Sunday, January 06, 2008
Tucking in 2007 Part four: Flat Classroom Project Celebrations
The Flat Classroom Project 2007 was a magnificent collaboration between seven classrooms and over 100 students. As with the 2006 project, it was based on the flattener's found in Friedman's 'The World is Flat'. It involved students working as teams and constructing knowledge on a wiki page, in fact even having to 'edit' the wiki for their topic from last year and updating, adding etc. (a 21st century skill). It involved students creating a personal video using some outsourced content from a global partner. It involved a networking tool called a Ning, which tells a large part of this story by containing the audio and video introductions, the conversations and blog posts and now many of the student reflections. It involved a creative keynote speaker, many international educators as judges, peer review classroom teachers and other students as sounding boards. It involved the use of wonderful online conferencing software, courtesy of sponsorship from Elluminate, to facilitate regular teacher meetings and student summits, including the finale the Awards Ceremony.
Now that it is all over I wish to thank all participants for their amazing efforts and support. It is a hard project, it is all-consuming, exhausting and exhilarating and it has taken me 2 weeks of holiday to now come back to it in a reflective manner. However I wish to not only thank everyone but to celebrate our achievement. The student growth stories that occur from doing this project are shared by all teachers. The fact that the growth and output are often so astounding makes us all realize this type of project is profound in its impact.
On Christmas Eve I communicated with Tom Friedman to update him on the 2007 Flat Classroom Project. This is what I said:
".....I wanted to share with you the excitement Vicki and I both feel as we continue to move forward with this project, extending and refining it as a 21st century, pedagogically relevant mode of learning that emphasizes global collaboration and understanding. I am very proud of my Grade 10 class from Qatar Academy and and have plans to embed this project into the curriculum at the school. "
On Christmas day (Qatar time) I received this reply from Tom:
"Dear Julie, That is wonderful. Really, just wonderful. The best Christmas gift I could get. I hope you are getting some feedback from your cameo appearances in the paperback. Keep me posted on your work and happy holidays. Tom"
Isn't the flat world a wonderful place?
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Two books to read, which offer a counterperspective to Friedman's "The World is Flat."
First is, the Harvard Professor, Pankaj Ghemawat's latest book, "Redefining Global Strategy". I read an article of his published in the journal, "Foreign Policy", where he argues that the world is, at best, only semi-globalized. His argument being that Cultural, Administrative, Geographic and Economic aspects of a nation come in the way of total globalization from taking place and cites examples of the same.
The second book, is by Aronica and Ramdoo, "The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman's New York Times Bestseller." It is a small, interesting book, as compared to the 600 page tome by Friedman. And aimed at the common man and students alike.
You may want to see www.mkpress.com/flat
and watch www.mkpress.com/flatoverview.html
for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman's
"The World is Flat".
Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens! www.mkpress.com/ShiftExtreme.html
There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation
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