Thursday, April 26, 2012

Global Learning Experience-Flat Classroom Project
Last semester when I was taking Emerging Instructional Technologies with Dr. Z, we participated in the Flat Classroom Project. The Flat Classroom Project is a global collaborative project that connects middle and high school students from local and international schools. It is based on the collectivist view of education, the principle of a "multi-modal learning environment that is student centered and a level playing field for teacher to student and student to teacher interaction," (FCP, 2012). Students were to explore the 10 "flatteners" described in Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat (2005), and create a wiki page devoted to exploring examples of this flattener in different spectrums of our society. These topics included politics, education, science and medicine, and more.

I LOVED my role in FCP. The students I was involved with were in the project to win, or at least connect personally with the project and really put in great effort. Our topic was Web 2.0 and how it has helped to flatten the world, particularly on the social spectrum. I helped to guide my team when they were editing their wiki, through comments and suggestions about information accuracy, organization, and grammar, usage and mechanics. I felt very proud for being an expert advisor to my group, because they really wowed me with how much they knew about how Web 2.0 has played a role in globalization. This was such a validating experience because I got to see how the students responded to my comments, and how they really looked at me as an expert to give them advice and tips on how to make their project even better.

During the judging portion of the experience, I got to judge many final videos (none from my team) and give feedback and comments to the students. This was SO awesome, because the range of approaches that students took in making the videos shows an immense array of creativity. Some groups played it relatively safe with their video approach, simply explaining how the flattener related to the world generally. Other groups used real-life examples of what globalization is accomplishing, like the first place winner here:

First Place  
Title of video: 4.E.3 The Changing Shape of Information: Group Stories 
Emily W Masco, Boxford, MA United States

Judges comments: "You chose an excellent topic on which to construct your video. I was very impressed with the level of editing and organization, as well as the content itself. The focus on the Arab Springs situation was a perfect example of how uploading has become prevalent all over the world today. You really took the global perspective to a higher degree, and did a very good job with your information." and "The student chose to apply her understanding of the importance of uploading to things happening on a global scale. Not only did the student inform the audience of the power of uploading in social media, she informed us of the power that uploading and global connections hold in very dire situations." Alison Leytem

I was a judge for the winning video, and my comment was featured on the FCP 11-3 webpage. You can watch Emily's video, and all the other winning videos from the FCP I participated in here:

Flat Classroom Project showed me how enthusiastic students seem to be about the opportunity to collaborate with other students around the world on a collective endeavor. I was so proud of my group, and of all of the students who participated. They showed me how global education is capable of bringing different people together to create a real project, a real movement, and a real change.

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