Real Life Stories
Teaching in Tourism…Live from Kenya and South Africa!
In December 2015, I presented you with a Real Life Story that transported you to Japan. I am doing it again this month of November 2016, only this time I am leading you towards Kenya and South Africa. I have the opportunity to work both as a teacher in the Tourism Techniques at Collège LaSalle and as a consultant and travel agent of customized trips in an agency that I created. Animal safari trips are one of our specialities.
In this Real Life Story, I will describe the experience that I had with my students, while I was in Africa. I had a double mission:
- The first mission was to attend the 6th edition of the Magical Kenya Travel Expo in Nairobi, an event that covers all of Eastern and Southern Africa. I was able to collect material and put together a class about business events (such as tourism trade shows, conferences and networking events) to enrich the content of the course Creation of Group Packages and Events in the program of the Diploma of College Studies (DCS or DEC in French) in the Tourism Techniques, while teaching this same course.
- The second mission was to give classes live from Kenya and South Africa for the course Planning Packages, in the Attestation of College Studies (ACS or AEC in French) to become a travel agent as well as the DCS course Cultural and Tourist Attractions of Asia and the South Pacific.
The sign for the Travel Expo in Kenya.
On the border of Ecuador with some friends.
A Bushman at the Travel Expo in Kenya.
I had already experienced the hybrid teaching method the previous year and the students really appreciated it. The opportunity was given to me to continue the adventure in the vast continent of Africa. For me, it prepares students for the reality of the organisation of:
- International package trips
- Corporate events
Videoconference Live from Africa
It goes with saying that technology and safaris are not very compatible! I was however rather certain that the project (the first part of my mission) would arouse interest in the students and provide some meaning (and punch) to the content being taught later on. When I carried out my trip to Japan, I had rented a portable internet system and I was able to make do with it in various different situations. In Africa, the situation proved to be more complicated. At times, there was no internet network, which made using the portable system useless. Nevertheless, during classes offered live by distance, I got myself to a city, in a more favourable environment with an internet connection.
I had prepared the students for the use of the platform Adobe Connect. I had done some tests with them during the 2 classes preceding my departure, and these were done using their own devices. I had also prepared a PowerPoint. This is pertinent for them, as it is a platform that is widely used in the industry.
During the safari, the first part of my trip, I was able to record videos with my GoPro and take photos with my smart phone. I then put together a video using iMovie and GoPro. This material will benefit students in the Creation of Group Packages and Events course, but will also serve in the future for those taking the Cultural and Tourist Attractions of the Middle East and Africa course.
At sunset, with a family of giraffes in the background.
The information collected will allow me to present different aspects I experienced that are particular to the African context, while making connections to the tourism industry. The negotiation process is very peculiar!
For example, everything that has to do with:
- Organisation of the logistics of an animal safari
- An authentic cultural trip pertaining to diverse ethnic minorities
- Climbing of some summits
In the Creation of Group Packages and Events course, students must develop competencies to be able to realise business events and networking with business clienteles. In a different cultural context, one must be sensitive to protocols and there are a lot in Africa!
There is a 7-hour time difference between us and Kenya and a 6-hour difference with South Africa, which meant I had to give the course in the middle of the afternoon. I was teaching 16 hours per week for 3 weeks.
It must be said that the students had already taken a course on Africa. This allowed me to reinvest content that had already been seen in the past. I was teaching to 2 groups of 10 students that were attending the class from their residences. I must say that they really enjoyed this method: they were all present, for every class!
From my hotel room or from a meeting room, I reviewed the activities of my day. As well, I could explain to them how my meeting with suppliers went (receptive agencies, hotels, airline carriers, etc.).
A televised interview conducted during the Travel Expo in Kenya.
With time, I became familiar with the different options that the Adobe Connect platform offers, notably, to have the students work in teams (by creating sub-groups that can only interact with each other) on research about the suppliers, special places for the creation of travel packages and corporative events. I can move from one group to the other. I noticed that with this method, even the most reserved students participate more, using the microphone or the chat option. I am the only one who uses the camera.
To facilitate each session, I use the majority of the tools available on Adobe Connect. In fact, it was possible, as much for the students as for me, to:
- Download files and PowerPoint presentations to present content and support my remarks
- Write down elements on a white page in the note book shown on the screen
- Use the writing tools to make elements of the presentation more prominent
- Communicate using the microphone or the chat option
- Use the interactive white board
Other photos taken during this adventure
A vineyard in the wine region, near Franschhoek (South Africa).
A colourful area of Bo Kaap in Cape Town.
At the daycare with children in a township, near Knysna (South Africa).
The coastline on the Garden Route near Hermanus (South Africa).
In the middle of the canyons of Tsitsikamma Park (South Africa).
The students really enjoyed their experience and they can reinvest their learning in an event that will be held at the college on December 1st, 2016, from 6 pm to 9 pm, which is the Vernissage Voyage Culturel. I invite you to come and encourage the students. Please communicate with me to get tickets.
Next year, I would like to integrate virtual reality into my courses…To be continued!