My notes on the Global Connections and Flat Classroom Ideals in a Web 2.0 World session.

Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay connected first through the 2006 K-12 Online Conference. Vicki had her students blog on Friedman’s CQ + PQ > IQ – Vicki commented on their posts. Julie contacted Vicki and said “Wouldn’t it be interesting to have our students talk about this book?” They joined their classes and the first project began.

Important element: Students outsourced part of the video to their partner. Researched the trends and experiencing the trends.

The Flat Classroom Project came out of Vicki’s need to let go of giving tests – moving to project-based learning – and Julie’s foresight of the power of the interactions between their students.

The Imperative: Students must be able to connect with others around the world. Must be able to collaborate and build bridges with others in other cultures.

International Baccalaureate Programs – rather than talk about international projects they focus on:

Communication
Holistic education
Multiculturalism

What defines an effective international project?

Project-based built on constructivist approach
Interdisciplinary project-based learning
Student collaborating in both asynchronous and synchronous environments
One rubric – based on NETS standards and content area standards
Lead person (administrator) has to trust those below and let them do their thing

Work on similar or parallel projects and come together at the end for a collaborative culmination

Outcomes:

Improvement in cultural understanding
Improvement of critical thinking skills
Enhanced communication skills
Research skills – use of Web 2.0 skills
Measurable problem solving abilities

This was an excellent session that provided much food for thought.

I would add constructionism and connectivism to broaden the theoretical foundation. Not only are students creating their own understanding (constructivism), but they are creating a product (constructionism) within a social network (connectivism). Global collaborative projects have so much potential to enable our students to tap into the creativity that they seem to be losing in the midst of our current educational environment … more on that later.

Thanks Vicki and Julie!

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