Tuesday, November 28, 2006

While I was Playing Tennis the World Got Flatter

So, what did I do last night..... as members of the Australian Club 'C' division tennis team here in Dhaka my husband and I played the last match of the season and were soundly thrashed by the Canadian Club......then we came home to find my daughter, Violet, in tears about her French homework (another story altogether)....then before going to bed I thought I would just check the email and look in on the blog posting I uploaded before tennis about our Flat Classroom Project to see if there had been any response.....and then (I have to put this in bold) I found an email from Thomas Friedman! (author of The World is Flat)

Dear Julie,

I read your blog about the flat world classroom. I was delighted to see it! Tell me how it goes. Yes, this is really Tom Friedman. Allbest, Tom

Just thought I would drop this juicy fact with my CEO today, and was glad to hear he was suitably impressed.
Question from CEO: But how did he know you are doing this project?
Answer: He read my blog!
Question/Exclamation: He read your blog??!! Wow!!

Now my CEO wants to borrow the book (The World is Flat). My students of course, as stakeholders in the project and as readers and connosouirs of the ten flatteners were also impressed, but a little confused.....the sense of awe and wonder at how this communication is possible and how it makes the world flat is perhaps reserved for my generation, the younger you are the more it is accepted as common place (?)

Vicki Davis, my flat classroom project partner who has such wonderful energy and vision, posted a great opening to our project on her blog today. I empathize completely with her discussion about teachers being connectors and not just content delivers anymore. I am a firm believer and supporter of experiential learning and have participated and initiated a number of online global projects over the past 10 years. I never fail to be thrilled at the absolute delight the students get from these projects and how the learning outcomes are usually far higher than initially expected. By this I mean the extra learning that occurs apart from the content of the project such as:
  • Developing good communication skills to be able to find a place where understanding occurs in order to break through cultural misunderstandings
  • Developing good inquiry skills and fostering a sense of wonderment at the differences in the world
  • Being flexible in working hours and knowing there are deadlines and other people relying on them
  • Developing a fuller understanding of how the world works and that it does not just revolve aound them
  • The feeling that individuals can do something about changing how the world is now and that through communciation with and understanding of other people this can be a reality
As Vicki says, "It is time for the mass production not of industrial robotic line workers but of teacherpreneurs. For I believe that if this attitude is promoted in the classroom under proper authority and best practices, that teachers can truly become connectors and breed a new generation of global collaborators and big picture thinkers like we've never seen before."


Technorati Tags:

No comments: