Wednesday, 31 August 2016

7 ways to mark World Tourism Day in school

World Tourism Day 2016 celebrations will be held on Tuesday 27th September and are being hosted by Thailand. The initiative provides lots of inspiration for classroom activities and is an opportunity to highlight key messages in an enjoyable way for students, whilst also allowing teachers to cover segments of the curriculum.

"Tourism for all!"

Tourism has become such a big part of our lives, that we perhaps can take it for granted sometimes. According to the official World Tourism Day (WTD) 2016 site, there's around 1.2 billion people travelling the world. The theme of the event this year is to promote how important it is that everyone should have access to these experiences.

 "We come across new people, new sights and new ideas."

No matter what ages you work with, the day itself, this year's theme and the general topic of tourism opens up a lot of ideas to use in class. Here, we've listed seven ideas for you to mark it in school:

(With any of these ideas, you can weave 2016's theme into your activities by asking students further questions. E.g. 'How could a school trip to _______ be made more accessible?')

  1. Virtual tourism: Mystery Skype or Google Earth

    It's an excellent way to help your students learn about other countries and cultures plus share their own experience too. There are some brilliant ideas out there on the most creative ways to do this.

    Skype Education is easy to navigate around and helps you find the best match for you and your class. I’ve seen so many teachers share things about the sessions they’ve had – so if you haven’t already, give it a try! Mystery Skype is a big branch of this. Invented by teachers, the general idea is that one class has to guess the location of the other class, all through Skype! Click here for a 2016 'Mystery Skype update' by education thought leader Craig Kemp, a big fan.

    There’s also many great ideas on using Google Earth to explore the world too – whether you have desktops or tablets, there’s a way to get your students virtually touring!

  2. Organise a trip somewhere

    It's almost definitely something you've done before, and probably more hassle than a virtual trip, but it's so worth it. Seeing your students enlightened by the prospect - then reality - of visiting somewhere they’ve never been or experienced before, is wonderful.

    It can be a different continent (wow!), a different country, a different town or even a local site they’ve never been; whatever it is, starting planning now brings it that bit closer.

  3.  Have a ‘try another culture’ day

    How this works depend on a few things – your role, how big your school or class is or even the enthusiasm of colleagues. It can be a schoolwide event, or just your class, but this can be a great way for students to experience other foods, languages, customs and character.

    It could mean simply bringing in a few different types of snack-type food and your class guessing which country it originates from, or it could be students bringing in things themselves. Get a class on Skype from the country you focus on, or perhaps invite in a speaker from there! Alternatively, select a theme, such as future World Cup, Olympics or Euro hosts.

  4. Get students sharing their own experiences of tourism

    They could write a review, newspaper article, blog post (if you have a school blog) or even design a leaflet for tourists. This doesn’t mean they need to have been somewhere far away or expensive – it could be where your school is, it could be on a place they visited at the weekend or where they went on a school trip. How about somewhere that's great for catching Pok√©mon?

    You could even ask them to do it about somewhere they want to go, then they’ll have to do lots of research!
  5. Run a SOLE session

    If you haven’t heard about Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLEs), read about them here. In short, they are “when educators and/or parents encourage kids to work in groups that they form, and are free to change, to answer big, open questions by using the internet” (SOLE toolkit).

    How about making the big question something tourism related? An example could be "How can tourism be made more accessible to everyone?", "What is the best country to visit in the world?", "What defines a tourist?" or anything you think.

  6. Create your own iPad activity or get students to create one themselves
    Package and all inclusive holidays are becoming very popular in recent years
    A card from an activity that we made

    This is a brilliant way to engage students in the theme - they find it very exciting to see their own app-like activities on iPads. They can use Thinking Kit to add text and images about a topic of their choice, add a question they want to pose to other students, then the tool will transform that information into an interactive iPad activity - ready to download FREE from anywhere in the world (if they want to share their Task Code, that is).

    Alternatively, you can easily create an activity for your students. Make it a 'mystery' style activity, like 'Decline of coastal resorts' or a simple matching exercise, it's completely up to you.

    Get a 30 day free trial of the creation side at (all you need is an email address). The app side, which students use to download activities onto iPads, is always FREE. Search Thinking Kit App on the App Store or click here.
  7. Explore the official website's resources, social media pages and get involved in events and discussions

  8. If you have any ideas or have planned something already, please do comment or let us know on Twitter (@refthinking).
     The ideas in this blog post have been adapted and updated from our post in 2015.

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