Gowalla in Higher Education

Recently I blogged about Foursquare in Higher Education , which turned out to be a hot topic among educators. Many people enjoy the ideas associated with how to utilize location based application in higher education and how they might benefit the student experience.

One of the comments on my blog asked about the benefits of Gowalla and it’s continued growth in the higher ed market.

Gowalla was developed in 2008 and gained steamed after the success of Foursquare at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi). Gowalla won the 2010 SXSWi Mobile category. Gowalla  is one of several new location-based social networking apps that allow users to broadcast where they are at a given time. User generally access Gowalla through wireless devices, such as iPhone and Androids. Gowalla had about 600,000 registered user in November 2010 .

User check into a location via Gowalla share the location with friends, including on other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In December 2010, Gowalla released version 3.0 for the iPhone 4, allowing Gowalla users to check in using Foursquare, Facebook Places, Twitter and Tumblr, or view friends’ check-ins from other services. Users can review information posted about the venue and receive badges for checking into a locations.

Gowalla uses terminology liked Passport, Stamps, Pins, Highlights, and Trips to talk about the location-based record as your track your experience digitally. Here is a quick Getting Started Guide.

gowalla basics

Gowalla Functions on Campus

As the use of smartphones has grown significantly in recent years, especially with the millennial generation, it becomes important to learn how to capitalize the different applications being used be the campus community. Below are a few ways students are using Foursquare.

Sharing Your Location

foursquare share locations

Users let friends know where to meet them

  • “Study group meeting in the Math Center”
  • “Just left Matador Day. Stop by to get your free t-shirt”

Learning About a Venue

User post photos and highlights.

  • Check into the gym reveals photos of the first basketball game played there.
  • “The best place to grab a cup of java on campus”

Complete Trips

gowalla trips 

Individuals or Venues may offer trips to complete

  • Tour of a particular area
  • Several cool locations to share

Virtual Items

Gowalla Virtual item

Gowalla the ability to collect virtual “items”.

  • Digital souvenirs that can be left behind or swapped when you visit a place
  • Some can even be redeemed for real-world merchandise or discounts at retailers

Why Use Gowalla on Campus?

Gowalla can be used to accomplish a number of different institutional goals but a institution using it to provide additional information to visits will focus differently then those using it to drive student engagement on campus. Below are a few reason to use Gowalla on campus.

Building Community Connections

foursquare connections

  • Encouraging students to patronize off-campus business
  • Informing community members of events on campus

Encouraging Campus Exploration

Foursquare Encourage Campus Exploration

  • Offering specials for off-the-beaten path venues with virtual items
  • Informing students of events on different parts of campus that are added to their passport but availability expires  in 12 hours

Boosting School Spirit

foursquare School Spirit

  • Providing opportunities for alumni to follow campus events
  • Sharing information about campus traditions and history

Institutions using Gowalla around the Nation

University of Florida uses Gowalla as method of having a virtual tour.

Example of one of the location on University of Florida Campus Tour:

Century Tower

Century Tower was built in 1953 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the university and was dedicated to UF students killed in World Wars I and II. In 1979, a cast-bells carillon was installed in the Century Tower. The campus enjoys the sounds of this unusual musical instrument, played daily in informal programs during class breaks and in longer recitals for special University events. Viewers of the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin, might recognize Century Tower as some scenes for the film were shot here.

Havard University – Take a stroll across Harvard Yard, and check-in at some of the historical spots

Examples of one of the location on University of Florida Campus Tour:

Statue of John Harvard

Known as the “statue of three lies” due to the incorrect inscription on the base of the monument, as Harvard was founded in 1636, and not by Mr. Harvard, whose likeness is unknown (the sculptor used a student as a reference).

Disney on Gowalla

One of the best examples of using Gowalla for marketing and customer experiences hands down is Walt Disney World in Orlando. Check out more information on this at Disney Makes a Big Bet on Geolocation with Gowalla and Disney on Gowalla.

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8 Comments on “Gowalla in Higher Education

  1. Josh,
    I just finished reading your post on Foursquare and as a new Austine was very excited to see you highlight Gowalla today. Personally, I feel like Gowalla has a better platform, nicer graphics and the experience means more than just becoming a mayor of a random location.
    I’ve actually had a blog post in draft mode for some time now ob Gowalla vs Foursqaure in higher ed and maybe now is the time to make it live…..

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Now you are doin’ it right! In my opinion in higher education there is no side by side comparison. Thanks for listening to the comments and check out gowallareport.com

  3. Thank you for this article.

    Under “Gowalla Functions on Campus”, you appear to have missed touching up one word after cut-and-paste. Rather than “Gowalla”, the test still reads, “Below are a few ways students are using Foursquare.”

  4. Great post, Josh! I think utilizing LBS in higher ed is a huge market that will emerge in the near future. It’s all about meeting students where they are and providing a platform in which they can engage with their peers as well as the institution. Looking forward to more of your blog posts.

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