Want an easy way to make a fun, team-based, interactive learning activity for your course? Use the free version of the SCVNGR app (or another app such as Goosechase, Klikaklu, Xplorio, or Huntzz) to make a “serious” scavenger hunt!
About the SCVNGR app
The SCVNGR app is a location-based app, meaning that when you set up challenges within it, students must be physically present at that location in order to complete them. However, students don’t have to complete the hunt at the same time, so you could make it an activity they can complete outside of class. Both Android and iOS smartphones are supported, as well as SMS-enabled phones! Since each team only needs one device, you shouldn’t have a problem with anyone being left out. Also, student inputs can be an exact word or phrase, a photo (with or without caption), an open text response, or a QR code scan. In addition, instructors themselves can attach a variety of media to their challenges, such as images and video.
Instructors can sign up for a free account to build hunts at scvngr.com. Just watch their quick video tutorial that will show you how to build a hunt in no time. The “free” version is limited to 5 active challenges, but you can build as many as you want in advance and then just deactivate some in order to free up others.
Ideas for Scavengers Hunts in Higher Education
The hardest thing about putting a hunt together is coming up with an idea, particularly if you want real learning to occur. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
New student orientation: students have to run around campus visiting key resources and/or performing tasks (find financial aid office, check out a book from the library, sign up for a tutoring session at the tutor center, etc.)
Icebreakers: find people with specific criteria (name or photo of someone who has lived in more than 3 US states)
Orientation to specific resources: Library – where to check out books, how to find a book, how to use printer, etc
Location-based learning: Volcanology – visit Alaska Volcano observatory and take picture evidence or answer questions about specific topics they should learn about, Art History – visit a museum and find specific artwork that represents a particular era, technique, etc, French – limit students to one area (e.g., the student union) and have them find influences of French language and culture in our everyday lives (i.e., French food, words, inventions). Note that all of these “field trip” ideas could be done outside of class time, so you could just require that they get it done by a certain date!
Student-created: Group students into teams and have them create review hunts for other classmates
- Problem / Solution hunt: Accessibility: take pictures of potential accessibility problem areas (e.g., high curb, poor signage, cracked sidewalk) along with recommended solutions; Sustainability (engineering): identify (preferably with photo evidence) potential wasteful areas (e.g., heat loss, water loss) and how they could be improved, Workflow (architecture): identify workflow problem areas (e.g., bottlenecks in pedestrian traffic)
Even More Ideas
If you’d like to set up a consultation to brainstorm ideas for a learning scavenger hunt for your course at UAA, just contact us at Academic Innovations. Or come to Serious Fun, a one-day conference with your peers to discuss and learn about games and gamification in education.