Flat Classroom Project Creates Globally Minded Students at YCIS Beijing
Released on: March 04, 2011, 12:48 pm
Internet & Online
(Beijing) -- Once a week, Coco Yu walks into her Year 4
classroom at Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing),
logs onto a computer and starts communicating with other children her
age who are located in schools stretching from England to India.
Yu is one of dozens of students at YCIS Beijing who are participating in a global
collaborative project that joins together primary students from around the world via
the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies, including Wikispaces and Ning, an online
service that allows members to create social networks.
The project is called Flat Classroom. It is part of an emerging trend in
internationally aware schools, like YCIS Beijing, that embrace a holistic and
full-rounded educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the
world in order to create students who are competitive and globally-minded. One of
the main goals of the project is to “flatten” or lower the classroom walls so that
two or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom.
“In Flat Classroom, we work a lot with computers and we go to Wiki, and we type what
we do in Beijing. Maybe we Skype, and we talk to other children around the world,
for example, we have a school in Mumbai, a school in England and Mill Creek and the
US,” Yu, who is 9years old, said.
YCIS Beijing teachers who take part in the program say they can immediately see the
perceptions of their students about the world and their place in it change as a
result of participation in the project, which incorporates themes and lesson plans
from “The World is Flat,” a ground-breaking book authored by the New York Times
columnist Thomas Friedman. Students also work collaboratively on projects with their
peers located in different schools around the world. On February 21st at 8am,
students used Skype to video chat with the primary students and parents at a US
primary school who were attending their back-to-school night. It was an exciting
link for both primary classes involved who exclaimed cheers when the video
connection occurred, followed by a question and answer period that bounced
back-and-forth between times zones.
“Of course, students have discovered similarities between themselves and other
students located at the other participating schools,” said Primary Year 4 teacher,
“They also note the differences as well. It is through these similarities and
differences that our students have expressed the most learning. They find it
fascinating that the same hobbies, food or entertainment enjoyed by them is enjoyed
by other students as well. Conversely, they are intrigued by the holidays and
traditions of different countries and are surprised when preconceived notions they
had about other countries are challenged and clarified with reality.”
The Flat Classroom Project is incorporated mostly during IT time at YCIS Beijing but
also crosses over into other subject areas, including English, math, history and
Chinese. Students, for example, learn how to correspond in English with their
counterparts in different countries or study the history of the countries in which
their peers are living.
From February 25 - 27, a special Flat Classroom Conference will be held in Beijing.
It will include students and educators discussing the future of education through
the integration of technologies, including wikis, blogs, social networking and
multi-media storytelling, into learning environments.
About Flat Classroom
The Flat Classroom Project is a global collaborative project that joins together
middle and senior high school students. The project was co-founded by Vicki Davis
(Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay (Beijing (BISS) International School,
China) in 2006. The Flat Classroom Project 2006 is was featured in Chapter 13, 'If
it's not happening it's because you're not doing it', of the latest edition of
Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat' upon which it was based. One of the
main goals of the project is to 'flatten' or lower the classroom walls so that
instead of each class working isolated and alone, 2 or more classes are joined
virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web
2.0 tools such as Wikispaces and Ning.
Additional sister projects to the Flat Classroom Project include the Horizon
Project, and it's replacement since 2009 the Net Generation Education Project,
created in conjunction with Don Tapscott and 'Grown Up Digital', based on the
Horizon Report released annually by New Media Consortium and Educause; the Digiteen
Project with the aim of promoting better online citizenship through research and
discussion culminating in each school taking action within their own community to
promote this; and Eracism, a global student debate that includes a virtual world
About Yew Chung International School Beijing
Located in the scenic Honglingjin Park in the heart of downtown Beijing, Yew Chung
International School of Beijing celebrates 15 years of educating students of the
city’s expatriate community. YCIS Beijing is a fully accredited school by CIS, NEASC
and NCCT, and is part of the Yew Chung Education Foundation with over 5,000 students
across campuses in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chongqing, Qingdao and Silicon Valley (USA).
Providing Beijing’s expatriate community a quality education across a broad spectrum
ranging from early childhood to senior secondary education, the school offers a
unique richness and diversity of both Eastern and Western cultures that equip
students to be bilingual, academically competitive, caring and globally-minded
individuals. For more information, visit www.ycis-bj.com.
For media inquiries:
Connie L Hong
China Imperative International Ltd.
Tel: (8610) 5165 4854
Fax: (8610) 5165 4864
Mobile: (86) 13810678719
Yew Chung International School of Beijing
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