Wednesday 4 Oct, 2017

5 Ways to Help Students Get More From Their Tour

When you lead an educational tour, you want students to absorb lessons that last a lifetime – and that usually means connecting what they’re learning to their own lives. Our personalized learning experience, weShare, is designed to make it happen. weShare is powered by students’ curiosity, and it’s even better when teachers get involved!

Teacher on tour

We recently asked 7 teachers from all over North America how they’ve incorporated weShare into their tours and used it to enhance their students’ travel experiences. Here’s what they do to make the most of it:

1. Meet with your students

“We had one meeting a month, and each month we had a specific topic to discuss. Those that missed the meeting could stop in and pick up the notes from that missed meeting.”
– Ann Z., Oregon

“We began by incorporating the weShare platform into our after-school club meetings. This year, [we] are co-teaching a yearlong course that the majority of the students enrolled on our trip are taking.” – Rachel S., Connecticut

2. Inspire students’ curiosity

“In my experience, the most effective way to bring experiential learning into the classroom is to make it relevant, meaningful, and useful to students. Relevant in the sense that the learning is connected with the “real world” and is edgy or raw enough to hold their focus. Meaningful in the sense that as an individual, students care about the topic of study (allowing student choice here is huge). And useful in the sense that students build something professional that they can link on their resume or application to highlight their skills and character.” – Ryan H, Oregon

3. Get comfortable being uncomfortable

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. Inquiry-based learning is messy, and it requires us as teachers to release some of the control we have over the direction of the class and hand it over to our students. But when experiential learning goes well, it helps prepare students for the types of situations they will face outside our classrooms.”
– Rachel S., Connecticut

“Let me tell you, it’s okay to not know all the answers. Instead of being the ‘sage on the stage,’ become the ‘guide on the side.’ When you try for the first time, it’s going to feel weird and maybe a bit uncomfortable. But you really will be creating a truly authentic learning experience for the students.” – Andre B., Saskatchewan

4. Divide and conquer

“During one of our mandatory pre-travel sessions, the students have to pair up with their mentor (chaperone) to create a guiding question. The question/topic has to be approved by the chaperone and they check in periodically to make sure that the student is conducting research before we leave.” – Stacy G., Pennsylvania

“I assigned one of my chaperones to be the weShare expert, if you will. She was the GO-TO person before and during the trip. I think it is important, that the students have one contact for weShare – it makes it so much easier and then everyone is receiving the same information.” – Ann Z., Oregon

5. Use your resources

“Show students some great examples of finished projects when developing their questions. Monitor their progress online using the weShare excel group leader documents [in the Tools for Teachers].” – Caroline C., New York

“To cultivate an environment for experiential learning in the classroom, I recommend building an alumni program. Create an environment where past student travelers can meet with future student travelers and share their experiences through the projects they created with weShare.” – Donna L., Ohio

Curious to see more ways to incorporate weShare into your classroom? Check out our Teacher’s Guide for ideas!