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Friday, June 04, 2010

Redefining "World Class"

While many are arguing about standardized tests and complaining about the things that are wrong, there are pioneers out there reinventing what it means to be educated. They are collaborating and traveling virtually and now, there are some that are literally moving the classroom every semester for twelve semesters.

Yes, if you haven't heard of it, THINK Global Schools opens their "doors" this Fall in Stockholm Sweden and then on to Australia and then to Beijing.  I had the opportunity to spend time with Aaron Solomon (CEO) and  Mike Hourahine (CTO) of this progressive program.  These students will not only be using social media but will be traveling to twelve different cities each semester of high school to learn and experience.  What a concept!  Of course, this isn't for everyone and it was exciting to hear their discussions about eventual plans for "flattening" and we're planning to work with them in some ways in the future (not all kids can travel but we can all learn from them.)

This is an exciting time in education for those who are reinventing it. It is discouraging for those who have budget cuts and are at the end of the year and worn out.  But over the summer, I challenge you to consider how you can either follow others who are traveling to learn vicariously or reinvent what you're doing.  Look at the opportunities.

In full disclosure, I was on the call with Aron and Mike due to their support of what we're doing with the Flat Classroom Conference 2011 in Beijing as we just filed the paperwork today to take the Flat Classroom Conference and Projects non profit.  With Ning charging and the huge demand for grassroots, genuine global collaborative projects that allow teachers to customize but that also evolve we're working to try to keep things available to everyone as much as we can.  We've never charged for these projects and have paid for everything out of our pockets but at this point we're going to have to take this to the next level for growth but also to keep things going.  Think Global Schools along with our existing sponsors Elluminate and Wikispaces, believe in this vision to link up students and classrooms from diverse backgrounds and we're very grateful for their support and actively talking to other organizations that fit with our mission and vision to provide the support and financing to help these projects become better and to share more.

But really, this post wasn't going to be about what Julie and I are doing, but really on how intriguing it is that Think Global School is even possible.  Every student will have an iPhone, a MacBook and perhaps even an iPad as they travel and in the fall they will begin their learning curve.  As this model is worked out, it is realistic to expect that hybrids of this sort of program will emerge with some travel and some virtual learning experiences.  The world is literally our classroom, particularly for those who want a world-class education. 

For truly, if you leave the world out of your classroom you cannot have "world-class," now, can you?

Here is how you may link up with them. I hope they will keep all of us posted and that those of you who are skeptics will realize that this is part of the evolution of education. Learn from it or be left behind.

TGS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TGSTHINKGlobal
TGS on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/thinkglobalschool
TGS blog: http://blog.thinkglobalschool.com
And of course, http://thinkglobalschool.com
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