Twitter and Geo-Tagging as Platforms for Academic Participation

Recently, one of my past university professors reached out and asked how he could get students in his advertising class to adopt new media as part of his classroom instruction. “Give them assignment using Twitter,” was my reply. He couldn’t have been more stoked, and I couldn’t have been quicker to answer without really thinking about what I just said.

As I later wondered how interesting a concept this was, I further began to think about how the use of micro-blogging to communicate in an academic environment was really something that students could get excited about, even if it is just an experiment. I then thought of how other forms of technology could be applied to other subjects such as my geology class. I loved to study the subject, and I would have loved to have used a mobile phone with the ability to geo-tag photos of the field trips we took every week and upload them to Flickr, and to later be able to go back and look at all the beauty we surveyed, from the desert sands to caves to the tops of mountains, all categorized and stored by location, along with annotations of other things that were observed today. Take that one step further to provide geo-utility with mobile devices also acting as SPIMES or using augmented reality to layer the same data from past trips onto mobile devices as they are used to view natural objects on trips from future classes. All of this providing a completely new and immersive experience, all just to learn about rocks, or anything else for that matter.


  1. I can certainly identify with the challenge from the professor. Here in Norway, which is one of the more advanced "Digital Nations" in Europe and the world. None of the creative teams in the senior year at our biggest (and possibly only) advertising professionals school have chosen digital. (last year only one or two people graduated and went into digital).

    I can understand that they still view digital as technology at the same time as Radio, Television or print lost that tag a long time ago. But that they don't see the richness in the communication, the endless opportunities and the difference in mindset is baffling to me. Maybe we need to do a better job at broadening their horizon when it comes to the opportunities and maturity of our part of the industry?

    Two of our best creatives are a team that we picked up from Retail, and they're doing a brilliant job - and enjoying themselves. Just proves to me that it is the preconceived idea about digital we need to work on.


  2. Thanks for the comment Helge. I agree that the preconceived idea of digital needs some clarification and guidance, primarily because I think that some of us tend to lose focus and put digital in the technology and media catagories, to your point.

    Once we can understand that the digital space is primarily seen as a communication medium, especially from a consumer standpoint, we'll begin to see more people work and create ideas in the digital space from across other industries (hopefully more with academic backgrounds :)

    I'll actually be giving a guest lecture next week to Brigham Young University's advertising program, specifically on how brands and agencies have been viewing digital, and the shifts we need to make in 2009 if we are going to get any better at what we are doing in this space.

    Thanks Helge,


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