Monday, January 19, 2009

Reminder: Flat Classroom Conference in 5 Days!

I have barely blogged about this at all and it is starting in 5 days! The Flat Classroom Conference, Leadership Workshop and Student Summit, is an amazing opportunity for leaders, teachers and students to come together in Qatar and experience 'flat world' learning experiences.

We have a busy, diverse and challenging 3-day program mapped out that can be viewed online at Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. We have about 50 people coming into Doha internationally, including over 24 students and their teachers from Australia, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Oman, and USA. Along with local international and government teachers and students we have about 130 participants.

The conference is in 2 strands, Leadership Workshop and Student Summit. Both will run independently as well as join for plenary sessions throughout. Featured presenters include Vicki Davis (the co-founder of the Flat Classroom Project), Don Knezek and Lynn Nolan from ISTE, Jeff Utecht (Asian-based educational technology consultant), John Turner (flat classroom teacher and leader) and Frank Guttler (Screen Education Consultant and Visual Literacy Advocate).

The theme of the conference is Ideation Nation: Citizenship in the Global E-Learning Economy and Vicki writes about what this all means on the Flat Classroom Conference Ning in her post, 'What is an Ideation Nation?'

The Student Summit will provide an amazing opportunity for students globally to team together and take on a project challenge. The virtual flat classroom wiki we are using for the event is filling with ideas about global issues and how we can work together to make a difference in the world. Not only will the trip provide multi-cultural experiences beyond the normal middle-high school students realm, it will also provide an encouraging environment where creativity and imagination coupled with hard work may inspire something new and exciting. We are challenging the students to come up with solutions to global issues via the creation of meaningful projects and objectives using technology to communicate and unite others around the world.

Other conference highlights include: (Remember Doha is GMT +3, EST +8)
Conversations with Thomas Friedman: 5-6pm Saturday Jan 24. Yes! Live from Washington DC via a Skype link-up, world renowned author of ‘The World is Flat’, Thomas Friedman will speak at the conference. The Flat Classroom Project is inspired by the book and uses the 10 flatteners as topics for student team work. In fact Vicki and I are featured talking about the project in the latest edition (2007) of ‘The World is Flat’. Tom will talk to the conference participants about his work, including the latest book, ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ and then invite questions from students. What an opportunity for our students, to be able to converse with the author of the books that have inspired the project and the conference.

Flat Classroom Debates: 6-7 pm Saturday Jan. 24. This session, in the style of 'Doha Debates’ has a ‘future of education’ focus. It will include a virtual link-up between two international conferences and provide opportunities for the audiences at both to participate by asking questions. Educon 2.1 is an education conference happening simultaneously to the Flat Classroom Conference at the Science Leadership Academy, Philadelphia, PA. The topic for debate: “Education systems successfully prepare students for flat world global challenges”.

There has been some nervousness about coming to the Middle East by participating schools. In fact some schools who applied for scholarships to attend ended up not gaining permission from their school authorities. Those who are coming can be guaranteed a unique cultural exchange and a life-changing experience. Teachers and students at Qatar Academy have been posting to the Ning for a few weeks now sharing images and information about Doha. Jess writes about life in Qatar from an expat. student perspective, and below Abdullah shares a video he recorded to help answer questions about what to bring.

I invite you to keep watching this blog for daily updates about the conference, and I also encourage you to participate virtually in the backchannel and uStream events scheduled. Updates will appear first on the Ning, so come and join us!


Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Conference

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