Flattening Our Classroom

      When I was initially introduced to Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis in one of my very first University of Northern Iowa instructional technology graduate classes last summer with Dr. Leigh Zeitz, I was very excited about their Flat Classroom concept. However, being an elementary teacher I was disappointed that all of the current projects at that time were for students in the upper grades. I knew that I wanted my students to have the experiences that connecting and collaborating globally can offer; I just wasn’t sure how to provide that opportunity for them.
     Julie held a Flat Classroom Workshop in St. Louis last summer which I virtually participated in to seek more knowledge on how to flatten my classroom. It was wonderful, however the opportunity presented itself for me to travel to Beijing, China for the 2011 Flat Classroom Conference and I jumped on it. Seven fellow graduate students and I signed up for what turned itself into an Applied Instructional Design class that would have us presenting at the conference held February 25-27th at Julie Lindsay’s current school, Beijing BISS International School. During the conference, I was also able to facilitate student groups formed of kids from various countries and this was where the intense inspiration came. Their assignment was to come up with a global collaborative idea they would like seen done. The initiative these students had to break down any language, personality, and technology barriers almost immediately and begin working on each task was amazing. I want for my students to feel that kind of motivation. As I followed the “Week in the Life” wiki last fall, I was thrilled that Julie had piloted an elementary Flat Classroom project and I am now so excited to have my 3rd grade class participating.
Global collaborative projects like this one fully incorporate all of the 21st Century technology skills that our new Iowa Core Curriculum mandates. I am also able to integrate the project into our existing social studies curriculum as the theme coincides with communities. My students and I are very eager to collaborate and learn together with all of you around the world.

About A Week in the Life

Flat Classroom Project for Elementary students across the world called 'A Week in the Life' Teachers in the project post about their experiences managing and collaborating.
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One Response to Flattening Our Classroom

  1. Jami, so pleased you are able to join us for the project. Well done for embedding this into your curriculum already, it is easier than being an ‘add-on’ activity. Good luck!

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