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Presentation for the 'Kicking it Up a Notch' strand

Telling the World: Flat Classroom Student Summit in Practice

The world is their audience, literally, when high school students embark on a Flat Classroom Project. As a culmination to the 12 week global collaborative project students have the opportunity to present their research and findings in real time through a virtual classroom. Guests internationally are invited to attend and ask questions and interact with the students. This experience goes beyond the usual classroom sharing model and promotes awareness of the scope of a global audience, confidence in public speaking and enhanced cultural exchange. This session shares highlights from recent Flat Classroom Student Summits and provides a pedagogical approach that allows safe collaboration and sharing and pushes the limits of classroom experience into a blended 21st century and Web 2.0 model.

This session showcases student work from the Flat Classroom project and shows how students present their research and learning to an international audience. Using a virtual classroom, Elluminate, students from around the world present to their peers and to educators and guests and field questions. The aim of this session is to show how powerful an online learning community is and how Web 2.0 tools can support and enhance the learning experience globally.

This presentation fits into the 'Kicking it Up a Notch' strand as it shows how real-time global collaboration is possible for students. It also shows how having a global stage as a platform for learning output supports alternative assessment models and provides real-world experiences for students at high school level. This presentation supports "Bridging the Divide" by sharing how student's work from around the world, (research and output) can be brought to a global audience. It also shows how by implementing opportunities like an online student summit, intentional as well as unintentional learning occurs in ways that can be unpredictable but provide a bridge to better understanding of different cultures and systems.

Questions for discussion:

  1. How are you 'flattening' your school and/or classroom by providing synchronous meetings between students globally? Is this considered important? desired? necessary? by you? your colleagues? your administration?
  2. If experiences such as Flat Classroom Summits promote global citizenship and enhanced cultural understanding, how can we embed this practice into what we do everyday as educators? What has to change in education to make this possible?
  3. Is it really possible to have an asynchronous online learning community when we see how powerful this virtual real-time handshake can be to all participants? What are the essential challenges of blending both asynchronous and synchronous modes across the world?
I welcome your comments!

Presentation for the 'Leading the Change' strand

Learning Confluence: Where Philosophy Meets Practice in the 21st Century

Current accepted forms of professional development provide opportunities for small bites and quick-fix solutions but do not encourage immersion, ongoing conversations and collaborative sharing of experiences. Adoption of a learning confluence amongst educators can and will make a difference within a school and extend the learning beyond the immediate environment. Based on recent practice at an international school, a model of teacher engagement and improved pedagogical approach has been developed that leads the way into transformed learning in the classroom. Using a face-to-face meeting format, including expert advisers and a virtual component, educators extended their learning boundaries and embraced constructivism with the purpose of challenging themselves to 'lean into the sharp edges' of 21st century education.

Highlights include an overview of the learning confluence approach, it's impact and best-practice examples for changed teacher practice. In addition, I share the culmination of a local TEDx event and a video series of educators within the school who shared their tenacity and determination for shifted practice. The inclusion of a 'flattened' learning environment where a school community does not learn in isolation is also a significant message for change and necessary innovation.

This presentation is aimed at those who are ready to take on more, in fact take the next step towards shifting their practice to include new ideas, tools and embedded 21st century Web 2.0 pedagogy. It includes case-study examples from a K-12 international school where educators and administrators came together from within and included those beyond to discuss the impact of research, changes in pedagogy and new tech tools with a view to improved learning through connecting and collaborating locally and globally. It shows how other schools world-wide can follow this successful model of immersion into a social learning environment that fosters collaboration and sharing as pre-requisites for knowledge construction.

Resources: 21st Century Learners and 21st Century Teachers
See E-Learning Journey's for a more detailed blog post about this presentation.

Questions for Discussion:

1. How are you encouraging a 'learning confluence' in your current professional educational environment? How does this align with professional development goals?
2. What does it meant to be a 21st century learner? How has the impact of emerging technologies changed the definition of learning?
3. How important is change in education? How do we best support innovation and change while maintaining sustainability and quality?