Ok…sit down before you check this out.
If you want to see the potential of what we can do with this stuff, take a look at what Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have created in their Flat Classroom Project. Julie, who is at the International School Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Vicki who is at Westwood High in Georgia, have collaborated on an amazing undertaking that will connect their kids in a study of the 10 Flattners from Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. In small groups comprised of students from both schools, they’ll be taking the next few weeks to really dig into what’s happening in the two countries from a global perspective and report out in a variety of ways using Read/Write Web tools. In the end, if the grading rubric is any indication, these kids will know a heck of a lot more about their places in the world, the complexities of the age, and the ways in which these tools are changing the way we do business in more than one sense.
Pinch me, but is there all of a sudden a little string of interesting examples of Read/Write Web projects coming together? I know…this example in particular is the result of some amazing and intensive planning. (Did I mention the rubric?) But it makes clear what I think are the two most important aspects of using these tools…first, we have to stop seeing our classrooms as spaces with four walls. Teachers must be willing to be connectors. And second, in the context of those connections, we can give our students real, meaningful, relevant opportunities to teach the rest of us what they know. The fact that the work of these students will be published in its many forms to the world as a whole is just so radically removed from the ways most educators still look at what happens in the classroom. If we are simply content to shuffle paper back and forth only for the sake of slapping an assessment on the work, we are doing our students a grave disservice.
Go and listen to the voices of these kids. (And don’t forget the rubric.) And trumpet this work far and wide. Perhaps Thomas Friedman, who actually sent Julie an e-mail acknowledging the project, will be impressed enough to really give this community a boost (like maybe an op-ed piece in the New York Times???)
Congratulations Julie and Vicki…can’t wait to see what happens next.
technorati tags:wiki, education, learning, The_World_is_Flat, Thomas_Friedman
Judy O'Connell says
This is outstanding! Just tomorrow I am running a workshop on learning and Web 2.0. I will show participants this project, because it epitomises the best in connectivism through exploring some really important and fascinating issues via Web 2.0 – and across the globe too! Love your work Julie and Vicki! Thanks for the inspiration. Judy
Julie Lindsay says
Hi Will, thanks for your very supportive and encouraging comments. We are excited about where this project will take us. This is a great opportunity for us and our students for cultural interaction and to share ideas, lifestyles and ICT best practice with Web 2.0 tools. And we are having fun! What more can you ask for with a ‘classroom’ project?
Vicki Davis says
We’re very excited about this project and appreciate your kind remarks. It was great to meet you in person two weeks a go at GAETC and your words really confirmed and enhanced many of the things Julie and I were working on as I was at the conference. Thank you for begin a visionary!
David Walker says
I don’t think reading can “die” when projects like this one, and clearly others, are out and about. I really like what you say about teachers as connectors and classrooms without walls. It becomes clearer all the time that the old familiar ways are dying, however slowly. The Flat Classroom seems to do more to replicate the world our students will be in when they graduate than most of what they experience in regular classrooms.
Pat Aroune says
Outstanding!!! I will be running a staff meeting with several energetic teachers tomorrow morning and will show them this site as a means of keeping their “eye on the prize”. Will, thanks for bringing this to my attention. Julie and Vicki, you are what I aspire to be, keep up this tremendous work.
Melissa Brumsted says
I have to say, as an aspiring library teacher working & student teaching in an urban K-8 school, it’s inspiring to read enthusiastic comments from others about this kind of a project. School cultures can get pretty dire sometimes and I am a bundle of enthusiasm after my technology class each week. Projects like this one give me hope in a lot of ways. Here’s to thinking positive and making a difference in the world…but not without our students leading the way!
this is an absolutely wonderful way to include technology and the world – all at one time ! would just like to share another idea that we at Riverside have done with technology. to get my grade 6 students to get more familiar with blogging and uploading images, we got them to go ‘site seeing’ with a traveler friend of the school. he travels extensively and so we set up a webblog – http://www.dineshontheroad.blogspot.com and got him to quiz kids, provide hints and post photos while being our ears and eyes on location. our kids then got to know more about the place ( in this case – barcelona ) while never leaving their classroom in india. they were asked to locate his hotel on the city map of barcelona ( map reading ) and plan his itinerary for the day ( prioritizing ) and they also became aware of the gaudi tour and picasso’s museum. comments??
C. Watson says
I’m relatively new to web 2.0 but very excited about the possibilities (or should I say realities). Next semester at Punahou School, my students and I will be using blogs, wikis, and Moodle. I’m also excited for a visit from Marco Torres in February, and integrating the kind of work he’s going to show us. What I found particularly helpful on this wiki was the rubric. I’ve been trying to articulate with colleagues the difference between, say, essay writing, and online writing before I ask my students to do it. This helps, along with a previous post about writing for RSS. Thanks.
Very cool example of teachers giving their students the opportunity to adapted to our flatting world but Julie’s and Vicky’s rubric looks more like a checklist than a rubric. Just thought I’d mention this since you emphasize how much you like the “rubric.”
Vicki Davis says
It may LOOK like a checklist but it has a rubric behind it. Wikis don’t do very well with tables. I’ve found if you show students the “fine shades” what is 5 points 10 points and 15 points – kids tend to gravitate to the grade they want. Kids should be asked to shoot for the top and not be incentivized to pull a mediocre so perhaps yes, it is “missing” the three or four steps that I have on my rubric here, it is still nonetheless the wiki depiction of my grading rubric. Thanks!