Mobile Technology Brings Student Travel into the 21st Century

Share Article

Smart phones and mobile gaming platforms combine fun with real educational value

SCVNGR is a great way for students to interact and become immersed in the experience, said Amy Westby, WorldStrides’ Director of Education. It combines gaming technology and education in a way that brings authentic, collaborative engagement to learning.

Today's students are digital natives—the most connected generation in history. Yet most student travel programs are stuck in the 20th century. Paper handouts and lectures, delivered while staring at monuments, are still the norm. WorldStrides is changing the paradigm and bringing student travel into the 21st century by incorporating smart phones and SCVNGR, the social game all about going places, doing challenges, and earning rewards.

"Students are sharing news, updates, photos, and videos with their friends every day," said Jim Hall, CEO of WorldStrides, the largest accredited student travel organization in the U.S. "We want them to be able to share the experiences they enjoy when traveling, as well."

WorldStrides recently partnered with SCVNGR to design an interactive, location-based game that students could play using their smartphones when they visited key sites on educational field trips. WorldStrides’ travelers use SCVNGR to ask and answer questions about the monuments, historical sites, and places of interest they visit on their trips. At the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., for instance, students acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and use SCVNGR to learn about Bayard Rustin, an activist and accomplished tenor who uplifted his own civil rights team by singing negro spirituals. After listening to the spirituals streamed to their phones, students are challenged to create and upload their own lyrics that are meaningful to them and motivating to their group.

"SCVNGR is a great way for students to interact and become immersed in the experience," said Amy Westby, WorldStrides’ Director of Education. “It combines gaming technology and education in a way that brings authentic, collaborative engagement to learning.”

“WorldStrides recognizes that learning should be interactive and fun,” said Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja at SCVNGR. “Having their students use SCVNGR to engage with the places they’re visiting is an innovative way to create an experience that’s truly memorable.”

The New 3 E’s of Education: Enabled, Engaged, and Empowered – How Today’s Students are Leveraging Emerging Technologies for Learning*

•In 2005, half of the 6th graders said they had a cell phone. Today, that statistic still holds true plus an additional one-third say they now have a smart phone.
•Almost 73 percent of 6th graders have an MP3 player today – compared to one-third in 2005.
•Half of all 6th graders take tests online today and three times as many have taken an online class as in 2005.
•25 percent of today’s 6th graders are already using an e-textbook.

*Source: Project Tomorrow report, April 2011

The interaction and interface with technology provided on WorldStrides’ educational trips are designed to align with the future trends of young people. Technology-enabled feedback on what students hear, understand, and retain helps WorldStrides assess the educational merit of their trips using information gathered in real time.

“You can’t expect students to come off the euphoria of the trip and then reflect on it three or four weeks later,” said Westby. “We want to use SCVNGR to engage with the students there and then to capture their thoughts and ideas.”

Jim Hall points out the benefits of mobile technology in the areas of logistics and safety: “WorldStrides has developed an unblemished reputation for safe student travel and mobile technology helps to enhance it. Mobile devices can help route tours around a traffic jam in Washington, D.C., for instance. And the ability to instantly account for students using the global positioning system (GPS) functionality in smart phones is an obvious benefit to our customers.”

For more information and to see what WorldStrides student travelers are sharing, go to, or follow WorldStrides on Facebook at

SCVNGR is a game. Playing is simple: Go places. Have fun and share with your friends. Check-in, snap pics, do the social check-in or try a challenge! Everywhere you go, you'll earn points and start unlocking real-world rewards at over 12,000 locations (think free ice cream!). SCVNGR makes it easy to share where you are and what you're up to with your friends on SCVNGR, Facebook and Twitter. Start playing SCVNGR by downloading our free iPhone & Android app. SCVNGR is funded by Google Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Balderton Capital. Visit to learn more.

About WorldStrides
WorldStrides has inspired more than four million students through interactive and educational travel experiences across the U.S. and worldwide. Founded 45 years ago by a Chicago school teacher, WorldStrides became the first organization of its kind to be accredited as a travel study school. WorldStrides has grown to a team of more than 400 professionals dedicated to delivering life-changing experiences and improving the way students learn. Go to for more information.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Wayne Williams
Visit website