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Monday, March 30, 2009

And so it grows: Telling the Story of Global Collaboration Growth



It is always great to hear the reflections and thoughts of others.  So many things that happen grow far past how they start.  Here are a few that have come across my desk lately.

Love listening to an AP Statistics Teacher from Mary Institute County Day School ( an amazing School in St. Louis) talk about the Flat Classroom Project - she does a great job of describing the structure.  The audio is a bit soft but you can hear it if you turn it all the way up!



Minhaaj ur Rehman, Pakistan presents his views as a judge



Then, just got an email from Joan Huntley, at Stonehill International School in India, an attendee of the Flat Classroom Conference and participant in NetGenEd.

"I'm not sure if I mentioned this or not, but we have two nice collaborations going between our school and George Haines in New York as a result of my meeting George and talking to him at the Qatar conference. One project is with Kate Dickson, our music teacher, where the kids will collaborate on writing an song and then we will vote on it at the end. The other is a project with Mark Dufff, our Humanities teacher, where students from each school are annotating historical and geographical features of their home country (on Google Maps) and at the end the students will study the other country and give a presentation. We set up Nings for both. It's a first time working with the music teachers who were tentative at first about the technology etc.

PS Here are the Nings
http://gomakemusic.ning.com/
http://takeourtour.ning.com/"
Although Julie and I are having to trademark the Flat Classroom name, so that we can raise money to support the conference and projects with some much needed support (we need some back end help on this as it is growing past what we can do as a hobby,) flattening classrooms is something that is for all of us.

We are all a part of this.  Each of us has another way that we are connecting with others, through twitter.

Truly, this is just one of many grassroots collaborations emerging from teachers around the world.  We would never say that we are somehow the only ones doing this, we are not.  However, when opportunities present, we will always share and talk about the need for such collaboration.  The need to share.  The need to connect our classrooms with others.

It is about who you are letting IN!  Who are you connecting your students to?

Does your curriculum director have a world map on their wall?  Are your students collaborating within your school?  Within your district?  Within your state?  Within your nation?  AND around the world?

Students are the greatest textbook ever written for one another.  We must truly be about the business of building the bridges that society of tomorrow will walk across.

Truly, so much of our obstacle is systemic.  Although when speaking, sometimes I get administrators, IT directors, and even teachers who bristle at the tough statements - as a whole I believe that educators, administrators, and IT directors are good people doing a thankless job that is very very hard.

And our system attempts to keep us stuck in the industrial age.  From industrial age testing to huge pyramidal bureaucracies that require layers of approval to somehow personnel decisions (like which teachers don't deserve access to many things) being put on IT directors and curricular decisions (like which websites are accessible in classes) onto IT.  We have some huge systemic problems that must be addressed to unleash the great, innovative, ideas that I believe are itching to get out in many schools.


Are you considering how and where it is appropriate to flatten your classroom. The amazing thing is that with a visionary teacher, they can customize and fit such projects into your curriculum for you.



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