I have been having a great time reading Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay. This book is an excellent resource for anyone considering global projects or for any teacher who is just interested in expanding their own classroom view. The book itself models a collaborative global project in every way imaginable. Here are some of the ways it does this:
- Whenever a classroom project example is given, or a powerful quote from a teacher or expert is provided, the authors encourage the reader to follow that person on Twitter. I have loved this. There is really no better example of how flat our world is than just clicking the “Follow” button under someone’s name. You now can follow their thoughts, find out who they are following, and even mention them in your own Tweets.
- Along with the book are 15 Flat Classroom Challenges. These challenges encourage you to set up RSS like Google Reader (check!), start a blog(check!), join a collaborative network like Google Teacher Academy or Apple Distinguished Educators (check!), from there the challenges get more, well, um, challenging. But I love this idea. To encourage readers to take on the challenge, the authors suggest tweeting as you complete the challenges or posting on the Flat Classroom Ning. This helps make it all feel more like a fun scavenger hunt instead of homework. I love this idea so much I am considering how to make it a part of some of the local professional development I do.
- There is a virtual book group! I was so glad I checked Twitter at the moment an announcement about the book club came across my stream. The book club meets once a week for an hour via Blackboard Collaborate. Ben and Neil fromEngaging Educators moderate and either Vicki or Julie (the authors) are always there. This is a great opportunity to share your own reflections while reading the book as well as to ask questions of amazing teachers that have been living and breathing global collaboration for years now.
- More! QR codes that link to student projects, Flat Classroom Diaries that give you glimpses into the personal stories behind different global projects, and a professional development toolkit that I haven’t checked out yet.