As usual I took the opportunity to make observations about the uses of technology by both the tour company & the tour participants. The young English tour director (who also spoke French, German & Italian fluently) make copious use of her cell phone to liaise with a multitude of local tour guides, hotels, restaurants, shops & other tourist attraction operators. The majority of the tour participants were aged over forty but the dozen or so younger participants were queued up in front of the hotel internet or would pay for the hotel wifi access every time the tour checked into a hotel.
During the tour, several visits were made to tourist attractions like Versailles, the Vatican & Sistine chapel & the Coliseum & Forum using the ‘whisper tour guide system’ or similar. This was an FM radio system that supplied a transmitter to the tour guide & a receiver plus earphones to the tour participants. The tour guide could then discourse on the various aspects while tour participants wandered around inspecting the area or reading visual material. The entire tour could listen to questions posed by the more inquisitive tour members & participants who were ‘wanderers’ could keep track of where the main body of the tour was without becoming totally separated from their tour group.
The sound quality was good even over quite long distances & between several rooms. So this technology would be very useful in some areas we teach in at CPIT which have a high level of noise. Examples include the bakery, mechanical engineering & panel beating workshops. Classes that take on field trips should also benefit from this system along with practical sessions that spread learners out over a wide area (building, horticulture etc). I will need to see if the elearning team is interested in investigating this option plus I will have to look at how to better use Twitter as another way to replicate some aspects of the FM link up with hardware the students now all carry with them & as an option.