Connecting and Communicating

I am looking forward to our next meeting on Tuesday, January 22nd at 7:30pm EST (Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. Please note, this is a change from the original schedule. Thank you all for shifting your schedules around so that we can meet on a Tuesday/Wednesday this time around.

Chapters Three and Four begin to really get into the urgency of providing digital opportunities for our students to connect with other classrooms and communication effectively. There is a tremendous amount of information about how to become a connected teacher: push and pull technology, developing a PLN (Personal Learning Network), using social bookmarking. If you are new to these ideas, don’t get overwhelmed. Pick one thing you want to start using. If you can, begin before Tuesday night so you can ask questions and share experiences with the group. Chapter Three and Four also give lots of ideas about how to start getting students connected. I’m looking forward to listening to what teachers have already tried and how we can support each other as we move from collaboration in our classrooms to collaboration with other classrooms.

Please add thoughts or quotes or questions to this blog as you read – we can follow up in our live sessions. And if you are just stumbling across this project – please join us – more voices make us a more vibrant

learning community.



Virtual Book Club has Launched!

What an exciting start to the Virtual Book Club! If you couldn’t attend live, here is the recording to the event: Virtual Book Club January 7th. Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 22nd at 7:30pm EST (Wednesday, January 23rd at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. Please note, this is a change from the original schedule.

We had over 30 teachers participating live from five countries and four continents and “a whole mess” of states across the United States. It was lively with a very active chat, loads of folks taking a turn at the microphone and more than a couple of technical glitches. Here are some highlights:

  • A huge thanks to Theresa Allen for co-moderating with me. She kept things rolling when my computer decided to challenge me and supported new-comers with Blackboard Collaborate tips and tricks.
  • Another big shout-out to Lisa Durff for setting up the Blackboard Collaborate room and checking in on us to make sure things were working, and for spreading the word about the club.
  • Big virtual hugs to Michael Graffin and other Global Classroom Project teachers for jumping in and sharing ideas and inspiration about how global projects can be tackled by anyone, anywhere.
  • Deep and heartfelt thinks to author Julie Lindsay for being a part of our first discussion. Your presence added depth and meaning to the conversation.
  • ACPS super-teachers that reached beyond their own comfort zone to try out new technology, shared their challenges, asked their questions, and connected easily and powerfully with educators around the world
  • Each educator that took time out of their busy lives to spend an hour sharing stories, connecting and lending their digital support to the concept and work of global projects. As we said last night “We might all be crazy, but this way we can be crazy together.” *smile*

Highlights of the discussion:

  • Finding ways to show that all students, all ages can be empowered by and be powerful through global projects
  • Being creative with the technology that is available and maximizing what you have
  • Learning about successful projects that are already running and available to join
  • Thoughts about how to have global project running in many grades so that students have repeated exposure to the opportunities to collaborate across classrooms
  • Stages of global projects, from exchanging information between classrooms to have students co-creating with classrooms around the world
  • The challenges of researching global projects, specifically what needs to be measures in education and where higher ed is vs. K12 teachers
  • How global projects will continue to evolve with new technology

If you couldn’t join us, we hope you can make it next time or leave some comments on this blog!

Countdown to our first meeting!

The Virtual Book Club will begin a short 48 hours (-ish) from now! It has been so much fun to see folks begin to post on this blog, tweet comments on the book, email with ideas or even call when they had a question. One of the wonderful things about a global Professional Learning Network (PLN) is that you have colleagues and friends from all around the world sending you great snippets of wisdom and encouragement at all times of day. Thank you everyone for your active participation already!

If you haven’t already, a quick reminder to make sure you computer is ready for our first session on Monday, January 7th, 7:30PM EST (that’s Tuesday at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here. To check your computer, go to this page by Blackboard Collaborate, it lets you check your computer to make sure you have all the software you need.

The link you will need to join the session is:

Please plan on logging on 20 minutes or so before the start of the book club so that you can make sure all is working and complete the Audio Wizard before we get started. If you haven’t used Blackboard Collaborate yet, you’ll find it is a great tool and pretty easy to use, but you’ll want some time to explore it before we get started.

Anyone who can’t make our first meeting or has some ideas to share before then, feel free to begin commenting on Chapter One or Chapter Two. We have some folks from time zones that can’t make the live meeting but will be following our conversation through this blog.

Gearing Up for Our First Virtual Book Club Meeting!

I am looking forward to our first Virtual Book Club meeting on Monday, January 7th, 7:30PM EST (that’s Tuesday at 3:00AM GMT), for your time zone, click here.

We will be discussing the first two chapters of the book Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis.  There are several things you can do to get ready for our first meeting:

1) Sign up! If you haven’t already, please complete this form to indicate your interest.

2) Get the book! There are links here to various ways of purchasing and/or downloading the book:

3) Begin reading! We will discuss chapters one and two during our first meeting. Chapter One is titled Flattening Classrooms Through Global Collaboration and Chapter Two is titled Impact on Learning: Research in the Global Collaboration Classroom.  These two chapters make a passionate case for the need for global projects and why they are so effective.

4) Share while reading! As you read and you have thoughts, ideas, questions, insights. Please share them here! I will have a post for each chapter where you can add comments as you read. If you are e-reading, go ahead and Tweet as you read. This is a great way to share with the authors and others the ideas you find most compelling as you read.

5) Take a moment to make sure your computer is ready for our first virtual session. This page by Blackboard Collaborate lets you check your computer to make sure you have all the software you need.

Looking forward to learning and sharing with you!

Welcome to the Virtual Book Club!

What is a Virtual Book Club?
A virtual book club is one in which readers come together to discuss a text using a web-based platform. Readers connect by logging onto a website in which they can be active learners and collaborators. The virtual room allows readers to speak, listen, chat and read about what others think about the text. All participants need is a web link, a computer with access to the Internet (and preferably a working microphone) and thoughts and ideas about the reading. It is like a book club but you can stay home and be in your pajamas!
What book will we be reading?
We will be reading the text Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis. This book is co-written by classroom teachers that have transformed learning in their classrooms by communicating and collaborating with other classrooms around the world. Learn more about how global learning provides authentic literacy experiences, gets students engaged in their learning and opens up numerous opportunities for differentiation.

When will we be meeting?

We will be meeting on Tuesdays at 00:30GMT (Mondays at 7:30pm EST)

(find the time in your country/time zone here)

on the following dates:

January 7th – Meet the Flat Classroom, Chapters 1 & 2

January 21st – Connection and Communication, Chapters 3 & 4

February 4th – Citizenship, Contribution and Collaboration, Chapters 5 & 6

February 18th – Choice and Creation, Chapters 7 & 8

March 4th – Celebrating, Designing, Managing a Global Project, Chapters 9 & 10

March 18th – Rock the World

If you are interested and reading this before our first session (January 7th), please complete this quick form so that I know you are interested and I’ll get back to you with information about our first meeting. If you are reading this after January 7th, 2012, please use this form to contact me and let me know you would be interested in another session of a Virtual Book Club!