Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Accolades for Flat Classroom Projects

Congratulations to all contributors of the Flat Classroom Project 2008 wiki and a big thank you to all voters in the Edublog Awards 2008! We are delighted to announce that once again (we were winners in 2006 and nominated in 2007) the Flat Classroom Project has been acknowledged as the winner for Best Educational Wiki!

The other nominees for best educational wiki also deserve special recognition:
The 2008 Comment Challenge
Educational Origami
S.D.Public School, Pitampura
Learning in Maine
Digitally Speaking
Clif’s Wiki
Miss Baker’s Biology Class
Salks Periodic Table
School AUP 2.0
Useful Wiki
Digital Media Across Asia

Why is Flat Classroom Project 2008 wiki an example of a 'best educational wiki'?
In the absence of actual criteria for the award, let me summarise what I think are the key features of this wiki that allow it to stand out amongst its peers.
  • It uses the wiki format as a pedagogical platform and shares educational resources used during the project
  • It provides a launching place for teachers and students internationally to connect and collaborate
  • It is an excellent 'receptacle' for multimedia, with contributors able to upload and share a variety of artifacts
  • It shares ALL aspects of the Flat Classroom Project and documents each individual contribution
  • It provides, displays, and documents all interactions - in particular the 'history' editing tabs and the 'discussion' tabs for each wiki page show a rich involvement by teachers and students
  • It shows that meaningful global collaboration using Web 2.0 is possible, relevant and exciting
Accolades also go to Flat Classroom Projects co-founder Vicki Davis for winning Best Teacher Blog for Cool Cat Teacher. A truly well-deserved award! We are so proud of you Vicki! Keep doing what you are doing, and don't let the sidelines get you down!

I also need to mention in this post about our Horizon Project and its inclusion in Don Tapscott's latest book, "Grown Up Digital". You can read this book online, and if you go to page 138 you will find Don mentions our Horizon Project. Don, also the author of "Wikinomics', was our keynote speaker for the Horizon Project 2008. It is a great honour to be included in the new book, however some of the facts about our Horizon Project are a little jumbled. It would have been good to review this before the book was published in order to get it right, as we did with our feature in Tom Friedman's book, The World is Flat, where we actually collaborated with Tom on the 2 and a bit pages and made sure the facts were straight. Anyway, to set the record straight, we never collaborated with a classroom in Darfur, and the Horizon Projects, both 2007 and 2008, are based on the Horizon Report which annually highlights emerging technologies in education (released by the New Media Consortium and Educause). However, I do look forward to reading all of "Grown Up Digital" when my copy arrives here in Doha.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flat Classroom Project 2008 Awards - Student Achievement

The Flat Classroom Project Awards Ceremony, held yesterday online in Elluminate, showed once again what a special community of learners we have here as part of the Flat Classroom Project.

All award information can be found on the Awards wiki, including multimedia awards for all 11 topics and meta-awards, showing the top 3 videos for the project. Over 200 students from 15 schools attempted the Flat Classroom Project over the past 3 months. Nearly 100 videos were submitted from 12 schools for final awards. All multimedia can be found on the Flat Classroom Project Ning as well as hyperlinked from the main wiki pages and embedded in sub-wikis.

This is a mammoth effort! We have spent the past 2 weeks running through teacher and student reflections on the project, once again in Elluminate, where participants had an opportunity to share their work, thoughts and ideas for the past and future development of the project.

Congratulations however now goes to all of the people who have made this amazing global collaboration possible. Here is the list and location links were you will find specific names and details amongst the list of educators who willingly and freely devote their time.

- Flat Clasroom Project 2008 Keynote - Terry Freedman, who also spent time interacting with the students on the wiki
- Topic Expert Advisors - who acted as mentors and helped with subject material and wiki development
- Researchers - Led by Craig Union, who will continue to work with forthcoming projects
- Sounding Boad classrooms led by Kim Cofino, who reviewed the wiki work and provided valuable feedback to students in the project
- Judges of the multimedia artifacts, who spent hours reviewing and deciding who deserved recognition above others, with a special mention to our meta-judge, Barbara Stefanics.

Special thanks to the teachers of the classes in the project. Some had been through the project before, others were new to the demands. Everyone did an excellent job! We held weekly meetings in Elluminate for teachers that were recorded for those who couldn't make it. Our time-zone stretch allowed us to just squeeze in Australia and the Middle East (Oman at midnight and Melbourne at 7am!).

Special thanks also to our project 'Janitor' (his words!) for always being around to clean up and help out, Steve Madsen from Australia. In fact this is a double celebration as Steve just informed us today he received an Outstanding Professional Service Award Citation from the Computing Studies Teachers' Association in NSW. Well done Steve!!

A special, special thanks also to my unique and visionary colleague, Vicki Davis, who as always has put her heart and soul into this project, and expects nothing less from her students.

This was a different project for me as for the first time I was not in the classroom with my own class, but merely facilitating the project overall and helping my colleague, Ray Jones with his class. I enjoyed having a lofty overview of every class, wiki and multimedia piece, however I really missed having that more intimate classroom knowledge of each student, their trials and tribulations and ultimate success. One of the memorable events during the project was being in a student summit recently where, for the first time ever, we had students from Oman (Middle East) in Elluminate presenting during the same session as students from the USA (LACHSA, California). Participants commented that this real-time experience made the whole project seem more 'real' and tangible. I enjoyed listening to the different accents and observing the excitement of the students as they realised this was a true cultural exchange .

For those interested in joining a Flat Class Classroom Project we have Project 2009/1 starting in January. I invite you to fill in the online form registering interest before the first week in January.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Connectivism Explained

When I watched this video I was reminded of a blog post of mine from August - Embracing Constructivism: Some Resources

Wes Fryer's blog post last week at Explaining Connectivist Learning Opportunities via Video shares the work of Wendy Drexler very succinctly. Quoting from Wes, "This Lee LeFever / Commoncraft Show style 5 minute video by Wendy Drexler paints a descriptive picture of how students can learn in a connectivist style, and the role of the teacher in this new learning landscape."

Here is the "Networked Student"
"The tools themselves as not as important as the connections made possible by them"

Wendy's blog: Teach Web 2.0
Wendy's wiki: Teach Web 2.0
Wendy's K12 Online 08 'Leading the Change presentation: Teaching Web 2.0 - Everything you need in one place

I want to say something profound....but the video says it all! Thanks Wendy!

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Across My Desk (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.