Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back from Doha, Qatar

We made it back! We arrived home Tuesday! What a trip! I'm speechless!

The goal of the Conference was for International student teams to develop a new global collaborative project that will address a vital social issue. All of the teams did well; the four best proposals are now competing on the Conference Ning. You can go to the Ning, read about the projects and then vote for the one that you believe gives the best 'pitch' and is worthy of launching. The winning project will begin sometime during February of '09.

In addition...we have posted most of our pictures and our reflections on the Conference Ning. Take a few minutes and surf through the site. You'll be amazed at just how well the students connected with each other and at the projects they produced. Our very own Karla and Steve are on two of the final four teams! Wow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

We're on Our Way...

All through the Winter Break I believed that we were not going to be able to make the trip. My blog post about our quandry reflected my mood. We hadn’t raised nearly enough money and felt certain that the students would want an ‘all or nothing’ scenario about attending the conference.

When the students returned to school on January 6, I proposed the question to them. They asked for a couple of days to think about it. They came back to me the next day (they had their own meeting about the situation) and said they felt that if they all couldn’t go at least some of them should since they all had worked so hard on the Flat Classroom Project. I reminded them that we had money for only 3 students to attend—and those students could attend only if: 1. Mr. Stallworth (our principal) supported this change in plans, and 2. Those three students would need to contribute roughly $500 each toward airfare and other expenses.

They agreed, so I proposed the change to Mr. Stallworth and he gave his approval. Now, we had to choose which three of the 9 would attend. Steve R and Karla N both won awards for their Project Multi-media artifact, so they were selected based on those awards. All that was left was to choose the third student out of the 7 remaining. Admirably, the three juniors took themselves out of the running. They said that they would have an opportunity to participate and attend the Conference next year.

That left 4 seniors…two of which said the $500 wasn’t possible for them to raise. Now we were down to two remaining seniors. I told them that I couldn’t choose…they would have to devise a plan. They decided on an essay contest. Each student wrote an essay on why they should be selected to attend/what the conference meant to them. When I read the essays, I wept. Both essays were wonderful and very touching. How could I choose?

Since I couldn’t choose, I turned the matter over to Julie Lindsey and Vicki Davis. They too were equally impressed with the essays and had difficulty trying to select a ‘winner.’ They decided to factor in the students’ Project Multi-media artifacts to help them make a decision. It worked…they felt that Erika B’s video was the more creative and informative of the two, so Erika was selected as our third participant.

Then…the rush to pay for tickets and to secure copies of passports, etc…all the while still planning for and teaching 100+ students! Wow!

Here's an update on our finances: Our airfare is paid for…what would just be superb would be to get in a few donations that would cover expenses for the students while we are there so that their families would be relieved of the burden of any more expenses. The ChipIn on our conference blog says $3,000…if we could raise $700-$1,000 I know that would cover the additional expenses. So...if you can, if your are willing, please ChipIn for my students!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Please ChipIn and Help My Students!

Last semester my students participated in the Flat Classroom Project. They have been approved to attend the Flat Classroom Conference this January...we've been fundraising and have done well, but just need a little more to get there...Will you ChipIn and help them?? Their trip begins on January 21!!!

Thanks for helping!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Flat World: Columbus was Wrong! :-)

Working on the Flat Classroom Project has been a wonderful experience for me. Through the Flat Classroom Project I have learned new and innovative ways to use the Web 2.0 Technology. Also through the Flat Classroom Project I have learned how to cooperate and work with students from all around the globe--I've found that effective communication is essential for effective teamwork. Most importantly, I learned about the different cultures that exist in our little world and how we can maximize our efficacy through cooperation and building solid relationships. I have to say that by attending the conference in Doha, and meeting face-to-face the people that I have worked with virtually will be an experience that has no definition!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

What the Conference Means to Me...

Today I asked one of my students, Steve R., "What does attending the conference mean to you?" Here's what Steve had to say...

The Flat Classroom Leadership Conference in Doha, Qatar means a great deal to me. I really do not know how much I could stress about the impact that this trip can have on myself and my peers. I can learn so much from this opportunity, and I know that it will be the experience of a lifetime.

For one, the conference is going to be about technology and how we can make the world better by collaborating with the help of our "flat" world. Second, what makes this trip and experience more special is that we are going to be working, in person, with the students that we have been working with around the world! The Project alone is already unique and very amazing considering the fact that we are actually working together with students around the world with the help of technology. So what better way to finish the project off by actually working with the people we have been working with online.

At the Conference, I expect to learn many different things that can actually help with my future. I plan on being a succesful entrepreneur and I believe that the skills that I attain at this confernence will help myself and other future entrepreneurs with their future businesses. It amazes me just how far we've advanced with technology I feel that it'll only get better and better.

So, attending the Leadership Conference means the world to me--will you help?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Help Us Get 2 Qatar!! Video

My students have created a video and posted it on YouTube to help in their fundraising efforts to get to the Flat Classroom Conference in Qatar this coming January.

They wrote the lyrics, found some creative commons music, and put together this about creativity!! Please pass this on...and don't forget to ChipIn to help us get there!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flat Classroom 4A Flat World

Hi! My name is Lynhda--I am one of the students from Spring Woods High School participating in the Flat Classroom Project. All of us were excited and very interested in the Project when we first heard about it. It has an incredible experience to work on the project with other students around the world. Personally, I think it was a great idea for us to participate in The Project--and an excellent opportunity to learn new ideas and how our world was developed.

Before starting The Project we spent time learning a lot of web 2.0 such as blogging, Flikr, Google Reader,, diigo, mash-ups, nings, and wikispaces. I like blogging. Blogging is when you write about anything you want, like how your day has been or any feeling your feeling at the moment. I also like Flikr because it's a site where you can upload and save all your photos. Google Reader helps me organize my subscriptions...I could go on...let's just say that learning how to use Web2.0 technologies really helped me--all of us--prepare to participate actively in the Flat Classroom Project!

Now we have the opportunity to attend the Flat Classroom Conference. I want the chance to meet some of the people that I have been working with for the past several months. I know that we all will benefit from participating in the Conference. I can hardly wait to get there! Qatar Academy, here we come! Will you help?