Schools ‘toughest venues to navigate’

by Brett Henebery16 Feb 2017


New research has revealed that schools and universities are the toughest venues for students to navigate – more so than entertainment venues and shopping centres – and this can lead to stress and anxiety.

The research – compiled by leading location cloud company HERE – surveyed 1,000 Australians to collate the most confusing venues to navigate, the biggest navigational frustrations, and the most common consequences of becoming lost.

HERE APAC director, Brent Stafford, told The Educator that for students starting at a new school, learning to navigate an unfamiliar, disorienting campus can be a frustrating challenge.

“What’s worse is that this confusion is compounded by the fact that being lost actually leads to 72% of young people feeling stressed or anxious,” he said, referring to the report’s findings.

“At a time that's nerve wracking enough for new students, getting lost is an experience that learning institutions are now actively try to eliminate. Another repercussion learning institutions are looking to overcome is the disruption to classes caused by students and teachers arriving late.”

Stafford said that combining public transport, location information and class schedules in the future could enable some innovative ways to notify students about when they need to leave to make their class on time.

However, he pointed out that as Australian cities become more populated, with new infrastructure being developed to cater to new residents, learning institutions aren’t immune to the increasingly congested world.

“To combat this, what we need to do is be smarter about the spaces we have and use them more efficiently, with technology and systems that can make facilities more connected and easy to navigate,” he said.

He suggested that schools change this “common bugbear” by offering solutions like 3D maps that eliminate the confusion and instead, offer clear, step by step directions.

“We're all used to technology guiding us in our cars so why shouldn't we get the same turn-by-turn directions when we're walking around large venues,” he said.

Recognising this, Deakin University recently partnered with digital map specialists HERE and app developers MetroView to create Campus Compass – an innovative app aimed at improving navigation across the university’s four campuses.

Campus Compass is the first app of its kind that can map students from their home to the classroom door, connecting with real-time public transport and road maps so there’s never an excuse to be late to class.

Deakin University IT systems manager, Michael Hewett, said that as a leading university, Deakin was eager to be at the “forefront of digital adoption” and rolling out innovative tools throughout its networks.

“The Campus Compass app has been a great part of our shift to become more technologically-adoptive and advanced,” Hewett said.

Hewett added that Campus Compass has been “a great success” so far, with over 13,000 students downloading the app to help them navigate their campus with ease.

“We already have plans to roll out new features in future iterations of the software, such as class start and travel time notifications, live parking availability and emergency warning systems for richer and more seamless journeys,” he said.

 

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