Flat Classroom Workshop at 21C Learning Conference Hong Kong

September 2009

Press release May, 2009

Co-founders of the Flat Classroom Project and the Flat Classroom Conference, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis, announce the Flat Classroom Workshop as a strand of the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong.
The theme of the conference is 'Extending tomorrow's leaders with digital learning' and will be held at the Hong Kong International School Tai Tam Campus, Thursday, September 17th - Saturday September 19th 2009.

This exciting student-based strand will give attendees an authentic experience in seeing 21st Century Learning in action, something lacking from other education for a new century conferences. Facilitators Julie Lindsay and Kim Cofino have a wealth of experience in engaging students in authentic, global projects so this strand will be a big highlight of the conference.

Interested teachers and schools are requested to read the 21C Learning Conference Flat Classroom Workshop website
and fill in this form to be on our mailing list for updates about the event. Registration is also open for teachers.
Contact Flat Classroom Workshop organisers at flatclassroomproject@gmail.com for more information.
You are also invited to join the
21C Learning Hong Kong Ning

What is a flat classroom? How do you effectively embed 21st century learning, knowledge, skills and attitudes into the curriculum? How can we successfully integrate global understanding and collaboration? How can emerging technologies and mobile computing be best employed for sustained learner engagement?

What is the Flat Classroom Workshop?

The Flat Classroom Workshop is a 2.5 day strand of the 21CL Conference in Hong Kong. The aim of the workshop is to bring together geographically dispersed teachers and students with a view to learning about Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools in a flattened learning environment while working on a project theme that can be transplanted back into their home school. The selected theme will inspire unity and action as well as fostering continued connections after the event in Hong Kong. It is envisaged this will improve global understanding and cement friendships for ongoing collaborations. It is also envisaged that this will provide an opportunity for students and teachers together to 'create the future' of education by employing best-practice use of emerging technologies, including mobile computing. Through exploration of a global or social issue and developing an 'action' plan to work globally to overcome this participants, both local and virtual, will model 'flat classroom' modes of learning.

What is a project-based workshop format?

The flat classroom workshop theme and pedagogy is based on the successful Flat Classroom Conference Student Summit held in Qatar, January 2009. It was at this event that students were challenged to work in small teams towards a final outcome. While doing this essential tools and methods were used but became ubiquitous to the needs of the outcome. A project-based workshop provides an opportunity for participants to practice the use of essential digital learning modes while constructing. Emphasis is put on what we call the seven 'Cs' to flatten the classroom: connection, communication, citizenship, contribution and collaboration, creation and celebration.

Who Should Attend?

Interested schools who are wanting to move forward using Web 2.0 and mobile computing and learn more about a 'Flat Classroom' experience and pedagogy are invited to send a team of 4-6 participants comprising teachers and students. The workshop is aimed at Middle and High school students (ages 14-17). Workshop teams will be made up of participants from different schools and countries. A holistic, cross-curricular approach makes this experience suitable for all subject areas. Schools unable to attend may apply to participate virtually. More information will be available about this upon application.

What will they do?

An essential element of the workshop is to join both teachers and students together in a constructivist learning environment, and by using 'flat classroom' tools, work through a project-based, action-oriented learning workshop. Skill development in Web 2.0 and multimedia tools along with enhanced cultural understanding and digital citizenship support the pedagogical approach to collaborative learning. The skills and tools will provide the scaffolding for developing ideas and putting into place actions that could make a difference to the world.
In summary:
  • Development of skills with Web 2.0 tools including blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, podcasting
  • Educational networking and development of personal learning networks that enhance the learning process and flatten educational experience for all
  • Use of multimedia - honing in on skills that support multimedia creation and global distribution
  • Working within a summit theme that has measurable outcomes and actions for change within a flat world scenario
  • Leadership in a flat world - participants will have the opportunity to assume leadership roles through team work and organisation

Workshop Program (Draft)

The workshop program will be interlinked with the main 21CL@HK conference with opportunities for interactions and joint sessions (noted as plenary sessions below).
Essential features of the workshop include:
  • Cultural scavenger hunt and ice-breaker
  • Action project kick-0ff
  • Telling a compelling story
  • Project pitch and action plan feedback (plenary)
  • Multimedia and artifact creation
  • Team presentations (plenary)
  • Guest speakers and student presentations
  • Links with virtual partners

Modes of working include:
  • Educational networking through a Ning
  • Other Web 2.0 tools for ubiquitous learning (RSS, social bookmarking)
  • Use of a backchannel
  • UStream and interaction with virtual partners
  • 'Elevator' style presentations and discussions
  • Rubric-based evaluation sessions with time for reflection and refinement of ideas
  • Development of multimedia artifacts - outsourced contributions
  • Team-based decision making and collaboration

International Participants

Non-Hong Kong schools are warmly encouraged to attend as this event is designed to celebrate diversity and model best-practice global collaboration. International students will be billeted (hosted) in Hong Kong student homes. Registration costs will be kept to a minimum for student and teacher participation in this event.

Contact Julie Lindsay at flatclassroomproject@gmail.com and fill in this form with expressions of interest and to receive more details about the workshop

Meet the Flat Classroom Co-founders and Workshop Presenters

The 21CL@HK Flat Classroom Workshop will be co-lead by Julie Lindsay and Kim Cofino.

Flat Classroom co-founders Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis have co-created award winning global collaborative projects linking over 1000 students in more than 40 classrooms within the last 3 years.
More information about Flat Classroom Projects, including featured awards and events http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/About

Julie Lindsay, MA (Music) and MA (Educational Technology Leadership) is an enthusiastic, global-minded education leader and innovator. Originally from Australia, Julie has been working internationally for over 11 years in Zambia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Qatar and soon China. She is a regular presenter and recognized worldwide for her innovative programs using a wide array of Web 2.0 tools and ubiquitous mobile technology programs to transform learning for the emerging digital, "world-is-flat" educational landscape. She blogs at E-Learning Journeys http://123elearning.blogspot.com More details available on her digital portfolio at http://julielindsay.wikispaces.com

Vicki Davis is a teacher and the IT director at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia. Vicki blogs at the Cool Cat Teacher blog http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ , best teacher blog in 2008 by the Edublog awards. Vicki is a Google Certified Teacher and Discovery S.T.A.R. Educator and has been featured in various media including the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and educational journals such as Edutopia, Technology & Learning, and Learning & Leading. Vicki lives in Camilla, Georgia with her three children and husband, Kip.
Full bio:http://coolcatteacher.wikispaces.com/About+Me

Kim Cofino - Originally from the US, Kim has nearly 10 years of experience in international schools and is currently the 21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School Bangkok. Her work focuses on helping core subject teachers utilize Web 2.0 technologies in the elementary classroom and creating a global and collaborative approach to learning. Her inquiry-based, constructivist approach to teaching utilizes project-based learning experiences developed using the Understanding by Design process. Kim regularly consults with other international schools interested in implementing 21st century learning, has been profiled on a number of educational websites and journals, and has spoken at conferences and professional development sessions throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. Her professional blog, Always Learning (http://mscofino.edublogs.org), is an invaluable resource for teachers seeking examples of authentic student engagement.

What is the Flat Classroom Project?

The Flat Classroom project is a ground breaking, internationally recognized project which combines hundreds of students from various cultures, countries, and backgrounds into a meaningful collaborative writing and digital storytelling project to study the trends in information technology. After the initial project won multiple international awards and was included in Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat v.3,__ it has been remixed into 11 different projects following the same model. These projects have joined together almost 2,000 students from more than 20 countries and is widely considered a best-practice for as a holistic and constructivist educational approach that creates students who are competitive and globally minded.

The project was co-founded by Vicki Davis http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com (Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay http://123elearning.blogspot.com (Qatar Academy, Qatar) in 2006 when they were located literally around the world from one another. This project uses a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools including wikis, educational (social) networks, cross-timezone calendaring, collaborative digital storytelling and publishing to "flatten" or lower the classroom walls to join two or more classes virtually to become one large classroom.

A little more about the current projects:

  • Flat Classroom Project - The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman. Students collaborate on a wiki then produce an individual multimedia piece in response to their topic. A clip in this piece is 'outsourced' to a team member in another classroom, so not only do students study the flatteners as discussed by Friedman, they use them in the project.
  • As a sister to the Flat Classroom Project the Horizon Project, as mentioned in Don Tapscott's recent book, Grown Up Digital now renamed as the Net Generation Education project and run in collaboration with Tapscott himself, also lowers or 'flattens' the classroom walls by emphasizing connection, communication, collaboration and creativity as well as higher-order thinking skills and problem solving. This project is based on the Horizon Report released annually by New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiate that outlines 6 trends they believe will be impacting college and university campuses within the next five years.
  • A further imitative recently is the Digiteen Project which has linked classrooms of middle school students from Australia, Canada, USA, Spain, China, Bangladesh and Qatar with the aim of promoting better online citizenship through research and discussion and culminates in each school taking action within their own community to promote this.