One sector of the economy that has been dramatically altered by technology is the travel industry. The rise of travel sites like Expedia, Travelocity etc. has resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of travel agents and ultimately given the consumer the power and the tools to become their own booking agent. But, be that as it may, travel industry shows and travel fairs are more popular than ever and attendance figures at these events are significant.
With these facts in mind, I recently had my students investigating the rise of sustainable tourism or eco-tourism and it's importance as a growth segment within the travel industry. In determining a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and share it with one another, I decided that students would conduct their research and then create an exhibit that they would then promote at a travel fair.
The results of this approach were overwhelmingly successful. Students demonstrated a great deal of engagement in the completion of the task and relished the opportunity to showcase their work. Through peer-evaluation, they carefully analyzed each others work and concurrently learned about various sustainable tourism initiatives throughout the world. The competitive nature of having their work standing side-by-side with their classmates created a climate of healthy competition that raised the quality of their work dramatically.
My takeaway from this experience was that the creation of a meaningful learning task that allows students to demonstrate their knowledge and then apply it remains as important as ever. But the creation of an environment in which we can all learn from one another offers the greatest benefit.
How does this relate to Technology?
The ultimate reward that technology offers to education is the its ability as a communicative tool to help, inform and educate others. In designing assessments for my students in the future I will continue to seek learning opportunities that allow students to showcase their skills, expertise and knowledge to a wider audience and not just exclusively to the teacher.