Social-Driven Location Sharing in Education

Master Thesis
Jürgen Dorn
In this thesis it is evaluated how location-based information combined with digital badges can support formal learning processes. A prototypical information system for the knowledge management courses will be developed to evaluate these concepts.
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In the last decade there has been a huge growth of using Location-Based Social Networks (LBSN) in everyday lives. These applications allow users to ’Check-In’ at different places such as restaurants, bars and historical places, sharing their location with their friends on social networks. Some examples of such applications are Facebook Places, Foursquare+Swarm, google, Gowalla and Loopt. It is believed that Location-Based Social Networks can be a huge benefit in education, since the majority of users are college and university students. These social networks bring students and educators together. This is done through the collaboration, the ability to share innovative ideas, discussing different topics in groups, giving tips and recommendations, blogging and online learning. In this thesis it shall be investigated how Location-Based Social Networks can be used in higher educational environments such as university campus. The first challenge of this work deals with analyzing different LBSNs, extracting the nature, features and concerns of such systems. This is done through a brief literature study on this topic and approaches which already exist in this area. It is determined how these social networks have been used or implemented for the purpose of learning in different fields. The second challenge is to demonstrate how using a LBSN application on mobile phone would benefit various users in this domain and how it can motivate the entire stakeholder to implement, invest, and use such an application. It is discussed how this method along with gaming aspect of social networks, to compare with traditional learning methods, would higher students motivation and can influence their participation in learning environments. It is considered how awarding users with digital badges in social networks will make it possible to evaluate and recognize many skills and competencies which cannot be evaluated in classical learning environments. Therefore different scenarios are presented as use cases of adopting a LBSN for a lecture or exercise class at a university. Furthermore it is discussed if applying an already existing application would be sufficient for implementation of mentioned scenarios. The later chapters of this thesis deal with providing a prototypical design of a LBSN application for mobile phones, including declaration of requirements, features, locations, possible badges and the data model of the application. The proposed prototypical design is then implemented for a case scenario to show how the prototype works.