How to: Biebigheiser Collection trip on Gowalla, and more

Want to learn how to take ZSR Library’s Biebigheiser Collection trip on Gowalla? How location-based applications can be used in your classroom? Check out the videos below!

Tour ZSR Library’s Biebigheiser Collection on Gowalla from Gretchen Edwards on Vimeo.

Gretchen explains how to explore ZSR Library’s Biebigheiser Collection while using the location-based application Gowalla. Gowalla is available for download at or through your iPhone, Blackberry, Andriod, Palm, or iPad.

Why Gowalla works in the university setting from Gretchen Edwards on Vimeo.

Gretchen explains why Gowalla works best in the university setting as a part of her “Location-Based Applications: Creating a Community Beyond the Map” presentation at the 2011 Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Location-Based Applications: Creating a Community Beyond the Map from Gretchen Edwards on Vimeo.

Gretchen Edwards presents “Location-Based Applications: Creating a Community Beyond the Map” at the 2011 Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching in Greensboro, North Carolina.

LILLY 2011: Gretchen presents!

Duh duh da da: 5:30 p.m. finally arrived! I had the good fortune of an empty room during the time slot before my presentation. I took advantage of this by setting up my computer, placing the handout on the chairs, and doing a brief run through of “Location-Based Apps: Creating a Community Beyond the Map.”

Luckily the room was small, too. I was in earlier sessions where the rooms were just far too large, creating a distracting environment.

Seven people total showed up for the talk. I’m satisfied with this number–it was the last session of the day, with eleven sessions total for attendees to choose from. One gentleman told me he took a nap during the 4:00 p.m. session so he could make it to mine! It’s kind of like LBA users, we’re a small but mighty bunch=) It also facilitated group discussion throughout. Overall, I’m pleased with how the presentation went. People were asking questions, which I interpret to mean they were paying attention. And no one got up and left in the middle of the talk, something I saw happen throughout the conference.

To increase the level of professional development associated with this presentation, I Flip videoed myself giving it. I did this by using the Gorillapod and attaching it to a random coat shelf in the corner. While not perfect, it’s decent footage that I have now reviewed, and synced with the Prezi and supporting media. I think it turned out quite nice.

The video is currently exporting from Adobe Premier (a process that will take about 10 hours), and I hope to have it posted tomorrow. I plan to post several videos:

  • one comprehensive 23 minute video with all the talking points of the presentation,

(and because I do not expect anyone to watch a 23 minute video…)

  • short 3 – 5 minute clips covering particular pieces, such as how to use the Biebigheiser trip on Gowalla. This way, I could send that video out to the Traditions Council, and some other interested parties, to encourage usage.

I’ll post the videos to Vimeo because the site only restricts size of videos, not time limits (like YouTube.) It will be tough to stay under the weekly 500 MB limit alloted for free accounts, but I think I can get it all in this week based on current numbers.

I like to put myself through these video exercises so that I’m prepared to assist faculty in similar projects. To create this video, I used Adobe Premier for the first time, and now feel adept at using the software. Besides, it can’t hurt to have an actual video of a conference presentation in my portfolio. (Though, I suppose that’s actually up to the viewer…)

I’ll embed the videos here when they’re all finished, so keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Emerging Technologies Talk: Location-Based Applications

“Have you been hearing the buzz about location-based applications such as Gowalla, Facebook Places, or Foursquare, but unsure of how to best utilize them? Learn about the services location-based applications provide and how to take advantage of them in the university setting. We will engage in trying out some of the applications, as well as seeing how they can foster connectedness within the campus community. After the presentation we will have time to experiment with the different applications.”

This morning I gave an Emerging Technologies Talk on Location-Based Applications. Around 25 people attended, the audience participated, and I received positive feedback afterward. Attendees commented it was “very informative,” and others held back to ask additional questions! Best of all, most seemed likely to try out an application after leaving.

View the TechTalk visual aid:

Sources and links addressed during the presentation:

Watch the self-critique:

If you would like more information on Location-Based Applications, consultation on how to best use them in your classroom, workplace, or general environment, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would enjoy helping you develop and implement your idea.

Update: Video station and Gowalla Contest

During Wake The Library, one of the many ways ZSR Library helps students succeed during finals week here at Wake Forest, I tried out two experimental ideas, the video station and the “Explore with Gowalla” Golden Ticket Contest. Each project was a small-scale attempt to increase collaboration on campus and to determine if students would be receptive to these ideas on a larger scale. Based on student participation, I would call them both a success!

The Video Station aimed to

  1. provide a constructive and fun outlet for students to share their thoughts about finals week
  2. allow students to show their support for Wake The Library
  3. increase video awareness on campus

Students created over 15 videos, non of inappropriate content, and the feedback has been positive. Wake Forest students are willing to create video, and are creative to boot!

The “Explore with Gowalla” Golden Ticket contest aimed to

  1. introduce students to, and test their interest in using, location-based applications
  2. showcase some of the resources ZSR Library offers using a new medium
  3. increase awareness about location-based applications on campus

A small incentive of a golden ticket to cut the midnight snack line, which normally stretches over 300 students long, was offered as a prize. Since a different midnight snack is given out each of the five nights during exam week, there were five opportunities for five different students to win — one ticket for each night. A student could not win more than one. Each opportunity involved using a different feature of Gowalla: becoming friends, completing a trip, checking in the most, adding a photo, or adding a comment. Advertisement for the contest was only through flyers in the library and our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Wake The Library: “Explore with Gowalla” Contest Winner from Gretchen Edwards on Vimeo.

Though I would call the contest a success because it achieved its goals, student participation was not as high as with the video station. Only three students won a ticket, out of the possible five. However, I did notice more activity on our Gowalla account — more friends and check ins. These discrepancies in activity could be attributed to a few factors. Student must have a smartphone to use Gowalla when mobile, while the video station is in a central library location and already set up for use. Also, it is possible students would have needed more support using the location-based application, whereas they already feel comfortable recording a YouTube video via a webcam. Or, perhaps a pass to the skip the midnight snack line is not enough of an incentive for students to try out Gowalla.

Nevertheless, both projects achieved their goals, and were a small way to add some fun to exam week, all while increasing collaboration among students. I look forward to implementing a form of these projects on a larger scale around campus next semester.

Students: Want to skip the midnight WTL snack line?

Everyone loves free food. But no one likes standing in line.

Want your free midnight WTL snack without the wait? Win a “golden ticket” to skip the line by going out with Gowalla.

ZSR is holding a contest for up to five students to each win a “golden ticket” to skip to the front of the WTL midnight snack line. Students can win one of the five golden tickets five different ways, all by using the location-based application Gowalla. Gowalla is compatible with the majority of smartphones, as well as the iPad. Students are limited to winning one golden ticket.

The golden tickets will be awarded to:

  • First student to become friends with ZSR Library on Gowalla.
  • First student to complete the “Explore ZSR” Gowalla trip, which can be viewed on the web here.
  • Student with most check ins to ZSR Library by noon on Thursday December 9th.
  • Fifth student to add a photo to any of the ZSR “spots.”
  • Fourth student to add a comment to any of the ZSR “spots.”

There are multiple ways to play. Sign up for Gowalla on the web, download the app onto your smartphone or iPad, and peruse the site a bit. Start exploring by adding Explore ZSR Library to your Trips queue. And be sure to take advantage of all the added features, such as Notes, with the app’s newest version, Gowalla 3.

Find serendipity with Serendipitor!

It’s no secret I’m into learning more about and applying location-based applications in the University setting. Gowalla, which I’ve written about, still captivates me due to its compatibility with Blackberry, iPhone, Droid, and even Palm, as well as its Trip feature. However, Serendipitor offers a whole new play on the location-based concept.

Developed by University at Buffalo professor Mark Shephard, Serendipitor aims to add more to the urbanite’s normal routine. Because people no longer have to worry about how to get from point A to point B (thank you Google Maps), Serendipitor encourages folks to enrich their experience along the way. Using Serendipitor is simple: (1) Download the app on the iPhone, (2) enter the start and end points, and (3) decide the route’s directness. If the user has a lot of time, he can take an “off-the-beaten-path” approach. If he doesn’t, he can go just an extra two blocks or so out of the way. While on the route, the user is prompted with ideas for new activities or places to stop. Serendipitor encourages humans to get lost a little bit — to actually stop and smell the roses.

Serendipitor from mark shepard on Vimeo.

While I take issue with the app only being offered for the iPhone, and reviewers speak of lots of bugs, I think Professor Shepard is on to something. Location-based apps offer a way for us to interact with our environment in a whole new way, with this added layer of fun and discovery. Art courses may be able to benefit, as it could inspire students to look at their surroundings differently. Or in Sociology a student could study people’s reactions to those using the app.

For instance, I tried the app on the iPad for a new route between ZSR and Benson. It suggested I take Gulley Drive, and after a few steps, sit in the shade and take a photo of something inspiring. How nice. However, the “grain of salt” principle definitely applies to this app. The next step was to ask a person for directions to a payphone, and to call a friend and ask them where to go. I don’t know of any payphones on our campus, or anyone to call who would entertain the thought of answering that question seriously.

Regardless, Serendipitor offers a new perspective for location-based applications. And it would be a great way to start that digital diet — get away from the screen and go enhance your normal routine!


Recently I raved about the Gorillapod, which obviously evokes gorillas. Then today I learned about Gowalla through a knowledgeable Chronicle ProfHacker post. Gowalla went with kangaroos, as seen in the company’s Twitter picture. Twitter, of course, has claimed the bird. What is it about likening your technology to an animal’s identity these days?

I digress, as animal identity has absolutely nothing to do with today’s post. Today’s post focuses on Gowalla. At the start of the academic year I mentioned location-based apps with University of Kentucky’s use of Facebook Places. While exploring the feasibility of Foursquare in ZSR Library I hit a roadblock. To offer incentives, known as “specials,” for students to check in when inside ZSR, I needed to claim the library as a business. Foursquare has not made that process easy; I am still waiting–weeks later–for the company to approve my request.

Enter Gowalla. Besides just checking in, users earn pins, add places to their passport, swap and drop off items, and even create trips! As the company puts it, “Gowalla is about going new places, doing remarkable things and meeting great people along the way.” Universities are participating by making campus tours through the trip feature. The idea is for prospective and current students to enjoy a more interactive and community-based experience while on campus.

ZSR Library would lend itself well to the trip function. I envision a library tour where students learn more about resources available to them, as well as the history behind the University and ZSR Library. Classroom time spent learning the location of particular sources in the library would become more valuable through an interactive Gowalla trip. Faculty could make the trip ahead of time, and students could go on a scavenger hunt through ZSR Library, checking in along the way. Gowalla works on the iPad, so if students did not have a smart phone, they could borrow an iPad. I would be curious to see what other uses faculty, staff and students find for Gowalla.

Watch and learn about Gowalla here.

UK tries new Facebook tactic

The University of Kentucky has over 105,000 fans on Facebook. To put that figure in perspective I checked up on a few other institutions that immediately came to mind. Harvard has over 72,000; Auburn over 76,000; Washington & Lee over 3,200, and our Mother So Dear (or Wake Forest University, for non-alums) over 9,300.

How did UK accumulate so many “Likes”? Well, it probably has something to do with the school’s off-the-wall marketing. The university has installed two large structures shaped like the Facebook Places pointers on campus. These visuals remind students to check into the online application. The hope is that their friends-particularly those in high school who fall into the prospective student category-see the connection to UK. This in turn increases overall publicity about the school, and maybe even applications for admission.

It’s an interesting concept, though those looking to jump on the bandwagon should be cautious. According to a recent Forrester report just 4% of U.S. adults have ever used a geolocation check-in service and only 1% of those that do, do so more than once a week. But on the flip side, these users are known as “influentials.” And 38% of them are more likely to have friends and family ask for advice before buying. So these users opinions and how they share them could have substantial effects.

What do you think of such a feature on a college campus? Is UK merely playing into a fad? Or trying out a neat idea? No matter the consensus, I definitely don’t see Wake Forest placing such ostentatious arrows in front of Wait Chapel any time soon…