Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What is the Flat Classroom?

Although I can’t fully envision what the Flat Classroom experience will be like, I’m looking forward to working with the students. By allowing globally located students to work together to create a project, I believe they will grow in creativity, community and culture.

After watching The World is Flat, featuring Thomas Friedman, I’ve been noticing what he’s saying is true. We communicate daily in a horizontal fashion as technology has opened more doors for us. We’re also not competing with the guy down the street for a job, but the whole world.

Comparing this to text from the book, Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Curtis W. Johnson, this trend shouldn’t be a big surprise. Christensen et al. discuss how education has been changing since the 1960’s and 1970’s when Japan became a major competitor of goods to the U.S. As the U.S. looked to schools to improve their status, they realized U.S. students didn’t fare as well as other countries and a revolution was begun (Christensen et al., 2008, 58).

To keep up with economic change, U.S. schools have stressed traditional subjects to stay on the educational playing field. The idea simply is that if our students can become proficient in the subjects other countries are learning, then as they enter the workforce, the U.S. will remain competitive. Therefore, since our schools have become more globally competitive, why shouldn’t we expect the global economic playing field to change?

Working horizontally in the education sector is beneficial for students who will one day enter the business world. The Flat Classroom Project is an example of this. Today’s use of technology encourages communication and innovation so why shouldn’t we promote global partnership (and competition) in our schools? We might as well know what we’re up against in the working arena.

Christensen. C., Horn, M. & Johnson, C. (2008). Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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