for me as I usually get bored of walking within about 20 minutes. I do like walking, but only if the aim is to get somewhere specific (i.e. it has a very clear purpose).
However, I’ve recently discovered GPS Mission for the iPhone. This is basically techno-orienteering, and at the moment is my favourite app by far. It’s a really simple premise – there are missions that you have to complete and gold that you have to collect (although so far I haven’t attempted any missions as there are none near where I live) by going to their location on the map. However, even finding gold is very compelling (particularly the ‘ker-ching’ noise it makes when you walk over the right spot) and adds purpose to a simple Sunday afternoon stroll.
At present there don’t seem to be many other players around where I live but I can imagine that the addition of a competitive element (once gold has been collected, that’s it – gone) would add a new dimension.
My enthusiasm for this new game got me thinking about the potential uses for learning, particularly in terms of induction activities to help students find their way around new parts of a city or campus, or as a way to motivate reluctant exercisers. I’m sure it won’t be long until projects that use this sort of location-aware technology in education start appearing, and I look forward to seeing some really innovate uses.