As the flat classroom projects enter the final weeks, levels of anxiety start to run rather high amongst the student body – anger, frustration, confusion, indecision, lack of understanding, complacency are many of the emotions and feelings that run high at this stage.
So, as a teacher I need to coax, cajole, coach, encourage, teach all over again, explain, facilitate, survive etc to keep the project’s momentum going.
•get angry when a wiki war means that they have lost their hard earned work that had been added to their group page on the wiki, or worse still, their outsourced video request has disappeared!
•get frustrated as they don’t think they know what they are doing (and I know that they don’t!)
•don’t know what to put in their video
•do not follow appropriate wiki netiquette
•show some indiscretions in relation to digital citizenship
•have not had an outsourced video completed for them
•real time pressures (almost too much to bear) are experienced
To make matters worse, this year, a severe gastroenteritis went through our school with fierce tenacity, crippling it to a near halt, with more than 40% of the student body away for several days over a two or three week time period. With so many interruptions, I wondered “What am I doing here again!”
But then…….the magic begins!
•the student summits are held when students can enter the virtual classroom with their global class mates, talk and chat to each other in real time, work in an immediate virtual team, collaborate on the elluminate whiteboard to work out what outsourced video clips each student required and who would do them.
•At home, amazed parents sit near their student who has come online after school hours to be in the student summit with fellow students from Germany, China, USA, the Middle East etc. The flatclassroom is now highly evident.
•the outsourced videos start to filter on to the ning and there is real excitement in the classroom again
•Students who had been quite frustrated and downcast, exceptionally quiet in the classroom are suddenly stopping me in the corridors telling me about the wonderful clip that has been made for them
•Last minute preparations of final videos, mean that the year 9/10 students come into the computer lab to complete their work at lunchtimes.
•Their interested friends are in there too, to see what is going on and the room just buzzes!!!
•By now, they have learnt the skills of wiki editing, ning socializing, uploading the videos to the ning for final judging
•A high sense of achievement and increased confidence is evident.
Thank you Julie and Vicki for making this all possible – an amazing project to be involved in, at the cutting edge of both technology and education…… and already I cant wait to be involved in the next project. Students are enrolling for their electives for next year and are already coming up and asking, “Will we be doing the flatclassroom project?”
G'day! I am a secondary teacher in a small rural prep to year 12 school in Australia. I teach Information Technology and Accounting and am passionate about learning, immersing technology in the classroom, rural education and global education.
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