Flat Classroom Workshop

FLAT CLASSROOM WORKSHOP AT ASB UN-PLUGGED
Details for those planning to attend

What is the Flat Classroom Workshop?
The aim of the workshop is to bring together geographically dispersed teachers and students with a view to sharing ideas, using mobile computing, learning about Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools in a flattened world, and working on a project theme that can be transplanted back into their home school. The selected theme will inspire unity and action as well as fostering continued connections after the event in Mumbai. It is envisaged this will improve global understanding and cement friendships for ongoing collaborations. It is also envisaged that this will provide an opportunity for students and teachers together to 'create the future' through exploration of a global or social issue and developing an 'action' plan to work globally to overcome this.

Who Should Attend?
The workshop is aimed at Middle and High school students. It is envisioned that past and present participants in the projects will be interested in coming as well as classrooms who are wanting to have a 'Flat Classroom' experience and take the ideals and skills back to their own schools. Each participating school is encouraged to register 2 teachers and 4 students. Workshop teams will be made up of participants from different schools and countries.

What will they do?
An essential element of the workshop is to join both teachers and students together in a constructivist learning environment, and by using 'flat classroom' tools, work through a project-based, action-oriented learning workshop. Skill development in Web 2.0 and multimedia tools along with enhanced cultural understanding and digital citizenship support the pedagogical approach to collaborative learning in a digital world. The skills and tools will provide the scaffolding for developing ideas and putting into place actions that could make a difference to the world.

 

What is the Flat Classroom Project?

Info from the ABOUT wiki found at http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/About


The Flat Classroom project is a ground breaking, internationally recognized project which combines hundreds of students from various cultures, countries, and backgrounds into a meaningful collaborative writing and digital storytelling project to study the trends in information technology.  After the initial project won multiple international awards and was included in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat v.3, it has been remixed into 11 different projects following the same model. These projects have joined together almost 2,000 students from more than 20 countries and is widely considered a best-practice for as a holistic and constructivist educational approach that creates students who are competitive and globally minded.

The project was co-founded by Vicki Davis http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/  (Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay http://123elearning.blogspot.com/ (Qatar Academy, Qatar) in 2006 when they were located literally around the world from one another. This project uses a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools including wikis, educational (social) networks, cross-timezone calendaring, collaborative digital storytelling and publishing to "flatten" or lower the classroom walls to join two or more classes virtually to become one large classroom. 

Flat Classroom Strand

In the flat classroom strand, the adult and student participants will be immersed in a project based conference where they work collaboratively and separately to solve problems and simultaneously learn about the tools and practices that can link us together from around the world.  First pioneered at the Flat Classroom Conference 2009 held in Doha, Qatar - meet students who have participated in these projects as they finally meet face to face and "kick it up a notch" as they collaborate with students.  See how the conference is "flattened" as participants from around the world participate virtually in these sessions to create a rich, deep learning experience where participants and their worlds are tarnsofrmed.

A little more about the projects:

The current projects cover the following topics:

  • Flat Classroom Project - The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman. Students collaborate on a wiki then produce an individual multimedia piece in response to their topic. A clip in this piece is 'outsourced' to a team member in another classroom, so not only do students study the flatteners as discussed by Friedman, they use them in the project.

  • As a sister to the Flat Classroom Project the Horizon Project, as mentioned in Don Tapscott's recent book, Grown Up Digital now renamed as the Net Generation Education project and run in collaboration with Tapscott himself, also lowers or 'flattens' the classroom walls by emphasizing connection, communication, collaboration and creativity as well as higher-order thinking skills and problem solving. This project is based on the Horizon Report released annually by New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiate that outlines 6 trends they believe will be impacting college and university campuses within the next five years.

  • A further imitative recently is the Digiteen Project which has linked classrooms of middle school students from Australia, Canada, USA, Spain and Qatar with the aim of promoting better online citizenship through research and discussion and culminates in each school taking action within their own community to promote this.

In 2009, the Digiteen and NetGenEd projects are adding a virtual component in OpenSim and have gridizenship added as a component of digital citizenship in their work.

Flat Classroom Conference

The Flat Classroom Conference held in Qatar, January 2009, brought more than 150 education leaders, teachers and students together to Qatar to envision the future of education. Students and teachers from very diverse backgrounds such as Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United States, China, Australia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Ethiopia, South Africa, and beyond came to the Leadership Workshop and Student Summit. The student videos and reflections on the conference website (http://flatclassroomconference.ning.com/) show the positive affect that the conference had on reducing stereotypes, not only of the Middle East, but of one another.

This conference was not a lecture-based conference but primarily a project-based conference using the latest in educational research in project based learning to rework how content is delivered in a conference format.  Using small teams, group presentations, and multiple interactions between students and educators, a rich, interactive environment evolved.  Multimedia was a focus, with students exploring topics and creating rich presentations. Many presenters, educators, and students have expressed their favorable opinion in their post-conference reflections of the need to deploy this method of improving education on a global basis.

 

 

 
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Students and Educators at the
Flat Classroom Workshop 2010

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