Picture this: you’ve finally reached your trip destination. You’re beyond excited for your group to see the event you spent a year planning. Then, you look up only to see most of the students staring at their smart phones. You’re awash in disappointment.
This situation is all-too common on educational trips. It can be hard to compete with SnapChat, Instagram and text messaging. We’d like to help you encourage your students to put the device away and absorb the experience around them, but first, we should acknowledge that smart phones do offer some respectable benefits.
Benefits to Technology on Student Trips:
- Smart phones are the easiest way for students to check in with their assigned chaperone at specific times, especially at large venues like theme parks or museums.
- Some venues use apps to add an extra educational element to students’ experience.
- Smart phone cameras offer a convenient way to capture memories.
- Texting or a quick call is also an efficient way to contact other friends on tour if necessary.
- After the tour is over, students can alert family of their expected arrival time or of any trip delays and changes.
- ICE (in case of emergency) smart phones are the easiest way for students to contact their families back home to assure them that they are safe.
Even with all the benefits it offers, there is often more of a downside to technology than upside while traveling for educational purposes. To help your students manage their usage, here are a few tips.
Technology Guidelines for Student Trips:
- Establish “tech-free” time and strictly enforce it.
- Ask chaperones to be technology-keepers when needed, such as in instances when photography is prohibited.
- Strongly iterate the importance of keeping all devices secure or with a trusted chaperone. Smart phones are at high risk of being lost, broken or stolen while on tours.
Technology on trips can come at a cost. Help your students disconnect so that they don’t miss those “once in a lifetime” experiences that you’ve planned. “Wherever you are be all there.” –Jim Elliot