In a previous post, I discussed the development QR Quest, an iOS app that encourages PSCC students to explore the many offices and services available at the college. That app, built as part of an internal Mobile Fellows grant, uses QR codes to track students' progress as they solve clues leading them to specific locations on campus. I originally intended to use iBeacons instead of QR codes, but I was unable to order the required number of beacons in time to launch the app. Fortunately, I was able to purchase 10 iBeacons from Radius Networks at the end of the fall semester, which I used to create a new app called Beacon Quest. The new app features a totally new UI, and is also the first app I’ve built using Swift, Apple’s new programming language launched at WWDC 2014.

The initial screen displays a series of clues and uses checkmark icons to show which clues have been completed. Tapping a clue loads a detail view, which shows the clue text along with the user’s proximity to the selected destination. A green ring indicates that the participant is not near the clue destination, a single red ring indicates the destination is near, and an inner red circle is used to show the participant is very close to the destination.

Beacon-Quest-001.jpegIf the app detects a destination is near or close, the camera icon activates, allowing the participant to take a picture of the location. Once students photograph themselves at the destination, the image placeholder icon is replaced with a thumbnail of the captured image and the clue is marked as complete.

Beacon-Quest-002.jpegAt the end of the scavenger hunt, participants submit their progress to earn extra credit from their instructor. Tapping the submit button on the clue list screen generates an email with a summary of the destinations discovered and attaches the accompanying photographs. Once the email is successfully send to the instructor, the submit button is disabled.


We have just started the first round of scavenger hunts, so stay tuned for a future post on student reactions and lessons learned during the development of the app. So far, the feedback seems very positive! In March, Mark Fuentes (accounting professor at PSCC) and I will be presenting a session on the project at the Innovations Conference in Boston. I will post the materials from that presentation on the blog after the event.