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The Flat Classroom Project - Taking the Long View

Australia/Sydney-based award winning educator, Chris Betcher, talks about the long-term advantages for students of connecting and collaborating globally. He includes footage from his students today who worked on global projects over 10 years ago and the impact this had on their lives and future careers.
This keynote was produced for the Flat Classroom Project 12-2, November 2012.
http://fcp12-2.flatclassroomproject.org/Keynote
Chris Betcher: http://www.chrisbetcher.com http://twitter.com/betchaboy

Introduction from Chris:
When did you discover that the world was flat? When did you learn that the classroom in the next building is really no further away than the classroom on the other side of the world? That whatever cultural differences we have are insignificant compared to the things we share in common?
I was lucky to have discovered how flat the world could be when my students and I did our first global collaborative project way back in 1996. Over the next few years we participated in lots of successful global projects, and the lessons I learned through those experiences permanently changed the way I viewed learning, teaching and education in general. I saw firsthand how powerful it could be to work across the boundaries of time and location, to connect with others and share our learning on a global scale.
In this keynote, I’d like to offer the long view of working in a flat world. I’d like to share some insights into how it changed the way I view education, and how it changed my teaching career. I’d also like to introduce you to some of my ex-students, who will share the effect that being part of these global collaborative projects has had on their lives almost 17 years later.

Guiding Questions:
1) What is your story of global collaboration? As a teacher? As a student?
2) How important is it to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school?
3) In the school of the future, do you think ALL school levels (K-12) should have a global collaborative experience? Why?
4) What are the advantages for later in life of being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others?

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by brookeg_mshs_fcp_12_2 on December 20, 2012 at 3:37am

1- what i think of global collabortion is its a really good thing to use to collaborate with other people around the world.

2-it get you read for the new world and all the new things that are happening with technology 

3-maybe schools should have global collaboraton because its helpful with learning and helps with new ideas.

4-it just helps you keep up to date about the world and itll help you understand more things.


#flatclass 12-2
Comment by SaifE_AAHS on December 11, 2012 at 5:02am

My story of global collaboration as a student is no different from most students’ that were part of the Flat Classroom Project.  I messages people from different countries, schools, and even different parts of the world.  I also collaborated with them on a project about Web 2.0 tools.  My experience collaborating with people from all over the world is different than any experience I ever had in my life.  It was defiantly worth the work, because it was an experience that will help me in the future and is something I will never forget.

It is extremely important to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school.  The use of global collaboration tools has increased exponentially and they will probably continue to increase.  In the future, job openings for people who will need to collaborate with people all over the world will increase.  A global collaborative experience will defiantly keep students one-step further than students without this privilege.  Students need to get used to collaborating to be ready for jobs in which collaboration is essential. 

I don’t believe that the schools of the future should have global collaboration because it isn’t necessary for younger students and it can be costly.  Global collaboration should be available for students that are at least in the sixth grade because there no need for students younger than that. 

The advantages for later in life of being globally minded are understanding customs, culture, and values of people from different parts of the world.  Being connected helps you understand the cultural aspects you would otherwise not be aware of. 

 

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by TaylorK_AAHS on December 11, 2012 at 4:36am

My story of global collaborations is, I'm sure similar to that of the other students that I have been working with for the past few months on the Flat Classroom Project. When introduced to the Flat Classroom Project very early in the school year, I was a bit apprehensive with working with kids that I didn't know on a school project. I of course soon learned the necessary skills that are required for this type of global project and grew to understand the importance of it. I feel that having this experience at such an early age (as I am only a freshman in high school), has began to teach me techniques that I would have not learned from any where else. Especially with the need to communicate constantly with your group members who live possibly on the opposite side of the world as you, global collaboration projects teach you essential communication skills, flexibility, cooperation, and also a bit of patients.

     Eventually, it should be that all schools should work on collaborative projects with one another from around the world. It gives kids a unique experience to build skills that otherwise are not created nor exercised. As proved by Chris Betcher's students, there are definitely benefits to working on globally collaborative projects. It gives you the necessary "edge" to be hired in today's business world; to be able to say that you have had the opportunity to work globally at such a young age definitely sets you apart from other applicants. If you find that you like projects such as these, it can also help you chose what career path you would like to take. The list of reasons as to why these projects are beneficial could continue on and on, therefore, it is important for teachers to expose their students such a project 

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by zackd_mshs_FCP_12-2a on December 11, 2012 at 3:34am

1) My story of global collaboration is the flat classroom project. I messaged people in and out of my team to collaborate on the video and the wiki. I have before messaged people from Poland and the UK over google message because we met on a global photo sharing community where people can post their artwork or hobby photos.
2)  It is very important to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school because our jobs in the future might require we collaborate with other companies in other parts of the world in order to do the best job we can do. If we don't have any experience with that we might mess up and that could lead to missing part of the project and doing a bad job and possibly even getting fired.
3) I do think most school grades should have a collaborative experience but maybe not the younger grades. The reason I think this is the younger kids might not get the experience that older kids will because they might not understand why the project is important and how to do it correctly by staying on task.
4) If you understand the world globally you will have a better perspective on how life goes on, not just in your town in Colorado or Texas but in places like Canada or Poland. This could provide useful in the job world, such as and architect from Texas has always wanted to move to Poland and get work there, if they didn't know how life works differently in Canada they might not be able to design buildings to the best of their ability.


#flatclass 12-2
Comment by KennyW_AAHS on December 11, 2012 at 2:23am

1. My story of global collaboration as a student involved a lot of messaging between me and my teammates. This is the first time I have talked to somebody who lived in a foreign country. I was surprised to find how easy it was to communicate. Even through the time zone barrier. It was more efficient than I expected. Through instant messages we were able to be successful in our mission to complete this project.

2. The importance of global collaboration can not be understated. We live in a world where many do business overseas everyday. It is almost impossible to not communicate with someone from another country nowadays. By meeting others from around the world I can expect what others will be like, and how I have to act with them.

3.In the school of the future I believe that all classes will have parts that use global collaboration. Even in Kindergarten it could be used to show other cultures. The higher the grade the more you can become involved in using global collaboration. If you in Spanish you could connect to Spain and talk Spanish with them, while they spoke English to you. The possibilities are endless. 

4. There are many advantages to being globally minded include knowing how to act with other cultures, and with many companies being international and outsourcing you never know what country you will be on the phone with.
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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by MaxH_aahs on December 11, 2012 at 2:23am

1. My story of global collaboration as a student was educating others around the world of online social entrepreneurship. My specific topic was education, especially among younger students in elementary school or in high school. Before this project I had no experience in working with others around the world. At the most, I had a pen pal in the third grade with a student in France, but that is nothing compared to the work we've done here.

2. I believe that having experience in global collaboration before leaving high school is vital in getting and maintaining a good job in today's world. As economies grow and prosper, and occasionally falter, we must be able to communicate with others around the world to maintain trade and keep businesses going. This also especially prepares you for several social skills that are necessary to maintaining relationships with others. It helped me prepare to adapt to other people's social interactions and their cultures which in many cases vary greatly from mine.

3. In future schools, I think all of them should have a global collaborative experiences. These experiences will prepare children for their future and develop necessary skills to maintain relationships in the future. Starting at an early age is key in helping to develop these skills as the brain grows quickest during the first few years of life. Although they may lack the initiative to perform such a project as this, something more their level would be excellent in starting their global collaboration experience.

4. Some advantages to being globally minded are that students are exposed to a wide variety of cultures and people at an early stage in life. Developing these relationships later in life may not be as easy as it is when we are as young as we are. In addition, we also learn several professional skills such as time management and professionalism.

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by juliab_aahs on December 11, 2012 at 2:22am

1) What is your story of global collaboration? As a teacher? As a student?

As a student, my story of global collaboration happened this semester in my Computer Applications class. We took part in the Flat Classroom Project, which was definitely a different and interesting experience. We worked with people all across the country to research and create a wiki on a certain topic; then, on our own, make a video on a different topic. Although there were some obstacles, especially with Hurricane Sandy and losing power, it was a definite learning experience and gave me the opportunity to have some experience with collaboration that I had never experienced before.

2) How important is it to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school?

Having a global collaborative experience before leaving high school is an important thing that prepares the students for the real world. As we start with our school work and then our careers, collaboration is an extremely useful skill. Collaborating in general is not an easy task, but being able to do it globally, with local problems, time differences, and other problems going against you, truly helps a person for what could be expected of them in the future.

3) In the school of the future, do you think ALL school levels (K-12) should have a global collaborative experience? Why?

I'm not completely sure if I would think that all levels of schooling should have a global collaborative experience because it definitely is stressful and it takes problem solving skills that younger students might not have mastered yet. However, a smaller project could be used to build up to a mature global collaborative experience at a later age, to get the students used to the process since it will most likely be a common education or research method in the future.

4) What are the advantages for later in life of being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others?

Being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others definitely benefits someone in the long run. In the future, this will most likely be a common working and educating method, so having an experience like the Flat Classroom Project prepares one for his/her future career, and gives them an edge that stands out from other people who are competing for the same position. An experience like this can be the difference from landing a job or not. Being aware of different types of cultures and personalities also exposes one to the different people in this world, which is important. It is important to learn how to interact and work with others no matter the problem they face is.

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by AnthonyD_AAHS on December 11, 2012 at 2:19am

1. The only real experiences that I've had with global collaborations is as a student doing the FCP project. I spent a lot of time working on and revising things that I was going to edit into my groups wiki page. I really enjoyed a lot of what I did for this project, I talked a lot to people in other places for this project. Although I have not had much experience in global collaboration, I really did enjoy doing the Flat Classroom Project.

2. If you never have a global collaborative experience in high school, then for the rest of your life, then you will most likely be in a state of mind that makes you feel as if you need to hide from the rest of the world and that it is not good to communicate with people in different states, countries and you'll think that it is okay to only work with people who you closely know.

3. I do think that in the future, that all classes should, from grades K-12 should have to do projects where we work collaboratively. Global projects allow you to work with others from other places and this will teach people of all ages to work coherently with people no matter where they are.

4. It is important later in life to have skills to work with others, because you will be faced with the task of working with others no matter what job you have or what you do. You will constantly through your whole life need to talk to and work with other people.

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by SanikaB_AAHS on December 10, 2012 at 2:24pm

1. What is your story of global collaboration? As a teacher? As a student?

As a student, the Flat Classroom Project provided a platform for global collaboration. I participated in this  this year in my Computer Applications class. As a part of this project, I had to work with people around the world to create a presentation on a specific topic. We did a lot of research and it took a lot of time, but our portion of the project was amazing. This was a great experience and I'm glad I had it.

2. How important is it to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school?

Having a global collaborative experience before high school is really important. By meeting different types of people from all over the world, students get a better idea of how big the world is and develop better people skills. Also, working with strangers encourages professionalism. Personally, I am planning to go into the medical field, so good people skills and professionalism are good qualities to have. 

3. In the school of the future, do you think ALL school levels (K-12) should have a global collaborative
    experience? Why?

In the future, I do not think that all school levels (K-12) should have a global collaborative experience. This is so because a collaborative project requires maturity and, when someone is seven years old, they don't have as much maturity as a fourteen year-old would have. Also, global collaborative projects need quite a bit of knowledge and skill to discover new things. Although kids nowadays are becoming very handy with a computer, I don' t think that they would have enough knowledge to put it to use. Activities such as the Flat Classroom Project need a large amount of time and are very stressful because of the deadlines, projects, and information. Young children don't need to be exposed to these things before high school.

4. What are the advantages for later in life of being globally minded and understanding the world
    through connections with others? 

Being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others has many advantages later in life. Because of these experiences, students learn to accept different types of people and cultures. Kids learn how to work in teams, even if they don't know the person or don't necessarily like them. These projects teach professionalism and good time management and research skills. As being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others have many advantages, students should have a global collaboration experience early in their life.

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#flatclass 12-2
Comment by KristinaM_AAHS on December 10, 2012 at 1:14pm

1) What is your story of global collaboration? As a teacher? As a student?

As a student, my story of global collaboration happened this year in our Computer Applications class. We participated in the Flat Classroom Project, which was definitely a very interesting experience. We worked to research and create a wiki on a certain topic, then make a video on a different topic. Although I had some obstacles, especially with Hurricane Sandy and losing power, it was definitely a learning experience and exposed me to collaboration to an extent that I had never experienced before.

2) How important is it to have a global collaborative experience before leaving high school?

Having a global collaborative experience before leaving high school is very important to prepare the students for the real world. When we start with our careers, and in college, collaboration is an incredibly helpful skill. Collaborating in general is not easy, but doing so globally, with local problems, time differences, and other problems going against you, truly prepares one for what could be thrown at him/her in the future.

3) In the school of the future, do you think ALL school levels (K-12) should have a global collaborative experience? Why?

I'm not sure if I would think that ALL levels of schooling should have a global collaborative experience, only because it definitely is stressful and it truly takes problem solving skills that younger students may not have developed yet. Perhaps, a lighter project could be used to build up to a mature global collaborative experience at a later age, to familiarize the students with the process since it will likely be a common research/education method in their future.

4) What are the advantages for later in life of being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others?

Being globally minded and understanding the world through connections with others definitely benefits one in the long run. In the future, this will be a common education and working method, so having an experience like the Flat Classroom Project prepares one for his/her future career, and gives him/her an edge that stands out from other people competing for the same position. An experience like that can be the difference from landing a job, or not getting it. Also, being aware of different types of cultures and personalities definitely exposes one to the different people in this world, which is definitely important. Lastly, it is important to learn how to interact and work with others no matter the obstacle.

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