Over 400 students representing 6 different countries are busy at work communicating and collaborating.  Much of their discussion and research revolves around the idea of various flatteners from Thomas Friedman's book - The World Is Flat.  The current phase of the project involves student research and collaboration.  Students are consistently contributing and editing each other's work on the Flat Classroom Project Wiki and will eventually move into the creation phase of the project.  The creation phase of the project will involve the authentic experience of sharing outsource video clips to help enrich each other's final work.  

It is wonderful to see all the tremendous contributions by students and the collaborative discussions taking place.  While students have used a Ning to introduce themselves and blog their initial "handshakes", they now communicate and collaborate using the project wiki.  Both tools have been vital in their purpose to bring students together in a professional environment.  The project is also witnessing students taking leadership roles in their efforts to encourage quality research and collaboration within the project.  This week is a great week to see 21st century skills and learning in action!  

Flat Classroom® in conjunction with THINK Global School are excited to announce the formation of a Global Student Leadership Forum. After months of planning, the forum will be launched at the upcoming Global Education Conference when students will meet online and exchange ideas and plans for future development.

What are the aims?
The aim of the Forum is to to encourage students (High School - Gr 9-12) to gather in a formal capacity to discuss issues and propose future directions for the world. It is also to provide a place for students to form an online community that will support and foster active discussion and interaction with a view to sharing resources, ideas and collaborate on actions globally.
Virtual classroom and community networking tools and other resources will provide opportunities for students from all parts of the world to come together as a global forum virtually (and where possible in real time). The purpose of this is to:

  • Foster leadership skills amongst young people
  • Provide opportunities to interact online and therefore become adept at using virtual tools for interactions and co-creation
  • Encourage global conversations about real world topics and global issues
  • Encourage discussion about possible solutions to global issues and foster action projects

This Forum will be student driven and students will determine the mission, goals, meeting times and agendas, as well as topics and actions.
Is is envisioned that connections will be made around the world and a meaningful group of caring and committed young leaders will develop creative and compassionate solutions and actions to identified global and local problems.

Who is this for?
We want students from all over the world who are in Grades 9-12 (upper middle school, high school) to come and join this forum. We want student leaders who have a voice and ideas and are creative with discussing and proposing solutions. We want students who want to learn more about the world by connecting with other students through discussions and online forums and sharing of resources. Is this you? Come and join in!

How do you get involved?
There are TWO ways you can get involved right now:
1. Come to the online ‘launch’ of the Global Student to be held during the Global Education Conference on Thursday November 15 at 8pm GMT, (see schedule in your time zone). This will be an opportunity for students to start the building the forum from the ground up. This session will be hosted by student leaders from THINK Global School.
2. Add your name and details to this online form and we will be in contact about how to join the online community and when the next real time virtual meetings will take place.

Teachers, we ask that you pass on this information to your students and encourage them to join. Regular virtual meetings will take place in a dedicated Blackboard Collaborate room and an online social network, SPOTX, developed by THINK Global School will provide the means for ongoing asynchronous communication and sharing of media. It is envisioned that real-time meetups will also eventually take place at places around the world propelled by the needs of the leadership forum. This forum is most suitable for CAS and Community and Service students as well as members of GIN and GISS or other students groups that already work towards joining together to improve the world as we know it.

Please direct inquiries to Julie Lindsay, Flat Classroom Director and Co-founder.
[email protected] @julielindsay

For the second semester, I have brought in a wiki for my student leadership course. I saw another teacher in my school using a wiki in her English course, and when I saw what was happening, I had to try it too! It begins by introducing what a wiki is. I was not surprised this year that many of my students had no idea what a wiki was or what they could be used for. We did a KWL chart (what I Know, what I Want to know, and what I Learned), and the "K" columns were mostly blank. We discussed a common wiki that I was sure most students were familiar with -Wikipedia. The students were also shown some videos about what wikis are"in plain English" to get some background on collaborating using this "new" tool. We set up a class wiki of our very own:
We got through the introductions eventually, and now we are using the wiki everyday! Each student has a personal page to practice adding content and reflecting on coursework and our leadership events. This was a good way to start off and have the students get some practice. We have moved on to group cooperation... Each group (of at least 4 students) has to plan an event for our school (i.e. Thanksgiving feast, fundraisers, school spirit event etc.). Their group had to do their brainstorming/planning on a wiki page that they create. They are able to comment and edit to work together.

We stil have more work to do... I have students that seem to do the majority of the contributions and I have lurkers that read, but do not edit. We have created a wiki criteria checklist (content, organization, layout, collaboration) and my next step will be to revisit the collaboration criteria. We will discuss and decide what our expectations should be and what collaboration should look like. I think by being explicit and involving my students in the discussion will improve the quantity and quality of collaboration in class and online.
Written by Kathy Scarpato
There are tons of pull and push resources in which I gather to share with my staff.  I pull information from places like Twitter,FB, various nings, and even Google Reader.  I am able to decide which materials are relevant to me, ones that I could share with others, and those that I may not need just yet.

I also have resources that I like to push information out to others like Glogster or even blogger where I can assist others with resources and materials that maybe others can utlize.  (At that is what I try to do:)

But how do I pull or push out reflection on what I am trying to accomplish in my little world of professional learning.  Where can I go for that information or how can I send it out to others??  So I have to take some time to think for myself and see what I am doing is really working.  I would like to say yes, but data could say no.  Therefore, I am going to start thinking about how I can pull in reflection on a daily basis and push out my ideas or thoughts to those that may be able to pull in one nugget of information.

I am going to start to keep a OneNote book about my daily reflections and see where it takes me.   I am going to review what I do on a daily basis and then see how I can improve my own professional learning and the learning of others.   There is something important to putting ideas down on to open up a place for new thoughts and I am going to give it a shot!    

Does anyone else feel like they are in a tug of war with ideas??