Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay, along with Bernajean Porter, Anne Mirtschin, Steve Madsen, Sara Patterson and other amazing Flat Classroom participants and educators encouraged students to envision the future of education. As an action-based conference format student teams, (and educator teams too) designed a futuristic global project or idea that could most likely be implemented.
I had the absolute privilege of attending a session in which the student teams (and a couple of adult teams put together on the day) pitched their ideas/presentation at a table with 2-3 guest educators. When the allotted time was up, the student teams were given feedback from the adults, then given time to “huddle and improve” their pitch from the feedback they’d received, before moving onto the next table. I have to say that this session was the highlight of the conference for me. The room was full of energy, enthusiasm and had a positive buzz. As an educator, I was blown away by the honesty and openness to feedback and constructive criticism these students took on board. The students were also able to give us feedback on our feedback, thereby empowering themselves with a voice that mattered. We were all stakeholders in the pitch because of that one extra step. A step that we so often forget about in the “rush” of our school day. I got to experience the value of TIME. TIME for our students to put together their ideas, TIME for our students to received feedback and TIME for our students to reflect on the feedback, tweek their ideas, and TIME to present their ideas again – and perhaps even TIME to complete the cycle again.
However, it really wasn’t until the three finalists presented their digital stories at the closing ceremony of the whole conference that it truly dawned on me what a powerful process the Flat Classroom Project entails. I was delighted to see that one of my most favourite groups that I’d been part of the feedback process for, had made it into the finals. It was incredibly humbling to see their final project, how much they’d tweeked it, how much they’d taken on board our advice to them in the early stages of their ideas pitch. Congratulations to ALL of the student participants, Vicki, Julie, Anne, Steve, Sara, Bernajean and everyone else involved in way, shape or form in the Flat Classroom Conference, Mumbai, India. You were amazing! Voting is still open so please, go on over to the wiki, watch the videos and cast your vote!
Only much later did I discover that this group IMPACT had lost their entire presentation the night before and had worked fevourishly through the night to put their digital story back together again for the finalist presentation. That just makes me even more amazed at the capacity of our students to succeed (amidst failure) when they have a personal stake in a project and are given the tools, the encouragement and the TIME!