I wanted to give my students a ‘real-life’ task to do to develop their English language skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking, and also their critical thinking skills. Planning a holiday is something which many people, in developed countries, do at some time in their lives. So, this is the task which I set.
I used Pages (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8) to outline and describe the task, and sent a link to the document to my students so that they would each have a copy to refer to.
The task was aimed at Pre-intermediate level (CEFR B1, http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/cadre1_en.asp) and above. The amount of guidance and support needed would, of course, depend on the particular group of students.
The outline included:
- A description of the family who wanted to go on holiday.
- The areas they were interested in visiting.
- Their budget.
The students were then given prompts as to what they would need to think about and organize:
- Destination and duration
- Type of holiday; adventure, city, beach, etc.
- Preparation; vaccinations, visas, etc.
- Modes of transport; hotel transfers, etc.
- Accommodation type
- Activities and excursions
- Spending money; food, souvenirs, etc.
Students were told that they must stay within the allocated budget.
The whole project needed to be completed on their iPads, so suggested apps were: Safari for finding out information or photos/videos, Google Maps for deciding on destination, and Notes for collecting and organizing their findings. Students were, though, free to use other apps if they wished.
The students worked in small groups and, generally, shared out the work between them. They were free to organise the work in any way they wanted. Cloud storage apps such as Box or Dropbox are great for students to share work and build projects together remotely.
The project culminated in the students presenting their planned holidays to the rest of the class using Keynote (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8). Students were encouraged to make their presentations visually stimulating by including pictures/photos and videos. We discussed referencing in some detail. The students I worked with at the time were not particularly good at making their own videos or taking their own pictures, so they tended to just find them on Google! This is something to watch for. Some students can be very imaginative and creative, and will develop their own multimedia, but, if not, they need to be made aware of copyright issues when taking things from the internet.
How much class time is spent on this project depends on you, the teacher. After the initial introduction, discussion and clarification, students should be able to work alone. Just make sure you set a time limit, and date for the presentation!
The students were very motivated by and interested in this project. I caught one girl on the phone in class. When I asked her who she was speaking to she said she was speaking to a travel agent about flight costs! Everyone loves a holiday!
©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.