One of my goals at this NECC is to find some ideas to contribute to the Global Awareness and Technology project that will be required of our 5th and 8th graders.
We need to start by expanding the thinking of both the teachers and the curriculum specialists guiding the project beyond the usual research-the-country, create-the-slide-show format.
And that is why I sat in on the Global Connections and Flat Classroom: Ideals in a Web 2.0 World discussion at EduBloggerCon.
Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay talked about the connection between their two classes in which students reflected on Tom Friedman’s concept of CQ (curiosity quotient) + PQ (passion quotient) > IQ. In other words, only being smart isn’t enough anymore.
The real power of their Flat Classroom project is that Vicki’s students are in Georgia and Julie’s students are in Bangladesh and used a variety of communications tools to accomplish their tasks. The Horizon project adds students in more countries.
There’s a lot more to all this than I could possibly learn about in this short discussion, so I much more exploring of my own to do.
However, I can already see two major problems that must be addressed if our initiative is to be of any value to our students.
We first need to get many of our teachers and administrators around their fear of allowing any student communications outside the firewall. In today’s world, how can our kids possibly learn anything meaningful about people living in cultures other than their own without actually talking to them?
And the second is scaling this kind of project to the size required for our overly-large school district.
Oh, and we have to do something about the name (I still hate having the word “technology” in there) and the idea that a project like this should be restricted to two years during the student’s nine year passage to high school.
I’m not sure which of these challenges is going to be the most difficult.