Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flat World, Flat Classroom

Up until two weeks ago I had never heard of the Flat Classroom Project, or the FCP, so what better thing to do than jump into it blindly, right? It's been an exciting two weeks exploring this project, which is based off Thomas Friedman's work on the world's flatteners. After watching Friedman's 75 minute lecture, a video conference with Vicki Davis, and a little exploration on the FCP wiki, I became an expert advisor for students working on the topic of outsourcing. I haven't really had enough time to get my feet wet with this project just yet; but judging by what I have learned about it so far, I am certain that it will be a great learning experience for me. It's authentic learning opportunities like the FCP that get me excited to teach. With all the technological tools at my fingertips, creating memorable, collaborative, interesting, intriguing, and challenging lessons for my students has never been more doable. The FCP is a great opportunity to be involved with and I'm excited to get started!

Christensen's book, Disrupting Class, raises a serious question about standardizing teaching rather than customizing learning. We know that all students learn differently, so why standardize our assessments and lessons? A great way to customize learning is through project-based learning, which requires students to apply what they're learning and fill in the gaps of what they don't know through the experience. Christensen says, though, that many schools simply can't adopt widespread project-based learning because the physical layout of the school building won't allow it. This is where the FCP comes into play. This is a form of project-based learning, isn't it? It's done collaboratively, it causes students to apply the knowledge, and it's like the experience of traveling without leaving home. Through the FCP students are submerged in a diverse environment without physically being somewhere else. The FCP is definitely customizing learning rather than standardizing teaching. The technology behind it is exciting and fresh and should be taken advantage of by more educators.

Images: Flickr: Audaciousgloop

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