In the process of searching for classrooms to pair with ours we are looking for the following characteristics:

Current Classrooms Involved

Julie Lindsay's Grade 11 Information Technology in a Global Society class at the International School in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Vicki Davis' Grade 10 Computer Science class at Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia, USA
John Turners' Grade 10 Digital Innovations class at Presbyterian Ladies College, Melbourne, Australia
Barbara Stefanics' Grade 11 Information Technology in a Global Society class at Vienna International School, Austria
Ed Kidd's Grade 11/12 Media literacy Class at the Shanghai American School (Shanghai, China) Media Literacy (Ed Kidd) Blog: http://blogs.saschinaonline .org/edkidd/

Characteristics of Classrooms

A) Geographic Diversity

We must limit the number of classrooms to six or seven for this project, but hope to be expanding far beyond this in the future. An objective of this project is to work through some of the cultural issues that may arise as classrooms with diverse compositions. Participants will be diverse and we only need one classroom per major geographic area for this project. Those who wish to be involved in the future should sign up as Sounding Boards. Those classrooms who are the best sounding boards for this project will be invited to participate in future projects as this model of teaching is expanded.

B) Teacher Qualifications

  • The teacher must be willing to put in long hours during the project. An asynchronous project like this where students are not in the classroom at the same time requires your availability both to your students and to the other teachers. You will be a pioneer and no one will be there to "nag" you to do the right thing. You should plan on at least one workday on the weekend to allow your students to come in and complete their projects.
  • High standard of professional ethics and conduct - Cultural issues WILL arise that you will have to work out with other teachers. You should be a professional who can deal with these issues quietly, directly, and effectively.
  • Good rapport with your students and parents - You will need to be a vigilant classroom monitor who has a good relationship with your students and their parents. You need their support in order to go through the learning curve and extra hours required by a project of this nature.
  • Internet Access at home - The teacher must be able to access the internet and their e-mail both at school and at home.
  • Passion - The teacher should be passionate about using technology and learning new things. It requires a great deal of open mindedness and a willingness to learn about new technologies.
  • Comfort level with basic web 2 tools and technology: blogs, wikis, audio recordings, video, etc. We have to troubleshoot our own problems, and although we help each other on some technological problems, the bulk of the problem solving for technical issues will come with you!
  • A skype and/or gmail account with google talk to be able to IM the other teachers.
  • A willingness to be a professional pioneer in a very important field of open Web 2 collaborative projects. This may mean allowing a researcher to observe your class over skype or to conduct interviews. We believe in openly sharing the work we do under a creative commons licensing in order to advance educational practices around the world. While this will not preclude you from doing work on your own in the future, you will be asked and expected to share with others.
  • A commitment to excellence in education - It is expected that this project will be watched by thousands and perhaps read about by many more than that. We want to continue the pioneering work done on the flat classroom project and help refine the best practices and measure the efficacy of such projects so that it can be scaled and used in a broader educational setting.

C) Classroom Qualifications

  • Internet Access (doesn't have to be perfect, Julie had to struggle with it, some problems come with certain geographic areas)
  • Access to Web 2.0 tools including: blogs, wikis, podcasts, at least one videosharing site (preferably youtube but it could also be google video or photobucket), skype, instant messaging, and more. At least one computer capable of accessing second life (teen grid only.)
  • The ability to capture video via webcam or video camera, digitize it, and edit it. All students should have access to video editing software. (We use the free Windows Movie maker program in Mrs. Davis' room)
  • If the students have never used a wiki, they should have several days of instruction and practice prior to the start of the project. A little wiki / blogging experience is preferred.
  • A class blog is needed for the teacher to communicate and document his/her communications to the class.
  • A commitment to excellence - There is a diversity of ability in every classroom, however, the classroom environment should be such that students have a pride in their work and that what they do is excellence. There may be some exceptions in a class (there always are) but as a whole, the class must understand the level of performance required of them and that they will need to spend time after school and/or out of class or at home working on this project.
  • While Internet access at home for students is not required, it is very helpful and will facilitate communications.
  • Professionalism - A student cannot assume that other cultures are like their own. We will give a basic cultural overview but students need to know that this is not a game.

D) School Qualifications

  • A supportive administration and curriculum director. The flatclassroom project met every NETS standard as currently proposed for ISTE. This project will do the same and will be even better than the flat classroom because Vicki and Julie are implementing improvements based upon their learning.
  • Willingness to unblock URL's as appropriate. You need to have a commitment up front that if any websites are blocked during this project that you will have the ability to have it unblocked at least for the duration of the project.
  • Bandwidth - The school must be willing to allow you to use the bandwidth required to upload and send files via the Internet and to view video files during the course of the project.
  • A commitment to excellence - The school should expect excellence from this project, the teachers, and the students, and welcome their desire to come in after school and at least one weekend workday for this project.