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The world can be your classroom

Classrooms are wherever we wish them to be; technology can come along for the ride.

There are few educational institutions like the school trip: The flurry of preparation, from permission slips (are you using Firefly’s forms to parents?) or curating the dreaded ‘to do’ and ‘to pack’ lists, through to developing an excursion that inspires with educational clout.

Like technology, school trips are evolving – and as ever, teachers are going above and beyond.

Take language trips, if a short flight away it’s now par for the course that a school will organise a country visit. This could take the shape of an exchange programme, lessons abroad or a cultural tour. Whichever approach, it’s an opportunity for students to gain real immersion in native customs, culture and chatter. Yet, in the context of a school year these experiences are fleeting and, sadly, in danger of being forgotten.

How can tech help?

There’s a balancing act in creating authentic out of the classroom (and country) experiences, but keeping teaching and learning at the fore. One option is for students to create an e-portfolio, which can include videos, audio, photos and blogs, organised in a way that best captures their own experience. A teacher can weave in learning objectives, such as by using a template or providing criteria that students should report on.

After which, teachers can choose to share student work with parents. Once back in the classroom, such content could be used for presentations, future projects (e.g. write a news report of the trip) or to inspire subsequent year groups.

Like teaching and learning, trips will have the most impact if tailored to our classes’ needs. As an example – and thanks to their inspiration for this article – Spark Spanish in Southern Spain, work with schools to build bespoke educational tours, from classes to city tours and activities – balancing culture, with language learning to level desired.

Whether it’s a trip to the local museum or a week in the Iberian Peninsula, it’s increasingly likely your students will have technology to hand – so let’s get them using it to learn, share and capture their experiences to make them totally unforgettable.

Spark are kindly offering a discount to all Firefly schools taking their first trip with them

Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.
Paul Theroux Travel writer

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