The Flat Classroom

Since we collectively believe that the traditional classroom will be revamped into a "flat classroom," we will highlight how and why this term came to exist and how it supports our vision. Thomas Fried
external image Friedman_Pic_07.jpg
man, author of The World is Flat (pages 501-503), inspired Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay to create a collaborative space, the Flat Classroom® Projectfor teachers and students across the globe. The concept of a "flat classroom" is derived from the constructivist principle of a multi-modal learning environment that is student-centered, thus making student and teacher interaction a vital component of the global collaborative project. The project joins together middle and senior high school students who participate in a collaborative environment in order to create a "competitive and globally-minded identity in students." The walls of the classroom are flattened by emphasizing connection, communication, collaboration and creativity as well as higher-order thinking skills and problem solving.

On her website, Davis writes, "One of the main goals of the project is to 'flatten' or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, 2 or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces and Ning."

The project's wiki and ning provide pertinent information as seen below.

Elements of the project include:
  • providing students the opportunity to study and experience how technology is strengthening the "flatteners"
  • grouping students with global partners to create videos that include their personal views
  • using networking venues such as Ning, blogs, photos, videos and wikis to enhance connection, collaboration, and creation
  • assessing students via common rubrics
  • ensuring the students have practice with deadlines for accountability and interdependence
  • students creating videos that are judged by other educations from around the world
  • experiencing a student summit via a virtual classroom in order to share and reflect at the end of the project

As seen in their mission and key elements, we support the FCP because it provides teacher and students with the life-changing opportunities of collaborating and learning in diverse environments. This is possible due the technological advances that many are learning about and starting to incorporate in their teaching and learning along with their daily lives. There are smaller scale opportunities and more large scale projects that we will share in the Partnerships/Collaborations section. Edna Sackson shares some insightful information regarding creating global connections on her blog for those interested in flattening their classroom.


Please visit Atomic Learning for the clips, Understanding the term Flat Classroom and Flattening your classroom.

View the video below for a short documentary of the project in Qatar.

A further initiative this year is the Digiteen Project which currently links classrooms of middle school students from Australia, Canada, USA, Spain and Qatar with the aim of promoting better online citizenship through research and discussion and culminates in each school taking action within their own community to promote this.

Next: Higher Education