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Monday, May 18, 2009

Flat Classroom 2010 Mini-conference: Mumbai February 2010 - Join us!



Julie and I are so excited about again building on the Flat Classroom Conference of 2010.  It has been a struggle to continue to find funding and the best fit for us this year is a cooperation with the amazing conference ASB unplugged at the American School of Bombay.  I hope that some of you will join us - and if you came last year that you'll encourage others to take the leap.  This is a project based learning conference where students and teachers work together and separately on meaningful projects as ways to learn about technology and improve our world.  It is always a challenge to pull this together and over the summer we're working to secure funding to help students attend (with scholarship preferences going to schools who have participated in Digiteen, NetGenEd, Flat Classroom, or Horizon.)  The last conference was one of the highlights of my life.  I hope you'll read the information and consider joining us in India!  We all go in two days early and the day before the conference, we set up a tour together.  It is life changing in many ways!

FLAT CLASSROOM WORKSHOP (Mini-Conference) AT ASB UNPLUGGED, February 2010


Co-founders of the Flat Classroom Project and the Flat Classroom Conference, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, in conjunction with the American School of Bombay (ASB), announce the Flat Classroom Workshop and Mini-Conference as a strand of ASB Unplugged 2010.
The one-to-one international learning conference will be held at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, February 25-27, 2010. Interested teachers and schools are requested to read the ASB Unplugged Website and contact Flat Classroom Workshop organisers at flatclassroomproject@gmail.com for more information. You are also invited to join the ASB Unplugged Community Network and the Flat Classroom Group

What is a flat classroom? How do you effectively embed 21st century learning, knowledge, skills and attitudes into the curriculum? How can we successfully integrate global understanding and collaboration? How can emerging technologies and mobile computing be best employed for sustained learner engagement?

What is the Flat Classroom Workshop?

The Flat Classroom Workshop is a 2.5 day strand of the ASB Unplugged Conference. The aim of the workshop is to bring together geographically dispersed teachers and students with a view to learning about Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools in a flattened learning environment while working on a project theme that can be transplanted back into their home school. The selected theme will inspire unity and action as well as fostering continued connections after the event in India. It is envisaged this will improve global understanding and cement friendships for ongoing collaborations. It is also envisaged that this will provide an opportunity for students and teachers together to 'create the future' of education by employing best-practice use of emerging technologies, including mobile computing. Through exploration of a global or social issue and developing an 'action' plan to work globally to overcome this participants, both local and virtual, will model 'flat classroom' modes of learning.

What is a project-based workshop format?

The flat classroom workshop theme and pedagogy is based on the successful Flat Classroom Conference Student Summit held in Qatar, January 2009. It was at this event that students were challenged to work in small teams towards a final outcome. While doing this essential tools and methods were used but became ubiquitous to the needs of the outcome. A project-based workshop provides an opportunity for participants to practice the use of essential digital learning modes while constructing. Emphasis is put on what we call the seven 'Cs' to flatten the classroom: connection, communication, citizenship, contribution and collaboration, creation and celebration.
More information about the event in January 2009 can be found on the conference network at http://flatclassroomconference.ning.com

Who Should Attend?

Interested schools who are wanting to move forward using Web 2.0 and mobile computing and learn more about a 'Flat Classroom' experience and pedagogy are invited to send a team of 4-6 participants comprising teachers and students. The workshop is aimed at Middle and High school students (ages 14-17). Workshop teams will be made up of participants from different schools and countries. A holistic, cross-curricular approach makes this experience suitable for all subject areas. Schools unable to attend may apply to participate virtually. More information will be available about this upon application.

What will they do?

An essential element of the workshop is to join both teachers and students together in a constructivist learning environment, and by using 'flat classroom' tools, work through a project-based, action-oriented learning workshop. Skill development in Web 2.0 and multimedia tools along with enhanced cultural understanding and digital citizenship support the pedagogical approach to collaborative learning. The skills and tools will provide the scaffolding for developing ideas and putting into place actions that could make a difference to the world.
In summary:
  • Development of skills with Web 2.0 tools including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting
  • Educational networking and development of personal learning networks that enhance the learning process and flatten educational experience for all
  • Use of multimedia - honing in on skills that support multimedia creation and global distribution
  • Working within a summit theme that has measurable outcomes and actions for change within a flat world scenario
  • Leadership in a flat world - participants will have the opportunity to assume leadership roles through team work and organisation

Workshop Program (Draft)

The workshop program will be interlinked with the main ASB Unplugged conference with opportunities for interactions and joint sessions (noted as plenary sessions below).
Essential features of the workshop include:
  • Cultural scavenger hunt and ice-breaker
  • Action project kick-0ff
  • Telling a compelling story
  • Project pitch and action plan feedback (plenary)
  • Multimedia and artifact creation
  • Team presentations (plenary)
  • Guest speakers and student presentations
  • Links with virtual partners

Modes of working include:
  • Educational networking through a Ning
  • Other Web 2.0 tools for ubiquitous learning (RSS, social bookmarking)
  • Use of a backchannel
  • UStream and interaction with virtual partners
  • 'Elevator' style presentations and discussions
  • Rubric-based evaluation sessions with time for reflection and refinement of ideas
  • Development of multimedia artifacts - outsourced contributions
  • Team-based decision making and collaboration

What is the Flat Classroom Conference? Why is this event called a Mini-Conference?

The inaugural Flat Classroom Conference was held in Qatar, January 2009, and brought more than 150 education leaders, teachers and students together to Qatar to envision the future of education. Students and teachers from very diverse backgrounds such as Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United States, China, Australia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Ethiopia, South Africa, and beyond came to the Leadership Workshop and Student Summit. The student videos and reflections on the conference website (http://flatclassroomconference.ning.com) show the positive affect that the conference had on reducing stereotypes, not only of the Middle East, but of one another.
This conference was primarily a project-based conference using the latest in educational research in project based learning to rework how content is delivered in a conference format. Using small teams, group presentations, and multiple interactions between students and educators, a rich, interactive environment evolved. Multimedia was a focus, with students exploring topics and creating rich presentations. Many presenters, educators, and students have expressed their favorable opinion in their post-conference reflections of the need to deploy this method of improving education on a global basis.
The next full Flat Classroom Conference will be in 2011. In the meantime regional workshops and mini-conference events will be organised as opportunities arise. The ASB Unplugged event in India will be the only occasion for the 2010 year where both Vicki and Julie are able to be together to co-run the event.

What is the Flat Classroom Project?

The Flat Classroom project is a ground breaking, internationally recognized project which combines hundreds of students from various cultures, countries, and backgrounds into a meaningful collaborative writing and digital storytelling project to study the trends in information technology. After the initial project won multiple international awards and was included in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat v.3, it has been remixed into 11 different projects following the same model. These projects have joined together almost 2,000 students from more than 20 countries and is widely considered a best-practice for as a holistic and constructivist educational approach that creates students who are competitive and globally minded.

The project was co-founded by Vicki Davis http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com (Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay http://123elearning.blogspot.com (Qatar Academy, Qatar) in 2006 when they were located literally around the world from one another. This project uses a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools including wikis, educational (social) networks, cross-timezone calendaring, collaborative digital storytelling and publishing to "flatten" or lower the classroom walls to join two or more classes virtually to become one large classroom.
A little more about the current projects:
  • Flat Classroom Project - The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman. Students collaborate on a wiki then produce an individual multimedia piece in response to their topic. A clip in this piece is 'outsourced' to a team member in another classroom, so not only do students study the flatteners as discussed by Friedman, they use them in the project.
  • As a sister to the Flat Classroom Project the Horizon Project, as mentioned in Don Tapscott's recent book, Grown Up Digital now renamed as the Net Generation Education project and run in collaboration with Tapscott himself, also lowers or 'flattens' the classroom walls by emphasizing connection, communication, collaboration and creativity as well as higher-order thinking skills and problem solving. This project is based on the Horizon Report released annually by New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiate that outlines 6 trends they believe will be impacting college and university campuses within the next five years.
  • A further imitative recently is the Digiteen Project which has linked classrooms of middle school students from Australia, Canada, USA, Spain, China, Bangladesh and Qatar with the aim of promoting better online citizenship through research and discussion and culminates in each school taking action within their own community to promote this.

In 2009, the Digiteen and NetGenEd projects are adding a virtual component in OpenSim and have gridizenship added as a component of digital citizenship in their work.

Meet the Presenters and Flat Classroom Co-founders

Flat Classroom co-founders Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have co-created award winning global collaborative projects linking over 1000 students in more than 40 classrooms within the last 3 years.
More information about Flat Classroom Projects, including featured awards and events http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/About
All projects are linked from our portal at http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/

Julie Lindsay, MA (Music) and MA (Educational Technology Leadership) is an enthusiastic, global-minded education leader and innovator. Originally from Australia, Julie has been working internationally for over 11 years in Zambia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Qatar and soon China. She is a regular presenter and recognized worldwide for her innovative programs using a wide array of Web 2.0 tools and ubiquitous mobile technology programs to transform learning for the emerging digital, "world-is-flat" educational landscape. She blogs at E-Learning Journeys http://123elearning.blogspot.com More details available on her digital portfolio at http://julielindsay.wikispaces.com

Vicki Davis is a teacher and the IT director at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia. Vicki blogs at the Cool Cat Teacher blog http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ , best teacher blog in 2008 by the Edublog awards. Vicki is a Google Certified Teacher and Discovery S.T.A.R. Educator and has been featured in various media including the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and educational journals such as Edutopia, Technology & Learning, and Learning & Leading. Vicki lives in Camilla, Georgia with her three children and husband, Kip.
Full bio:http://coolcatteacher.wikispaces.com/About+Me

Selected Awards and Featured Events:
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