How Can We Help? Part 2

Day 2 of Flat Classroom 2013 is ended. WOW!

How our day began!

2013 Flat Classroom Conference

Such energy and fabulous  ideas of how to use Web 2.0 tools to collaborate, create and change our world. We started the day with Future Learning Action Talks(Flats). Alan Levine began by sharing several amazing and inspiring stories including how and why the web was created: to have a common space we can share. But even its creator, Tim Berners-Lee could not have imagined what it has grown into. Today, anybody can link to anything. How will we help our students to create a vision of what they can do to use the web to change the future? Yesterday I was fortunate to attend one of the sessions Alan did on editing sound and creating a story just with sound. Maybe that will be one of the activities I use at summer camp. Here are 2 of the websites he recommended: audacity and free sound.

Sharon Brown-Peters from the American School in Bombay shared next. Sharon’s passion is educational technology and service projects.  Many have seen the following video but if you have never seen it, please take 3 minutes to watch.

Sharon was also sharing her photojournalism project. So often when a disaster happens the media is there, but after the initial crisis who is there to tell the stories of the rebuilding? One of her students has worked on to tell the story of a girl in India. Students can reach out to other students and share their stories. Some of these stories may be “picked up” by the larger news agencies. It is “Your Voice, Your Choice.” How will you use your voice to change the life of even one person?  Next February will be ASB Un-Plugged.

We spent a good part of the morning working on a storyboard to pitch our idea of Temporary Spaces.

Flat Classroom Conference Japan 2013

Here is the google doc presentation we pitched. We heard 8 student teams pitch their ideas and 7 teacher teams. So many great ideas on how we can make a difference. Tomorrow we will hear and see the final presentations of 8 student teams and 6 teacher teams. We only heard half of the group today and each half chose 4 student teams and 3 teacher teams.(I think) There will also be one virtual team presentation. It was interesting that bullying was a topic mentioned by 2 of the student teams. One of the groups will present Bullying anonymous tomorrow. Another student group is We C.A.N., their idea is 5 steps: spread the word, collect money, hire people in a disaster affected area to clean a neighborhood, have the neighborhood cleaned and repeat. Not only helping to clean up, but giving back to the community by hiring local people who may be without a job. Another student team is called Internection building a community with the international school community as a way of reaching out to local areas that have experienced a disaster. The last student team from our group is working on Donations with Organizations. All of these ideas came from the students and tomorrow we’ll see from the other group of students as well.

The teacher’s ideas were equally inspiring. The three top ones in our group were 4+1. The idea that we have school on 4 days and the 5th day is a day for creating, service projects, etc. Google has done this with giving their employees 20% of their time to play and create what they want. Another one is Smashing Stereotypes by connecting schools to help tear down stereotypes. The last one is the Shoji Foundation. One of my favorites was Kids2Kids. This was somewhat along the lines of what Sharon had shared with students telling the stories. But sending disposable cameras to an area and allowing the children there to take photos and tell their story. The collaborating class would work with editing those stories and getting them out on the web. I would like to try something like this with the orphanage we have a connection to in the Philippines and with a school in Kenya that I know of.

After listening to so many pitches and being challenged to think about how we can provide  platforms for changing our world I would have thought we were done. But Julie Lindsay had one more activity for us – Kung Fu 2.0. Each teacher was asked to choose a favorite Web 2.0 tool to pitch to another person. We stood in 2 lines facing each other, the people in one line had about 2 minutes to share their idea with the person across the line. Then we moved down the line and the opposite side shared. We did this for 4 rounds. I shared Storybird a great writing tool for individuals and collaboration. I heard about SketchUp and InstaGrok. What a great way to share new ideas and create interest among colleagues.

As I reflect on “What is next?” my mind seems to be swimming. I know I want to begin by contacting the orphanage in the Philippines and Kononia Education Centre in Kenya and see how my class my connect and collaborate with their students. I also want to share with my colleagues and encourage them to connect to other classrooms. Our senior students are all required to do a senior comprehensive project where they choose a global issue and complete the following.

  • A research portfolio
  • A writing portfolio
  • A hands-on project
  • An oral presentation.

What I would like to see is our elementary teachers connect their classes and begin building the foundation of volunteering. Then some of our middle school students become involved in Flat Classroom conferences where they interact with other students from other schools who want to make a difference. By the time they reach high school they will have seen problems with a variety of possible solutions. Choosing  a problem and creating a hands-on project will be easy and they will already be familiar with resources and tools they have used in elementary and middle school. I know the staff at my school are always eager to help, especially in a disaster, but how can and will they translate that into the classroom? Hopefully one step at a time as they see what can be done. What will you do to make a change?

If you want to see some of Flat Classroom check it out here or visit the wiki.

4 thoughts on “How Can We Help? Part 2

  1. Thank you so much for sharing the amazing conference with the rest of us. I can’t wait to hear more.

  2. Thanks for sharing day 2 of the conference together with stories, resources etc. As a virtual participant it helps bring the conference to life, gives meaning and we can see it through the eyes of a face to face participant.

    • Anee,
      Glad that it is helpful for others. I know if I blog immediately I will remember more and process it rather than “thinking” about it for a few days and then getting caught up in the immediate. Where do you teach?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *