Thursday, October 13, 2011

What I think about the World Being Flat

For our fourth module in the Emerging Instructional Technologies class, we are participating in the Flat Classroom Project as “expert advisors.” We will be working with students from across the world as they develop written pieces and videos together.  In preparation for this unit, our class watched a video showcasing Thomas Friedmanand his book, The World is Flat.

In the video, Friedman remarks how the world has become interactive and collaborative in such a way that our economic structure has completely changed.  He also noted that we should consider this movement an achievement as this has brought more countries into economic stability.

Friedman gave several examples of how companies are surviving and growing through collaborations such as open-sourcing, supply chaining, insourcing and offshoring. He noted, however, that these forms of collaboration increase competition for jobs. This presentation was given six years ago at MIT, and our economy looks a little different today.  Would the effects of worldwide collaboration look any different today?

Materials and software for collaboration have trickled down into education where we readily use technology such as Google Docs for our classes and presentations. Students are becoming more horizontally challenged in which they must use resources and people around them to complete their schoolwork. This is the purpose and challenge of the Flat Classroom. Using the internet and social networking to cross cultural lines will enable students to gain more knowledge and life experience than they could in a classroom.

I think this exercise with the Flat Classroom Project will be very beneficial to me both as an instructor and a student. Working collaboratively, we can complete tasks and create projects will more creativity and exploration than we could before. Not only are we learning a new skill, but we’re also practicing communication with other cultures and incorporating new technologies into our studies. This should be an interesting unit!

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