Sunday, October 16, 2005

Geocaching for Freshmen

About a year ago, the library administration asked me about the possibility of setting up a geocaching exercise for incoming freshmen to familiarize themselves with the campus. I spoke with the GPS guru on campus (professor in the Earth & Environmental Sciences department) and his initial response was a no-go. His main reationale for arguing against this use of GPS was the training the students would need (and would not get) and also a fear for the equipment in the hands of 17 to 18 year olds. So the decision was made to shelve the idea.

However, I just came across this press release from the Earth and Mineral Sciences Library at Penn State: Novel treasure hunt explores Earth and Mineral Sciences Library. This is a geocaching exercise that was mostly participated by freshman. You can see now how my interest peaked as I read this press release. From the release:
"The libraries wanted to reduce anxiety and introduce freshmen to the library during orientation, " says Linda Musser, head of the Fletcher L. Byrom Earth and Mineral Sciences Library at Penn State. "This year's overall theme was sports and geocaching is a hot new sport. We wanted to have some fun."

This is something that I will bring up again with the GPS guru. This sounds like a lot of fun and that's what it's all about, right?

But how still to resolve the initial two hurdles that prohibited us in the first place? Seemed to me that the good thing going for Penn State was that this activity was not mandatory so those participating would be the most eager to learn and properly use the hardware. I bet we can teach the students the minimum they need to know within a couple of hours.

Good. My enthusiasm is reinvigorated about setting this up.

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