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!


Anne Mirtschin said...

Hi Julie, I have packed my bags now and am really looking forward to working with you in a face to face situation, rather than virtually,as our flat classroom projects usually are. 5 of my students are excited about working virtually with us and I still may have a sixth student. A seventh would have loved to have joined in but the Saturday involvement is a problem as she works all day. See you soon and cant wait to meet the new flatclassroom members. Thanks for offering this opportunity to us all.

elearing said...

It turns out that I have wrong in my belief that elearning tools are no good as a learning management system, as I have been thinking since I heard of the concept. I was thinking that all these e-learning tools taught the learners were how not to interact with others and simply confine themselves to their learning tasks, since the electronic mode in which e-learning solutions come work were seemingly designed to be learned by individuals in the privacy of their own homes or work stations, since this learning management system is particularly geared to provide individuals with a learning tool that can be adjusted to their preferences and pace.

Elearning said...

To be honest, elearning is fun. You will have to discover a lot of things through elearning. You will be engaged in serious questioning here and really learn and study by yourself.