4squarEd: Foursquare for Teaching and Learning?

I was interested to see that foursquare was has partnered with 20 US Universities to launch Foursquare For Universities. From Foursquare’s site:

Foursquare for universities helps students, alumni, and staff connect with each other, find new and interesting things to do, and earn rewards for exploring their campus and nearby areas. We combine a communication platform and a campus guidebook to create a fun experience for our users; students earn points, win ‘Mayorships’ and unlock badges for checking in to places and trying out new activities on campus.

Some big names in higher-ed have already climbed on board (Harvard, Stanford, Syracuse…). Others are sure to follow. This partnership makes good sense. An institution can create a page on the service, broadcast information, make recommendations, etc. Students can share tips on campus services and events. On-campus hospitality and entertainment venues can promote themselves.

But, what I’m interested in here goes beyond the gimmicky location-aware check-in and broadcasting what a user is eating for lunch. Higher-ed institutions need to think about how they can build upon the social-grid that service like foursquare are helping to foster to build a learning-grid where students and instructors can share in an easy, social, “knowledge-aware” way. It should be fun too.

Here’s my pitch: “Foursquare for Teaching and Learning” (or maybe you prefer “Foursquare for Education”) YES! 4squarEd. Here’s the script to the not-yet-created-and-maybe-never-will-be promo video:

Wish you were more aware of all the incredible learning experiences around you? With 4squarEd, you can unlock your learning and find happiness. You will need 4squarEd, a mobile device, and a passion for education.

Step 1: Download the 4squarEd application to your mobile device, and instantly connect with your library account, your institutional LMS, your ePortfolio, your social networks, registrarial services and more! Connect with your classmates and other learners within and outside of your institution to see what they’re learning. Build your Personal Learning Network (PLN).

Step 2: Tell your friends what you’re studying, what you’re learning and what you want to learn by checking in to one of the learning activities you’re institution’s 4squarEd lists, based on your current courses. Leave tips and resources for other learners. If the learning activity isn’t listed, you can add it to 4squarEd.

Step 3: Check out tips from your friends in your PLN and others outside it. Find recommendations for resources and suggestions for other activities.

Step 4: The more you use 4squarEd the more you’ll get out of it. Capture your activities, unlock learning objectives and earn points towards competencies based on what you’re learning. Check out stats at 4squarEd!

Step 5: Check-in frequently to become a mentor for a learning activity or competency.

Step 6: Use 4squarEd wherever you go: in museums, on your co-op placement, with your extra-curricular club or while you’re volunteering. You never know when you’ll come upon a little piece of learning!

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “4squarEd: Foursquare for Teaching and Learning?

  1. Hi Kyle,
    I spotted you original tweet on this topic (it’s s_palm here).
    There’d been some discussion at our place (Deakin University in Australia) about the possibility of rewarding students in some way if they became the 4square ‘mayor’ for various T&L spaces around the university.
    In addition, Macquarie University (also from Aus) used 4square to provide information about activities around their campus on their recent open day.
    There does seem to be some opportunities for pressing 4square into teaching and learning uses.

  2. Thanks Stuart,

    I’m not sold on the “4square” application, but I think that education can learn from it’s development and success. D2L has a “competencies” tool that is in much need of a re-build. I wonder if it could be more game-like.

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