Sunday, April 14, 2013

Challenge #15 Tell Your Story
When I started this semester/book, I really thought “flattening Classrooms” was going to be another buzz word/concept that educators would get all crazy about and quickly forget. But the more I read the book and worked through the challenges, I realized that flattening the walls of your classroom is the future and is the best approach.

During my career as an educator I have worked in two different school districts. One district that had a severe financial crisis and hadn’t upgraded technology, let alone anything else, in a long time. The second district I worked in was better off financially and was undergoing a digital renaissance. You might think that the teaching going on in the two districts was as different as night and day. Having worked in both districts, I can report that the teaching and learning strategies in the two districts were very similar.

After reading this book, I know that if we keep teaching our students the way we are teaching now, we will not prepare them for the future. In order to change my teaching style, I am going to focus on collaborating at a local level. Once local collaboration is seen as a viable and successful learning mode, I will move to district, regional, and then global.

I wish I could report that the schools I have worked in are in the process of flattening the walls of their classrooms. But the reality of the situation is that they are not even collaborating amongst themselves. After reading this book, I have realized that I need to be the agent for change.


I have also taken the survey.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Challenge #14 Challenge Based Professional Development

Purpose of Conference:
The purpose of this professional development is to introduce teachers to the concept of global collaboration as a mode of instruction.

Overview of Professional Development:
The participants in this professional development will be able to explain what a global collaborative project is and discuss the impact the strategy has on their teaching practice. The participants will also take part in a collaborative project in the role of the students. By participating in a global collaborative project in the role of the student, they will be able to experience this teaching strategy first hand.

This professional development was designed for fourth grade teachers in a single school district. The school district I am employed in has twenty-one elementary schools. Each school has three to ten fourth grade teachers at each school.  

Prior to the conference/final celebration, the participants will complete the following activities.

One Month Before Project Start – Teachers participating in the professional development will RSVP to the project coordinator.
Two Weeks Before Project Start – Professional development participants will view a webinar that explains the purpose of the professional development.

One Week Before Project Start - Participant handshake.

Week One of Project – Participants will compile information about flattening classrooms, how it is used, and implications on their teaching practice. This information will be added to the project Wiki. They will remain in contact with each other using the message board on the Wiki and email.

Week Two – Participants will use Skype to communicate with each other discussing the information they have collected. They will also discuss different ways to present their information.

Week Three –Participants will use Skype, Wiki message boards, and email to monitor the progress they are making while creating their presentations.

Week Four- Celebration/Conference - All participants will meet to present their information and discuss the future use of global collaborative projects in their classrooms. This celebration is meant to last only two hours. During the first hour the participants will present their findings. During the second hour, they will form small groups and discuss the implications of global collaborative projects on their teaching practice.