Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

What does it mean to have a flattened classroom?

Can you describe this in one or two sentences?

What is the impact on teaching and learning?

What are the advantages?

Are there any disadvantages?

Read Ch1 of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds and share your responses to the above questions?

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A flattened classroom is a classroom that uses technology to virtually eliminate the physical walls of the room. It connects students and teachers to a world beyond what they can see or imagine while broadening their world view through meaningful collaborative experiences.

The impact on teaching and learning is almost immeasurable. Teachers discover other educators, tools, and lessons they never knew existed.  Students connect with future colleagues, friends, and competitors while developing their collaborative and critical thinking skills.

The advantages of a flattened classroom are creating teachers and students who have the knowledge and skills to adapt to an ever-changing global workplace.

Disadvantages to a flattened classroom are the time and effort it takes to learn unknown tools and communicate with people who we cannot directly see.

I agree, and the disadvantage you mentioned is really at the heart of why I took this class. I'm looking to benefit from the knowledge of experienced flat classroomers as well as find connections to start flat classroom projects. Interestingly, this then mirrors the aim of flat classrooms themselves: yearning for the expansion of knowledge and connections. Isn't that at the heart of all learning? 

Like your idea of an ever-changing global work space. We are doing a project on careers and I have been trying to get this point across to our students.

So far, I think having a flat classroom means that all the walls, figuratively, come down.  The "other" now becomes another one of us.  A few days ago my students watched a video that aired on Learning Matters, a segment of the www.pbs.org News Hour.  My students here on the Navajo Nation saw students in New York City studying Native Americans.  Well, with a flat classroom, the New York kids can do better than that - they can learn from their peers here on the Rez, first hand - minus the romaticized stereotypes and underplayed economic realities of being an Indian in America today.

What a great example of actively learning from peers as opposed to passively studying something out of a book, website, or video.

What a great opportunity. My students are in a small town and this is the constant challenge. The walls definitely come down, especially when we have Skyped with another class.

A flattened classroom means discovery and engagement with others who are not in your physical space.  It is an approach to learning that doesn't supersede our current educational goals but directs the learning to be shared with those who bring alternative views and cultures and histories to the experience.  

Flattening the classroom impacts the context in which we teach and learn.  It forces teachers and students alike to understand their own belief systems so that they can then share knowledge, experiences, digital tools with each other.

The advantages of a flattened classroom are that teachers and students get to have first hand experiences with others who otherwise would not have impacted their lives.  Teachers develop networks of support and students make friends with others across the globe.  Developing the skills to communicate and collaborate with others, especially 'virtually' is an essential tool for both teachers and students alike for future success in an increasingly global and digital world.

The disadvantages of a flattened classroom are the challenges of logistics (time) and communication.

I love what you said about not superceding current educational goals but directing the learning to be shared.  I think flattening the classroom brings a new dimension to the learning experience that makes it more memorable, social, and embedded with diverse viewpoints.

A flattened classroom is one where the 'walls' are gone and users are able to communicate and collaborate freely with others.  This might be as simple as communication with the class next door or using technology to reach others all over the world.

The impact on teaching and learning is phenomenal.  It really is allowing students the freedom to explore and direct their learning.  It needs consideration around safety, time, technology capabilities.

There are many advantages - it allows you to 'see' the world from your own couch, it makes learning accessible and meaningful to those who have engaged in it.  It allows teachers to develop PLN's and offers the same to students.

The disadvantages are my own limitations around technology use, and the practicalities of the where and when.  There are barriers linked to our education systems and the expectations placed on educators to tick boxes that will look and feel very different when students are experiencing 'real' connections. 

So true...the walls come down but also the need for safety.

A flattened classroom is one where there are no wall and students and teachers are able to virtually connect to other classrooms in any location. The flat classroom allows for global collaboration among students with their peers across the globe.
The impact on teaching and learning is tremendous. The classroom becomes student centered rather than teacher centered and the teacher becomes a facilitator of the process. Students use technology in a real and meaningful way and this better prepares them for the future.
The advantages of a flattened classroom are that students and teachers are able to learn about other cultures first hand with real relationships rather than just reading about them in a book.
The only disadvantage that I can think of is the extra planning that it takes to globally connect and some technology frustrations that are sure to happen.

To have a flattened classroom means sharing my job of teaching, through the use of digital resources, with experts from all walks of life and professions to enhance student learning with authentic projects and experiences.

The impact on teaching and learning is that teachers and will have a much larger support network for collaboration, learning and planning. It will make learning more personalized and relevant for both teachers and students. In addition authentic audiences provide greater motivation for students as well as teachers.

An advantage is that students and teachers are able to collaborate with those with whom they may have quite different backgrounds, opinions and expertise. Also, it allows us to begin to build trust, through connections made one at a time, thus permitting us to open our own minds and grow in our thinking.

I do not see any really disadvantages with flattening our classrooms, perhaps I see more challenges:

  • How do we assure enough access for all students?
  • How do we convince parents and school directors to open up our connections to the world?
  • How do we report learning in a world that requieres numerical grades?
  • Where will funding come for associated with technological needs?
  • How do we encourage veteran teachers to participate?

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