Sunday, September 27, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

  • Tread Lightly is a climate change education initiative offered by TakingITGlobal through the generous support of the Staples Foundation for Learning.®

    tags: acrossmydesk, environment, tiged, collaboration, globalcollaboration, globalproject

  • EXCELLENT blog post from Sara, teacher from Korea who brought 4 students to the workshop this weekend.

    Getting my four students to Hong Kong was a blur; the process of application seems like it was years ago; but these last 48 hours made it all worth while. I feel like it's one of those "why I teach" moments: I gaze across the room and see my four little angels engaged in a real conversation on the concept of the Digital Divide (aka the haves and the have-nots, the digitally informed and tuned in and the not, etc.) and they are THINKING. They are MOTIVATED. They are OWNING THEIR LEARNING. You know, I wonder when I'll move past using capital letters to emphasize my points and just let the points emphasize themselves...but I digress. After the usual flailing, "What-do-we-do-Ms.P-What-do-they-want?" conversations to which I responded "What do you think?", the inspiration struck and they ran. They planned, they researched, they reflected, they pitched their ideas, they skewed their ideas, they created a digital artifact that reflected their ideas, they presented their ideas, and above all, they BELIEVED in their ideas. It wasn't what we told them was right, it wasn't what the rubric said was right, it wasn't what would get them into Harvard, it was just a real-life solution to a real-life problem and the kids believe that they have the real-life answer. That, my friends, is authentic learning.

    tags: acrossmydesk, flatclassroomworkshop, 21CHK, flatclassroom

  • CreateDebate in the Classroom enables teachers to customize and build an online debate community that can be easily incorporated into almost any lesson plan. Typically, teachers will create debates around questions that will build on the current course of study. The goal is to engage students and enrich the classroom conversation through peer collaboration. Debates can be conducted in the classroom “real-time” (if computers with Internet access are available) or participation can be assigned as homework and reviewed in class.

    tags: debate, acrossmydesk

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

Reflection on Flat Classroom Workshop HK: Part 1

Kim Cofino and Julie Lindsay - Flat Classroom Workshop Leaders, Hong Kong September 20009

Student team working on action project at Flat Classroom Workshop, Hong Kong September 2009

(This is the first part of a 2-part blog series on the Flat Classroom Workshop held in Hong Kong, September 2009)

The Flat Classroom Workshop was held as a strand of the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong, September 2009.

This blog post attempts to DESCRIBE what we did in HK. Part 2 and 3 of this series will attempt to reflect on the significance of the workshop and where we got to from here.

In preparation for the Flat Classroom Workshop Vicki Davis, Kim Cofino and me were interviewed in Second Life, 'Meet the Forces' By Chris Smith, Shambles Guru. The audio recording is clear and details some brief history of the Flat Classroom Projects and leads into the workshop details.
Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

We are grateful to Chris also for the work he contributed to our event by collecting not only multimedia to do with the pre-workshop SL interview, but also videoing reflections while at the event. These can all be viewed on the 21chk Ning in the Flat Classroom Workshop Group.

Also, at the 21CHK opening event Kim Cofino and I presented a short 'keynote' to get the ball rolling with what we do and what the workshop was to achieve.

What is the Flat Classroom Workshop? What did we do?

About 30 students from 6 different schools, along with about 12 educators from the same schools and more came together for 2.5 days to workshop what it means to learn in a flat world.
Participants were divided into teams of about 4 (3-4 is the optimal number according to research) real participants. In addition we had virtual signups so each team had 2-3 'virtual' members as well.
Teams communicated with each other via a permanent backchannel and a broadcast. The workshop sessions were broadcast to the world so that virtual participants could see and hear what we were doing and interact with their team in real time as well as using the chat facility. In addition this provided recordings and saved text for asynchronous viewing.
Teams were given the task of exploring the 'digital divide' with the purpose of identifying global issues, brainstorming solutions, and selecting a solution that could be developed as a pitch and then as a final product.
The Workshop Overview and Action Project wikis provide more detail about the process.

In order to foster community learning and enhanced understanding of each other....remembering that all teams had participants who did NOT know each other....we started with a cultural scavenger hunt, see handouts page for all details, and included the virtual participants with an invitation to respond via an online form.

The entire workshop schedule shows the intensity of the 3 days. We included brief information sessions (Compelling presentations, Making a lasting impression, Elevator speech and perfect pitch and so on), collaboration time and organised interaction times with the main conference where participants could pitch their ideas and have feedback from viewers. Infrastructure for all work was provided by essential Web 2.0 tools, especially the Wiki and Ning.

As a culmination to the workshop participants were charged with organising and presenting a 30 minute closing session to the entire conference body. This was student-led and organised and included the 3 teams voted internationally as the 'most likely to succeed' with their solution to the digital divide issues, as well as other multimedia and ideas from participants showing what a flat classroom learning environment really looks like.

Team 1 'pitches' their digital divide ideas and solutions to educators for feedback - an essential part of the Flat Classroom Workshop process

Further resources of final outcomes can be found on the Day 3 wiki (embedded uStream of closing presentation as well as individual multimedia for the closing) and Multimedia wiki.

The slideshow of Kim Cofino's pics on Flickr speaks louder than words. Thanks Kim for all of your hard work!

Photos from Flickr:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flat Classroom Workshop in Hk in 3 days! How to be a virtual participant

In 3 days Kim Cofino and I will be leading the Flat Classroom Workshop as part of the 21st Century Learning Conference. I am also looking forward to Anne Mirtschin being there as well helping to organise and run the workshop in between presenting. We have about 30 students and 10 teachers registered for full time participation in the workshop with over 20 'virtual' participants registered as well.

We have a workshop wiki that will contain all information eventually, and participants are connecting via the Flat Classroom Conference Ning first. In addition we invite you to come and join us when you can via the backchannel and uStream (the uStream app has been added to the Ning!)

Information for Virtual Participants
One of the challenges of flattening the learning environment is getting used to working with people who are not face-to-face in the same room. As business, political and economic situations around the world (to mention a few) evolve, as Thomas Friedman describes in his book, The World is Flat, there are certain flatteners that promote and allow for connection, collaboration and creation via distance. Outsourcing, networked connections, wireless and virtual worlds make it possible for us to connect with and work with almost anyone in the world. Learning how to do this reliably and responsibly is part of what we do in the Flat Classroom projects each year. But how does this relate to a learning situation? How do we accommodate different cultures, different time zones and different expectations of what working in a team means?

What does it mean to attend a workshop virtually?
The Flat Classroom Workshop is an opportunity for participants who cannot physically come to Hong Kong, to attend 'virtually'. This means they will be team members or expert advisers to the teams from a distance. They will join the same online networking and collaboration spaces and contribute to the work in progress and final outcomes.

What is expected of the virtual participants?
There are virtual participants signed up for this event from all over the world, in many time zones. Therefore there is not an expectation that interaction with the 'at home' team members will be in real time. If there is an opportunity for real time this will enhance the connection and understanding. Real time opportunities include being part of the backchannel and watching the uStream video of each session as well as contributing to ideas, research and discussion with their team members.
However more realistically most virtual participants will be staying in touch and contributing asynchronously throughout the event.
This means the following:
* reading and commenting on blog posts on the Ning
* reading team wiki pages and adding content as well as comments in the discussion tab
* creating short artifacts as needed to upload and send to team members to contribute to final multimedia presentations (audio, video, images)

Will virtual participants really be part of the workshop?
Yes! But this will take a commitment from the participants to stay connected and to be actively commenting, adding to the wiki, adding a blog post and generally contributing where they can to the development of the action project. It will also take commitment from the 'at home' participants as well to include their virtual team members by commenting back, asking questions, including them in the development of their ideas and actions.

As organisers of the Flat Classroom Workshop we believe this is pedagogically sound and relevant to learning in today's world and welcome the virtual participants to this event.

Cultural Scavenger Hunt: We invite virtual participants and readers of this blog to complete the online form so we have data to refer to at the workshop.
Come and join us in Hong Kong!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Across My Desk (weekly)

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