Are we going to flatten our classroom walls today, Mrs. Goggins?

Embracing globally collaborative projects is definitely an interest area of mine. As Jeff mentioned in his post, the RSS reader is a big hit – I have really enjoyed using Feedly on my computer and Flipboard on my iPhone has made commuting much more enjoyable. The first blog I subscribed to was Julie Lindsay’s E-Learning Journeys, and imagine my surprise when the very first blog post was asking for applications for the Flat Classroom K-2 Building Bridges to Tomorrow project. I excitedly filled out the application and was quite pleased to find out my class was accepted.

I have participated in global collaboration projects previously with varying degrees of success. I’ve used ePals before and set up pen pals by email with my students, but found that many of our emails went unanswered. Another project I have enjoyed collaborating with other classrooms globally is the Flat Stanley Project.

We have begun the Flat Classroom project and have met twice now to speak to all the participants together, using Blackboard Collaborate to meet online. The first session I was in such awe of the ability to meet with so many different educators at the same time that I was just smiling the whole time. My class has been matched up with three other classes,  two from the US and one from Australia. We have begun by making a class handshake and watching the other handshakes from other classes.  We received a Voicethread handshake from the class in San Francisco, and my class sat watching, mesmerized. I can see how technology is changing the the learning landscape – I would have loved to have been a child and collaborating with other classes globally!

Here is the video of my class handshake.



7 thoughts on “Are we going to flatten our classroom walls today, Mrs. Goggins?

  1. Hi Heather – I was a bit disappointed, but not surprised to read that you got little response using ePals. I came across them in researching ways to collaborate globally for my ESL classes. Initially I was impressed with the professional looking website and the fact they are partnered with some very big names in technology, but the more I went through their site, the more I began to wonder if it wasn’t really just a way to develop potential customers for their other products. Unfortunately, the educational technology market is about to become even more “corporate” as tech companies race to enter the industry looking for profits.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Michelle. I wondered as well if it wasn’t a bit of a ploy. I also came across a post by Dan Meyer (from our TED talk) which talks about linking to Top 100 Blogs Lists.
    I agree, the educational technology market is about to become more corporate – especially in countries where high stakes testing rule. Educational technology companies are looking to make huge profits.

  3. Great post. Thank you for writing. You know, every teacher has a different story and many have great experiences on ePals. I think just about every project has struggles with those teachers who have good intentions but just can’t get into the work because things come up. This is why we need an overarching pedagogy for teachers so that no matter where they join in, they know what to expect and how to communicate. This week on the book club for Flat Classroom we’re going to talk about the need of the teacher to connect. That precedes any global collaboration. There are many teachers who want to but just don’t realize what it takes. I hope that with the book that participation by teachers on projects everywhere go up. Julie and I are so excited about the incredible teachers on the K-2 project and how things are going there!

  4. Thank you for your comment, Vicki! I agree with your comment about ePals, I have a colleague who had a great experience connecting with a class in Mexico. Sometimes it can go either way! I am finding that meeting up once a week with the K-2 Flat Classroom project has worked well and I really look forward to that opportunity to connect and share with other teachers as we work on this project. Knowing that we will be collaborating and sharing has helped me to be held accountable to getting my part of the project done. A big thanks to you (and Julie) for founding the Flat Classroom project, it has been a pleasure to read about it and begin working on it!

  5. Wow, it’s great to hear about your global collaboration explorations and work! Would you mind if I share your global handshake video (linking back to this page) on my new resource website (to launch in April/May) for early childhood educations about how to use tech for global collaboration?

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for your comment, I love global collaboration! You are most welcome to use my video, I’m happy it might help! I’d love to see the website when you launch it!

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