Implementation of ‘Time Travel Agency’ (SOI-EXT-184)

One of the key competencies we endeavour to equip our students with is taking part in stimulating learning experiences, as well as helping them to develop a mindset across Europe, preparing the next generation for uncertain times in the constantly changing and globalised world. We also need to give a European dimension to our educational approaches by sharing and discussing ideas concerning new techniques of shaping students’ personality, achieving self-consciousness and getting active together. The learning scenario ‘’ Time travel Agency” implemented from the Europeana blog will be a means to improve our daily pedagogical practice.

The virtual journey is an inquiry-based project and will definitely answer the need of our students to foster their European identity and attach it to an active local citizen. This learning model will not only develop young students’ responsibility, initiative, active involvement developing their sense of belonging to a global village but it will also give them the chance to contribute to the improvement of their own education and to the development of support systems for their activities.

The implementation context

The learning scenario “Time Travel Agency”- was created by Kati LŐRINCZ and implemented by Alina Ramona Vlad with a group of students aged 13/14 during an online English as a Foreign Language class following the school closure due to the covid-19 pandemic. In the wake of these hard times after having visited the Time Travel Agency to get some tips on some virtual tours 14 stranded students embarked on an imaginary journey into a future world, a renewed world after the corona virus. The world has changed, cities have changed and events will change. They have to make their own drawings/ doodling. For each location, they have to come up with a short story about the place they visit. Students work individually, go treasure hunting on the Europeana web page and design their own fantasy world of the future.

The narrative

I partly used Kati LŐRINCZ‘s learning scenario http://blogs.eun.org/teachwitheuropeana/history/tta-time-travel-agency-ls-hu-02/ but I came up with the idea of them travelling through time into the future, and envisaging how the world, people, places have changed. The teaching time allotted to the activity is 100 minutes.

The first step was to provide my students with guidelines for their projects.

I used the Zoom app and I gave them a full explanation of how to use the Europeana digital resources. We had a discussion about the places they would like to visit and we all had mental pictures of a fictional Earth set in the remote future; Their fantasy words drew heavily on real world history, they used different historical places or just imagined a whole new world while encompassing fictional characters, their feelings, their own selves.

I also brushed up on their previous knowledge regarding narrative and descriptive writing- 50 minutes.

The level of my students is B1 -B2 (pre-intermediate to intermediate) and they were asked to do a drawing or doodling of the location they chose to visit and write a short narrative or descriptive paragraph that would tell us the story of the place. They visited London and Stonehenge, Athens, New York, Taiwan, The Peles Castle in Romania admiring the beauty of imposing landmarks, contemplating the atmosphere or imagining a whole new world in a way that will make a long-lasting impression on the reader.

An example of student’s work

A future new world- 2023

Welcome to the future! It is summer 2023, the second summer to be fully enjoyed after the horrible pandemic we had to go through. We, the employees from Krodemic Travel Agency, will try our best to make sure you visit the most exciting places, rebuilt, abandoned or innovating, from after the pandemic! Who needs Paris, Spain or any jam-packed destination when you got us?

Our recommended destination for this summer is the United Kingdom, specifically in Reading, where the first (functioning) flying car prototype was launched into the sky and became one with the clouds! However, that is the only city that has flying cars zooming around the sky for now, since some models are still defective. The model was conceived somewhere in China, then manufactured in Japan and tested more than a hundred times in this beautiful city.

After we gave the manual a thorough reading, we finally understood how this car works. The “Flybird” Aerocar has magnets instead of wheels! You heard it – giant, heavy-looking but lighter than boulder magnets! It has four of them, replacing their round counterparts, and are connected to more magnets either planted in the ground or placed on small industrial buildings! This car can fly as high as a hundred meters (if you like to live a risky life) but a lot less than fifty meters are recommended to see the special markings on the street that indicate people where they are going. At least, that’s what should be done…

The cars are painted in nice colors based on the sky, birds and planets, to give the sky a nice look when these cars are floating. This car can go as fast as 300 km/h, which is pretty fast, but maybe it’s because they’re so light.. The inside of these cars is so comfortable you could live in there! The chairs can be turned around or be flattened so you can get some rest while the cars are getting you to the desired destination. Oh, did we say that these cars are automated?

This might just be the future we dreamed of since the 1950’s – no more polluting, flying cars, a hospitable environment and many more to come! So come with us, let’s visit Reading – and maybe you can fly in a “Flybird” too!

Learning outcomes

I believe that this learning scenario had a beneficial impact on students bringing out their motivation to strengthen their linguistic skills with a direct focus on narrative and descriptive writing techniques as well as fostering intercultural dialogue. It has facilitated wide access to educational resources and provided students with new opportunities from socio-professional perspective. It has stimulated students’ motivation for involvement in extracurricular activities, their entrepreneurship and initiative.

Teaching outcomes

I enjoy exploring a wide range of educational resources designed to motivate my students and I always value my colleagues’ experience and adapt their teaching materials to my students’ needs so that they will greatly benefit from examples of good practice. This activity aroused students’ curiosity amid corona virus isolation, they were commited and passionate about the topic, they fully enjoyed exploring the Europeana digital resources and imagining a whole new world. I warmly recommend this learning model to my colleagues as a new teaching tool to be used in practical situations.

This Story of Implementation has been created by Alina Ramona Vlad, finalist of the Europeana Education Competition 2020 in the following category: ‘Teaching with digital cultural heritage in secondary schools’.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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