As I live in a small country area, I have experienced many times the isolation, the missed opportunities that my counterparts in cities enjoy readily and the full networking opportunities that so often require face to face contact.
Technology has changed all that and having learnt so much, personally, from being part of the Flat Classroom Projects, I have experienced first hand how classroom walls can be broken down and the barriers of distance and isolation removed.
One vivid memory that I have is of students working in small groups at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, interacting and actively working with a student from Korea using skype in real time. He sat next to them in a laptop screen. They were one group, one team despite one student being virtual and the others face to face. For them there were no walls, their classroom was flat.
It is with pride that I take on the role of co Co-ordinator of the Flat Classroom Conference for virtual participants together with Jason Graham. This conference features teachers, students, educationalists and virtual participants in the form of students and teachers. The participation can be at two levels:-
- Full involvement – part of an actual team etc producing an outcome synchronously See this wiki page for more information and fill in this form
- Partial involvement – attending when you can, adding to the discussions on the ning or wiki, viewing the livestream or google hangouts when possible, microblogging, adding comments etc There is no need to fill in a form. Follow the twitter stream and the following hashtags #flatclass2013, #flatclass. Make sure you follow the following on twitter @flatclassroom, Julie Lindsay (@julielindsay), Jason Graham (@jasongraham99 and me, Anne Mirtschin, @murcha, Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) and Kim Cofino (@kimcofino) amongst others.
We are still looking for more participants. If you feel you would like to experience first hand, a real flat classroom experience as a level 1 participant fill in the form, (see above) or if a level 2 participant we would love to hear from you if you leave a comment on this blog post. What questions do you have?
This is an exciting opportunity, one that I am looking forward to, but a little nervous about as so much is unknown and virtual. Further posts will be written with updates.