Flat Classrooms in a Flattening World

I had a great day, yesterday, in Davidson County’s (North Carolina) administrative retreat. I opened the day with a keynote on the Flattening World and Flat Classrooms. All of the attendees had been required to read The World is Flat, and dutifully had their copies on the tables in front of them. I tried to share some ideas about globalization as expressed by Friedman, but also some contrary perspectives, based on creative-class writings by Richard Florida, saying that it is as important for us to be teaching our children creative arts as it is the science arts.

Most of my time was spent on describing the millennial generation and characteristics of the flat classroom. Vinod Khosla’s ideas about media industries that maintain their audiences into media engines came in handy again in helping me to describe classrooms as learning engines. (more about that later)

The keynote was followed by three breakout sessions that the administrators cycled through. One was facilitated by Davidson County Schools technology staff, showing active boards and desk clickers, as well as other neato’s. Another breakout was facilitated by a young man who’s name has completely slipped my mind, and I can’t find memtion of it anywhere in my notes. I am so very sorry. But this Chris Harrington, a public relations specialist from Charlotte evidently, who did a fabulous job of introducing administrators to blogging and podcasting as a communication medium.

I facilitated a book talk about The World is Flat with each group, where I tried to focus the discussion on stories that have come out of the book. I asked them to pretend that they have required the parents of their students to read the book, and then to decide what they would say to the parents at next year’s open house about globalization and the needs for education reform.

I must say that I was extremely impressed with the people in my groups. They get it. There was a lot of talk about project based learning and other issues, but there is a great deal of frustration with the constraints of high-stakes testing (in North Carolina Most high school courses are tested by the state) and general attitudes about education that are so firmly seated in 20th (19th, 18th) century notions about teaching and learning.

Enough for now. Got to get to work!

2 more cents worth!

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Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.