Throughout the semester I participated as an expert advisor, and a judge for the Flat Classroom Project. I also had to create a Ning for the Flat Classroom Project, which allows further collaboration for the FCP.
Before becoming a part of the FCP, I watched Thomas Friedman's video about the world being flat. It fascinated me. What I found so interesting is how global our world has become. It's just amazing the things we can do now that we couldn't do before. I liked the part about steroids the most because it's so true. Virtual Communication is what is making globalization possible. It offers real time collaboration between anyone at anytime. As far as it preparing me for the FCP, it did not. I guess I didn't realize that the projects in the FCP would directly correlate with Friedman's work. I guess I was under the assumption that the students would be working on something completely unrelated having Friedman's flattners in mind.
The first thing I did was become an expert advisor for group 6, Outsourcing and Globalization. As far as I knew my job was to observe the students' work and critique the errors that I found in hopes that they would take my instruction into consideration. Unfortunately, they didn't. I guess I don't understand why they have expert advisors for this project because I felt like I was repeating myself each time I posted something in the discussion. I knew they were reading my comments, but the changes were never made. The types of things I kept suggesting were grammatical issues, verb tenses, and citing work. Hardly ever was the work cited. I just felt like I was kind of wasting my time because the students weren't taking what I had to say into consideration, so it got hard for me to get into it and check it regularly.
The next thing I did was become a judge for the FCP final videos. I understand that these are just high school students, but I did expect a little bit more from the videos. They were either really good and well executed, or they were evidence of last minute preparation. I found it hard to select even four videos I thought were good enough for judging. There were two that I really liked, and another two that were almost there, but lacked some effort. Overall, the judging experience was much much better than the advising experience because I finally got to see what they were working for. I enjoyed the judging part.
Thinking back on the FCP project I wish it were more organized. I felt like it was sort of all over the place in the fact that my group's wiki page had no structure. I felt like there wasn't a lot of collaboration going on, and each student involved was just putting new information anywhere on the page. I am still really confused about the purpose of the Ning, but at the same time I didn't try very hard to figure it out. It didn't seem like a very important part of the FCP. Collaboration through the wiki as an expert advisor would be the best way if the students would actually collaborate with us and taking our feedback into consideration.
If I were to be completely honest, I am a little disappointed in the FCP. Not because I don't think that it is a great thing because I do think it has a lot of potential. I'm disappointed because I didn't get anything out of it as an educator, and I don't feel like the high school students involved got much out of it either. Take a look at my group's page. You will see that there are a few things that are repeated, there are some grammatical errors, and some work isn't cited accurately. I'm not trying to say that the students involved didn't work hard because there is some really great work, for example section B, current news, included some fantastic images and research. Maybe I'm completely wrong, maybe the high school students had a great, meaningful experience. I sincerely hope they did. I guess I shouldn't assume they didn't, I don't know exactly how they get their research and collaborate with others. As for myself, I don't feel like I got the opportunity to benefit because the feedback I did give wasn't recognized. However, it was still an experience I am happy that I was a part of. It was worth it. It's neat to see what kinds of thing are possible in teaching today.
Like I said, I think the FCP has loads of potential. It will get there, and maybe my experience is much different than the other expert advisors. I am rooting for the FCP to keep improving. I think what they have started is going to have a ripple effect. Finally, teachers not only hear about the possibilities of globalizing education, but they can experience it. Overall, it was a nice experience and if I ever get the chance to do it again I will.
I chose to keep a written journal about the FCP. Whenever I would comment as an expert advisor I would jot down a few notes about what I observed, but even doing that became a struggle because I was only writing down the same things over and over again. It was a lot of voicing my frustration that the students weren't really listening to my advice. It's hard to take something seriously and really get into it when I felt like I wasn't really needed. So, if I were to be honest I don't have much of a journal to turn report to you. That doesn't mean that I didn't take it seriously, though. I hope that you are still able to see my efforts.