Students track Rowdy Roadrunner via GPS
(Sept. 29, 2006)--Students who took the Maymester class IDS 2083 were looking for the UTSA mascot, Rowdy Roadunner, and they found him in Hawaii.
The interdisciplinary studies (IDS) course, Instructional Technology for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, focuses on a variety of teaching strategies that use technology to promote and enhance learning in the K-12 classroom.
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To support learning about geography concepts, Marybeth Green introduces students to global positioning system (GPS) devices and the sport of geocaching. Geo what? According to the Geocaching.com Web site, geocaching is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers holding trinkets with other participants in the activity.
Over the last couple of semesters, students in the IDS course voted on a destination for a Rowdy car magnet from the UTSA bookstore. The magnet is then placed in a nearby geocache with instructions to whomever finds it to help guide Rowdy to the hoped-for final destination.
Movement of the magnet can be tracked through Geocaching.com using a reference code. Each time a Rowdy is moved to a different geocache, that move is recorded by the finder at the Web site. A log and a map are available on the site showing all of the places that each Rowdy has visited. Occasionally the finder will post a picture on the Web site of Rowdy in the new location.
After the Maymester 2006 class chose to send Rowdy to Hawaii, he began his trek in a geocache in McAlister Park. A UTSA graduate who now is a first-grade teacher in San Antonio quickly picked him up.
From there, the Web site documented with the log and pictures the trips he made to Pacific University and Portland State University before returning to San Antonio to visit Trinity and Incarnate Word universities. Later, he made a quick field trip to the University of Richmond in Virginia.
When he finally arrived in Hawaii, Rowdy wasted no time heading for the beach and taking in the sights. But, not one to neglect his studies, he also made a stop at the University of Hawaii - Manoa. As of mid-summer, Rowdy was in the hands of Team GeoBlast, a team of geocachers from Hawaii, and headed from Oahu to the Big Island of Hawaii to leave his footprints on a black sand beach.
The Spring 2006 IDS 2083 class also joined in the geocaching fun. The class chose to send their Rowdy to Alaska. He was left in a geocache on DeZavala Road and was picked up by UTSA philosophy instructor Joseph Rogers.
While not making it to Alaska, Rowdy has traveled far beyond his wildest dreams. Rogers took Rowdy to South Carolina and placed him in a geocache at Sumter's Cypress Trail in South Carolina. From there, this Rowdy traveled around South Carolina and headed to Alabama.
The fall IDS 2083.901 class voted to send their Rowdy to Las Vegas. This Rowdy was placed in a geocache with four quarters so that he will be able to play the slots when he arrived in Las Vegas. Australia was the destination for the fall IDS 2083.001 class Rowdy. This Rowdy was placed in a geocache on campus.
To track the future travels of these Rowdys, go to Geocaching.com. The reference code for the fall .001 Rowdy is TBZNP5. The reference code for the fall .901 Rowdy is TBYYTZ.
Click on the "Track the Travel Bug" button on the navigation bar of the Web site's home page. When the reference code is entered in the Travel Bug Look-up, the site will link to a log of that Rowdy's activity.