Technology on Tour
Sixteen students from Garden Valley Collegiate travelled to Quebec in late May not only to practice their French, but also to gain a sense of the culture and visit many of Canada’s historic "firsts". For the GVC students this trip also proved to be a first in the use of information technology. From the early planning stages of the trip to days after returning, a new way of travelling was being explored, while communication and technology options were expanding.
To prepare for their trip the students took a pre-tour voyage through "computer land," using the Internet to book plane tickets and hotels, as well as to get a sneak peak at the many sites they would be visiting. This included everything from following the metro routes they would be taking, looking at the ride selection at La Ronde (a Montreal amusement park), and observing the Bio-Dome ecosystems through a camera.
The use of the Internet and e-mail did not end when students left their Winkler classroom and headed off to do the real thing. Before their departure, a Hotmail account was set-up with the simple e-mail address "email@example.com." They also designed a web page at the GVC web site www.gvc.gvsd.mb.ca/quebec
After all the learning and preparing was done these eager Grade 11 and 12 students were ready to have the experiences for themselves. They spent their next five days touring Quebec City and Montreal visiting such sites as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Botanical Gardens, Olympic Stadium and Biodome, Hard Rock Café, St. Joseph's Oratory, La Ronde Amusement Park, and Montmorency Falls. As the class toured around the cities and sites, they took pictures with a digital camera and stopped occasionally in at a cyber café to send back their pictures and write-ups to be posted on the French Tour web page they previously had set-up. This allowed their family, friends, and others in the Manitoba community to see that very day what the French students had done in Quebec.
The students also loved the excitement of receiving mail while away, through the French tour email address. Many friends, family and teachers took advantage of this opportunity to just say hi and to let the group know they were following their travels through the web page and pictures.
This was the first trip Garden Valley Collegiate students have used web technology to communicate with people at home, but they know this is the beginning of something new. The French class has now returned and looking back they say they would change a few things for next time. Bringing a laptop for better Internet access would be convenient and save time. If that is not possible, they would allow more time in their schedule for Internet café's. The group also would design a more complete web page before leaving. Probably the most important change would be to publicize the web page and make the public more aware of the electronic site and email address.