“The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.” - C.S. Lewis.
That quote came straight out of the textbook for a class I'm taking to
become a F.L.A.T. classroom certified teacher. The main ideas behind the
development of this course came in part from the Thomas Freedman's
book, "The World is Flat." The idea being that technology is creating a
level playing surface for individuals and socieites that did not
previously exist. Through the internet, people from all over the world
now have access to information that was not previously available.
The course itself focuses on how we connect, why we connect, and
extending the possibilities of those connections to help students gain
the skills that will be essential in the emerging 3.0 job market. The
course teaches how to facilitate global collaborations between students
and teachers so that we can essentially learn in classrooms without
The course couldn't come at a better time for me. One of my professional
goals for this year was to initiate a global collaborative unit with
another school. I had been looking because I felt like I had been
developing the perfect M.Y.P. unit for a collaborative effort.
Last year my M.Y.P. Year 2 students did a unit on culture. Not just any
unit on culture, but a unit on how the values, traditions, and beliefs,
shape our identities. The unit started off with some case studies of
some of the best fictional cultures that have been created in the last
30 years (Ewoks, World of Harry Potter etc.). After learning about the
different aspects of culture students transferred that information and
analyzed their own lives.
The third sequence of the unit had groups of students working together
to create a totally new culture. They had to develop their own language
and numerical systems. Not only did they have to develop these systems
they had to also give speeches and write mathematical word problems.
From developing histories, fashion, sports and writing their own songs,
students really had to think about the interconnectedness between all of
these elements. For example, if you decided that your people were the
snow tribe people from an icy planet, other elements of that culture
would be reflected by the climate of that planet.
Although the unit was a great success, I really wanted to take it to a
different place. Fortunately, I ran into a fellow Humanities teacher who
was also looking for a global collaboration. After pitching the unit
idea to him, he immediately accepted.
The principals and skills that I am learning through the F.L.A.T.
classroom course is going to play a large part in the success of this
upcoming unit. There is still a long road ahead in terms of planning,
but since the unit does not start until the spring, I feel that we are
off to a great start.