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Global Education – When Hard Work Pays Off

February 4, 2012

Flat Classroom Conference Mumbai, India

Mount Carmel Area High School students are featured for their global collaborative efforts in the classroom through participation in Flat Classroom Projects.  The Flat Classroom Projects were founded by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay.

In Education Week: U.S. Schools Forge Foreign Connections Via Web, experiences in global collaboration are shared from our classroom.

While a challenging project for students, the rewards that pay out for some of them are transformational.  These experiences allow us to figuratively go outside of our classroom and our tiny town in order to experience what it is like to interact with people in different cultures.

In the most recent round of the project, FCP11-3, our students collaborated globally with students in  Canada, Germany, South Korea, United Kingdom and Australia.  Throughout the US, participation schools were from Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Iowa.  The project utilizes multiple Web 2.0 technologies that allow our students to collaborate with students around the world, despite time zone barriers and language barriers to research, peer edit and design a variety of multimedia, despite location and cultural barriers, much like how the real world is starting to work.

Each student worked with an international partner to create a multimedia presentation based on one of the ten “Global Economic Flatteners,” as described by Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World is Flat:  A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.

Student projects were judged internationally by a panel of professionals in both the education and technology fields.  Of all videos and across all categories for the project, twelfth-grade student, Kyle, won first place in his topic category and the Meta-Judging second place video award of over two hundred videos submitted for his video titled, “World Wide Web Changes the World”.  Kyle’s topic was about social entrepreneurship and the World Wide Web.  In reflecting on his experience in the project, Kyle writes,

This was an amazing project. When things were first explained, the project sounded extremely difficult. It was also a bit scary, to have to work with people from around the world that I had never met before was a thing that I had to really get over. I was nervous at first about how I would work along with them. But as I got to the work, I found out that it was very exciting. And so, to anyone that would like to join a project like this, my number one piece of advise would be to expect a lot of work. Be ready to have to look into things that you have never had to experience before. In the end, there is a lot that you will learn.

Additionally, Mount Carmel Area students were granted the following awards within their respective topic categories:  

While there are so many rewards that a teacher experiences through empowering students to be able to do aproject like this, perhaps one of the greatest is the increased level of student engagement.  While not all students are engaged all of the time, theseImage students had a real-world deadline in order to submit their videos to be qualified for judging.  One of the most valuable lessons they learned was one of time management and procrastination.  Many students were not quite ready to submit their final videos and waited until the last minute when the process for submission would end by midnight.  Because they were empowered, they took it upon themselves to come back after school and many students stayed until 8:00 or 9:00PM.  They ordered pizza, got to work and got the job done…  much like aspects of the real world work today.

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