Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Conference that Changed Lives

There is a lot to say about the Flat Classroom Conference, January 24-26. I intend to blog about it for weeks, as it will take me that long to really analyse and share and make sense of it all. However, for now, I am too exhausted for depth. I just spent 9 hours today (the first day of the weekend after the conference) at another conference, NESA Winter Institute and Peer Coaching for technology with Karen Meyer, wishing I was home sleeping and blogging about the event that really changed lives, the event that took what being at a 'conference' to the edge, the event that challenged ALL participants, real, virtual, student, teacher and administrator to re-think education and their place or role in it.

During the Student Summit all student teams worked towards pitching an idea for a new flat classroom project that could be realistically implemented later this year. At the end of the 2nd day, after a final team presentation we voted for the top 4 who then had the chance to work all of the next day on refining their pitch into a short multimedia piece. These 4 finalists worked with experts, including Frank Guttler, multimedia guru and former AFI screen education leader, on creating a final video that could be played at the closing ceremony and that could then be voted on as the winner. Remember that all teams, 4 students in each, were composed of people from different schools and cultures who prior to coming to Qatar or to the summit had not known each other before. Given this and given other cultural, language and social hurdles to get over, the students are to be congratulated on the final outcome and on their ability to work intensely on something they are passionate at about.

So, all finalists are located on the front of our Flat Classroom Conference Ning, and voting via Polldaddy closes on February 3. Vote now! Who do you think deserves to have their idea run as a global collaborative project involving classrooms from around the world?

Here are the videos:

Eradicate Poverty, by Tech Trust
Members: Steve, Nessa, Ahmed, Narel
Statement: "Eradicate Poverty" will lend money to aspiring entrepreneurs in the 3rd world. The success of the future is at stake, let's act with reason!

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Conference

Aristmatic, by Aristmetic
Team Members: Casey, Tiphanie, Fibba, Mohammad
Statement: Our Project is a social network to improve how math is taught.

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Conference

Face Poverty, by Hope 2.0
Team Members: Chantelle, Karla, Letisha, Khaled, Ahmed
Team Statement: Face Poverty is an initiative to change the world. For one life can make a difference.

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Conference

Eracism, by We are Eracism
Members: Nastassja, John, Yaqsan, Antonia
Statement: Our aim is to give teenagers all over the world an opportunity to express their opinions and ideas about issues in the current world.

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Conference

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George Haines said...

I can attest to that post, Julie.
I have never been to a conference that moved me on an emotional level like that. I genuinely had a heavy heart on the way home.
The country was great, but it was the conference itself that I didn't want to leave.

Abdullah Al-Shakarchi said...

Yup, it was an awesome conference and one that we will never forget.

The videos are pretty amazing as they were only done in 5 hours.

Anonymous said...

Great video. I really inspired on it.