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Send your class on a media scavenger hunt

January 27, 2014

Many of you have probably participated in a scavenger hunt at some point – perhaps in a youth group or at a summer camp. The basic idea is that groups of people are given a list of obscure items and a fixed amount of time to find or create as many as they can.  On some campuses, the annual scavenger hunt is a major social activity; on others it is part of new student orientation. Businesses use them in team-building and chambers of commerce use them to promote tourism.

In modern scavenger hunts, items are often expressed as a photo to be captured on a phone. Because hunters don’t have to bring something back, thousands of new possibilities have opened up. The goal doesn’t even have to be an object; it can be an activity submitted as a video. Not surprisingly, several mobile apps are available to manage this activity (see Scvngr below); enter the items you find and the app tells you how you stack up against other teams.

Course activity

A scavenger hunt can also be used as a class activity or project where students capture media for an academic purpose. I don’t mean an Internet scavenger hunt where the object is to find information on web pages. Instead, students have to leave the classroom and use phones, tablets, cameras, or recorders to gather images, sound, and video. There are several contexts where this could be effective, including:

  • Building team cohesion before a major project,
  • Demonstrating mastery of concepts learned in class, or
  • Checking technical skills before a media-based assignment.

As you begin organizing, you’ll have to decide how to score the hunt (see “Scoring/grading”). Then you’ll need a list of tasks (sample below) that involve capturing images, sounds, or videos.

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Next, decide where students will store the media they capture and how you will find it. The students can save their items on institutional file space or upload them to media sharing sites, like YouTube and Flickr. You can ask students to put items in a shared group folder on your network or in Box. They could even be submitted as assignments in Sakai or another CMS. However, I think the cleverest way would be to create a blog for each group and have students upload items to a new blog post as soon as they are captured.

Scoring / Grading

Grades for this activity are based on reaching a certain minimum score. The score can derive from quantity alone (the number of items captured) or you can choose to account for difficulty, awarding more points for items that are more challenging. You may also want to give out bonus points based on one or more of these criteria:

  • Speed – the first team to post an item
  • Accuracy – e.g., how well the item demonstrates a physics principle
  • Creativity – meeting a requirement in an unexpected, divergent, or surprising way
  • Originality  –  meeting the requirement differently from everyone else
  • Quality – sharpness, good lighting, low background noise …
  • Technique – a unique angle, approach, or type of shot – perhaps one not covered in class

As items come in, you can tally them in a spreadsheet. If students are submitting items as Sakai assignments, as you score them the group’s total will appear in the gradebook.

Get ideas from famous scavenger hunts

Explore helpful materials

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 16, 2015 1:57 pm

    Reblogged this on An Amusement Park of Instructional Technology!.

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