Posted by Heather Davis | Posted in WHAT I AM LEARNING | Posted on October 8, 2011
I just found this post in my drafts file and realized that I had never posted it. In my continuing attempt to be part of the conversation I have decided to post this even though it is a few months old. I first wrote it in April.There are new things I am adding at the end of the post.
This past couple of weeks has been jammed packed with incredible learning opportunities. It is hard to know where to start and how much to put into one post but I have decided to just “go for it” and try to catch up in a small way.
First and foremost is the completion of my long awaited Masters Degree. When I graduated from university in 1974 (yes, I know that was a long time ago and some of you were not even born yet) my father offered to pay for me to do my masters degree. I, of course, turned him down because I wanted to be out in the workforce earning my own money and getting on with a grown up life. That life consisted of teaching at a small country school in Hermitage Missouri for the huge sum of $6,000 a year. Even though I was a new teacher I was viewed as a specialist and therefore was one of the highest paid teachers on staff. If I had realized that I was going to have to wait 37 years to get that degree I may have rethought my quick decision.
Regardless of old decisions with long term consequences. I was finally able to discover something I was passionate about, have the finances and the opportunity to do the studying. So last Sunday morning, February 28th, 2011, I got an email informing me that my Master’s Degree had officially been conferred upon me. Yippee!!!!!. Thank you Walden University for giving me the chance to learn and reach a huge goal. I now officially hold a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Integrated Technology.
Along with that great news last weekend I was able to attend the second Flat Classroom Conference held at BISS here in Beijing. I had been able to attend the first conference two years ago in Doha, Qatar and it was a watershed moment and my view of the world.
Four of the students from our school and a secondary teacher were the official delegates and I was able to attend on Saturday and Sunday. Though I was late starting I very quickly got into the swing of things and became part of a great cohort.
It was special because at this conference the students were developing projects but so were the teachers. My group designed a project called Reportizens. The idea of students using multimedia to collect information about current events and share them with each other.
I think I will have to write more about this later.
Working with great educators was almost overwhelming. The ability to bounce ideas off of each other, incorporate them into a viable project that received a positive evaluation was exceptional. Add to that the chance to meet up with friends from around the world, share ideas and learn new things was also special. The enthusiasm of the students is what sets this conference apart from everyone else though. They arrive as strangers, many in a strange and foreign place and within a matter of hours they have become friends with the walls down and the world definitively flattened.
The young men from Oman continued to impress, the students from Wuhan who had a 24 hour train trip each way, the kids from the US and the rest of the world all settled in, adapted and created projects that show their passion for the future and world they live in. While many of the students came from countries where there was political unrest there are no politics in a flat classroom just support and caring.
Last night I listened to Linda Yollis share about her classes blogging. She is my hero in blogging as we both teach the same grade. What a presentation on the Australian Series. While I was not able to attend the live presentation in Elluminate, Anne “Murcha sent me the link and I sat and listened last night often commenting out loud – it is a good thing I live alone. The plants had no response.”
I am now taking the Flat Classroom Certified Teachers course and it is incredible. I won’t lie – it is a lot of work but boy am learning a lot. The amazing thing is that none of my Masters courses demanded as much focus or provided me with such incredible practical information.
In September I was able to attend the Learning 2.011 Conference in Shanghai. Again, a fabulous experience. I learned and in many ways was overwhelmed. Next year it will be in Beijing. Unfortunately I won’t be but hopefully I will be able find new opportunities.