So it is summer. And clearly with summer comes the opportunity to put as many activities as possible into a time span of 10 weeks. Not a moment to be bored, let alone catch up on much over due posting on the TEC 2013 conference held in early May. It was a great conference held at awesome venues (Royal Roads University and Westin Bear Mountain). It was a unique opportunity to bring together tourism educators from around BC but also Alberta. I was pleasantly surprised to see a great Alberta turnout! A recap of the conference can be found here but by far my favorite presentation was done by Chuck Currie of White Spot Restaurants. Not only great content but an awesome delivery of the message.
Overall, it was worth the trip and I am looking forward to TEC 2014 hosted by Thompson Rivers University. It would be great to see some sessions on teaching case studies or dynamic/innovative classroom teaching techniques. Looking forward to seeing everyone again!
Onwards to the summer season 🙂
On my weekly search for new developments in tourism marketing I came across a home-grown idea for the upcoming summer season. Tourism Victoria has put together an ambitious and creative marketing plan including interactive phone booths in both Edmonton and Calgary. As mentioned in the article people will be able to experience Victoria along with giving people the chance to win Victoria based tourism and travel experiences Timely marketing I would say as Alberta is sitting under a fresh blanket of snow and Victoria has streets lined with Cherry Blossoms.
Not only is it a unique call-to-action marketing experience but it also leads me to wonder how can you facilitate this type of creativity in the classroom? I believe this type of marketing creativity comes from opportunities to be exposed to a large amount and variety of marketing platforms in the classroom but also in ‘real’ life. This new marketing platform for Tourism Victoria would provide a great case study for students to review. I think the level of student creativity is directly influenced by the willingness of the educator to expose students to current trends but also as an educator be open to new concepts that may not have been done before. A new fresh set of eyes may be just what is needed to create new and exciting marketing platforms!
I just came across this over the weekend and although I work in the PSE releam (post-secondary education), this was a great read on how to incorporate media into classrooms. Can definitely be modified to suit the audience and class I think!
Just a quick blurb to a great resource that I just came across: Faculty Focus. This website provides awesome variety and updated information on all things educator/classroom related.
Also had an interesting weekend that made me think about leadership roles in group settings. How does one facilitate group discussions and case studies so that all learners are able to be in a leader role? I came across an interesting article by Romy Saunders (Leadership Training in Hospitality) which again mentions the connection between industry, educators and students. It was found that students are graduating with the required skills but lack leadership experience. However, I think that finding opportunities to develop those leadership skills can be incorporated into the courses not as a class session but rather to incorporate leadership development into the entire course. As the use of technology progressively increases within the classroom setting, it may also be beneficial to remember that sometimes face to face group work and problem solving may be one of many solutions to developing leadership skills.
Just a quick thought on an absolutely gorgeous Friday afternoon. Whenever I am looking for resources either for work related knowledge or other, I tend to find myself accessing the Tourism Online Resource Centre. The resource centre is fantastic for both industry, students and educators looking for reports, background knowledge, or statistics on just about any tourism topic/area that there is. If you are ever looking for a great continually updated resource, I would suggest taking a browse through this!
The use of web conferencing to connect
The use of technology and innovation surrounds us every day. It is hard even at times to get through my first cup of tea in the morning without checking my phone for overnight emails. It is amazing to me that I have created this habit in only the past three years. It leaves me to wonder how technology will be integrated into my life 5, 10, 15 years from now. That being said, technology, specifically the internet and its capabilities, have created new forms of communication that was once thought impossible. For example, Skype, Facetime, and webcams have changed the way in which we can communicate. Long gone is the only form of communication option the telephone or a hand written note. We can now face to face converse with family, friends, colleagues, business partners, and perhaps even future employers around the world at any given time. This method of communication brings life to relationships that otherwise may have been simple business conversations or family matters. The visual appeal of webcams creates a new level of connectivity which I believe has a positive result for people around the world.
As a result of technology, I was able to have a web conference with one of my classmates, Ben. In a self-paced course with students from many different locations having this face to face time with another classmate contributed to my learning experience. Through the web conference, Ben and I were able to relate to how technology is impacting classrooms and a valid point was made regarding the funding issues surrounding institutions and their ability to keep up to the technology changes. Particularly in tourism, not having the most up-to-date programs or technology in a learning environment may mean that students are not prepared to the best they can be for the field. How to address a lack of educational funding is a long conversation, but perhaps as educators, if we can keep up to the pace of technology and evolving programs (perhaps through educator internships as mentioned in my previous post), then maybe we can stay ahead of the game.
Another item to mention as I reflect on web conferencing and learning in general is that learning takes work. As my classmate and I discussed, time management with any type of school can be a challenge. Mixing online learning and one’s life (the world outside school and work) requires a high level of commitment but it also requires remembering how to be flexible and understanding with the course and fellow learners. I think this point about flexibility and life is important to remember as educators when working in our own classrooms. Life happens to all of us, and within boundaries, we as educators should be flexible with ourselves and our students when possible in order to provide a beneficial learning experience.
Now following my thoughts on technology, tourism, and classroom trends comes a prime example of how technology can be integrated into a classroom. Well it didn’t just happen, they have been 30 years in the making but TED talks, I believe, are a key integration piece into a classroom situation.
Now combine the TED talks with some hard and dedicated work by the CTC and Tourism Vancouver (plus many others I am sure!) and you get not only a conference that showcases the beautiful west coast of BC but also brings a conference that is known around the world for spreading ideas and inspiring people. TED 2014 is booked for Vancouver which is good for tourism, destination marketing and for those who want to learn! I would recommend checking it out if you can or find your local TED talk community and/or check out the online TED talks.