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August 24, 2012 / tasha cowdy

A new learning journey starts: flattening classrooms

Over the last year I have been exploring ways to help the children in my Kindergarten class in Japan make connections with children in Kindergarten classes around the world. Thanks to a Kindergarten Around the World global project that I discovered via #kinderchat, together my Kindergaten students and I have explored ways in which Twitter and blogging can help us to develop relationships with Kindergarten classes in other countries. As we begin a new year, I have been wondering, what next? How I can deepen my own understanding of what it means to connect and collaborate outside the classroom and how might this look with five and six year olds? It occurred to me that if I am going to flatten the walls of my Kindergarten classroom, I need to push the boundaries of my own flat learning.

For a couple of years now, I have been active on twitter and follow with particular interest the #kinderchat tag. This summer I made a spontaneous,very last minute decision to participate in the first #edcampkinder held in Las Vegas. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I had never attended an edcamp before; I was meeting up with people that I had been communicating with for the last year, 140 characters at a time -which tells you everything and nothing about a person; now, I would be spending four days with these friend/ strangers. As a person who likes a lot of independence, needs a lot of personal distance and spends considerable amounts of energy controlling socially unacceptable outbursts of frankness, this definitely had the potential to send me orbiting out of my comfort zone.

As it turned out, my first edcamp was a HUGE sucess and marked a turning point in my understanding of what connected, collaborative, global learning can look like. Many of the #edcampkinder attendees have blogged about their experiences and perspectives on this site. Inspired by my experiences at #edcampkinder and further galvanized by the reflections of my fellow #edcampkinder participants, I decided to explore further what global and connected learning could look like for me. I enrolled in a Flat Classroom project and registered for the Flat Classroom Certified Teacher course. (I first learned about the Flat Classroom projects on a #globalclassroom twitterchat and have been interested in finding out more for quite some time – edcampkinder provided the catalyst.)

I am looking forward to starting a new learning journey and conducting personal and group inquiries into what it means to work in a flat classroom both for me and for my five and six year old students. One of the big ideas that came up again and again in the reflections from the #edcampkinder was the importance of relationships; as @MauiMickey wrote, “Relationships matter!” The strengthening of relationships and the building of communities is a theme that I would like to explore further as I embark on my flat classroom journey.

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2 Comments

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  1. Julie Lindsay / Sep 5 2012 17:42

    Tasha, thanks for joining Flat Classroom course and good luck with your journey….I know this will take you to amazing places with your students! Don’t forget Flat Classroom is also coming to you in Japan this year!

    • tasha cowdy / Sep 9 2012 11:53

      Hi Julie! I’m excited about the journey -new adventures have started already! Looking forward to Flat Classroom in Yokohama : )

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