Saturday, May 14, 2011

"A Week in the Life...." - Finding Perspective

Classrooms from Canada, USA, South Korea and Qatar are more than half way through the "A Week in the Life…"11-1 project this semester (a Flat Classroom Project for Elementary School students). Cross-classroom teams are collecting multimedia to represent the main topics:
  • School time
  • Languages & Clothing
  • Housing & Transportation
  • Leisure time
  • Food & Celebrations
  • Environment
Teacher leaders for each team are supporting collaborative conversations via wiki discussion tabs and in Edmodo, our first point for networking and community building, but continuing to develop as a place to share resources and ideas.

It is important at this stage of the project to find and maintain perspective. Yes, we have limited time left in the school year, one class has about 2 weeks I think!  Yes, we now have multimedia flying in all directions causing some confusion and stress as to what is the best way to collate and present so that meaningful knowledge is gained from it. Yes, we continue to be challenged by communication and collaboration strategies while using Web 2.0 tools. However, let’s step back for a minute and look at the bigger picture.

Students and teachers who did not know each other before are now WORKING TOGETHER! yes, connecting, communicating, collaborating….as though they are one classroom. Some classes have initiated real-time Skype sessions to further cement this connection and add extra engagement to the classroom as an activity. In the background teachers are meeting once a week in a virtual classroom (currently Elluminate) to discuss all aspects of the project, to support each other and to move this collaboration to a conclusion. Yesterday the online meeting was 5:30am China (my time….and actually a good time for me as the alarm always goes off at 5am in our house, but I try to limit myself to ONE 5:30am meeting per week); 6:30 am in Sth Korea for Nick (he was talking from the kitchen waiting for his family to come in for breakfast); almost midnight for Robyn in Qatar!, and late in the evening for Nancy in Prague!; while on the other side of the world it was mid to late afternoon for USA and Canada, with after school meetings, transport needs etc. I am always amazed at how dedicated Flat Classroom teachers fit our meetings into their already overloaded day.

So, back to perspective…….This project is a chance to leave a small legacy, a snapshot of how the world is now. I was amazed at learning about the Doomsday Project this week, where after 25 years historical data is being accessed. This project is or can be very much like this. In 25 years from now, students can access our project archives and see and hear what a day in the life is really like in different parts of the world. I encourage all teachers and teams to keep this in mind as you work towards the end. How will others view this? Have you clearly explained the artifacts and linked them in creative ways? Have you reflected on them and asked further questions of your team classrooms?

Good luck to everyone as this project comes together!

Read more teacher comments and stay in touch with this project via the teacher blog.

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