K12 Online Conference
This week is the K12 Online Conference. There were several interesting presentations. The one that caught my eye first was The World is My Classroom by Anne Mirtschin. I was interested to learn about what tools were used in the virtual, global, and culturally blended classroom needed. Many Web 2.0 tools are blocked in our school district and yet we are positioning our schools and educational community to be among the best in the nation. My question is: How are we going to be able to do this if the tools that are being used nationwide are blocked from our schools?
I am hoping by participating in the Flat Classroom Projects, I will be able to demonstrate the need for some of these tools to be unblocked. Some of the tools Anne mentioned that were used included:
- Blackboard Collaborate
- My PBworks
- Google Docs
Tomorrow at school I plan to test these sites to see which ones are blocked. I know that some of them are not blocked (at least for teachers).
Anne continues by stating that today "students have to be given opportunities to connect with others from different cultures." Students need to establish an educational network of their own using Twitter and Blogs. Anne states that learning is 24/7/365, experts and students of all ages learn together; learning is vertical and horizontal, learning goes beyond the physical walls, global projects are encouraged. She stated that learning can be messy but the learning outcomes are amazing.
Student summit: First they used Wallwish to find out what they wanted to learn about or from each other. Then they used Blackboard Collaborate to bring the two classes together. There were students and about 30 global interested educators listening to their learning. They displayed their products and outcomes on Blogs, VoiceThread, YouTube or other means (if they are old enough).
Students also learned strategies on how to correct misunderstandings, incorrect use of images, words that might offend students from other cultures. One suggestion she had was to bring in experts from around the world. I have long thought of this for graphic design, web design and video production, the classes that I currently teach. This would give students the encouragement and ability to share what they learn with other students using their networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Classroom 2.0, RSS Reader, Blogs, Budypress, Linkedin.
Anne states that one of the issues with this type of collaboration is access and use of the internet. She says it is always advisable to have a back up plan and that effective communication is one of the key to success. You need to work hard, be committed and be determined to succeed. Overall, maintain a sense of humor and a passion for learning. The world can be our classroom. A very inspiring presentation.