Technology can be used to enable collaborative learning among students in different countries to help build a better world, says a global educator and innovator. “We now have the technology to join the world and we have to use it wisely to teach the emerging generation to make a difference in the world,” said Julie Lindsay at the 20th iEarn International Conference and 17th Youth Summit at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) on Thursday.
With an extensive experience in teaching in countries including Zambia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Qatar and China, Lindsay co-founded the Flat Classroom Project together with Vicki Davis.
The project was based on Thomas Friedman’s principle illustrated in his bestselling book The World is Flat, in which he sees a world in which historical and geographical divisions are becoming irrelevant because of factors brought about by globalisation.
The project is a global collaboration that connects middle and senior high school students from the classroom to the global level, working collaboratively with others around the world and creating students who are competitive and global-minded.
It uses Web 2.0 tools such as social networking sites, blogs, wikis and web applications to solve problems using real world topics.
“Flat learning is pedagogy supported by technology, bringing the world into the classroom and opening the classroom to the world. It goes beyond just connecting, and can change the world as we know it,” she explained.
Flat classroom involves seven steps, including connection, communication, citizenship, contribution and collaboration, choice, creation and celebration.
Recognising the potent impact of technology on learning, Lindsay who is co-author of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time, recommended redesigning the curriculum, changing the approach in assessment and using peer review and collaboration.
However, the digital divide is one of the obstacles impeding the realisation of a flat classroom around the world.
“Technology is only powerful if it is accessible,” she said, calling for improved connectivity among countries to enable students to learn collaboratively online.
Hosted in Qatar and the Gulf for the first time, the conference, which ends today, has brought together 500 participants from 50 countries.
Under the theme “ICT for Education: Reaching Out, Building Bridges,” the conference hosted by Reach Out To Asia (Rota) features eight plenary sessions, two panel discussions and more than 90 workshops and presentations. In addition, there is an exhibition for students and teachers to showcase projects and different cultures.
Also featured yesterday were a panel discussion on “Film and Education” and a plenary session on “Intercultural Dialogue by Utilising Online Facilitation.”