Three years ago our school strategic plan began mentioning global connections. This led me to Flat Connections and last week we hosted Australia’s first Flat Connections conference, previously it has been held in international schools. With participants from Iran, Norway, Spain, France, USA and Canada, the conference was a mix of global connections, educational technology, challenge-based learning, and student voice. A highlight for me was hearing Norwegian educator Ann Michaelsen describe how she wrote the book Connected Learners with her students. I also enjoyed catching up with Dorothy Suskind, a talented elementary school teacher from Richmond, Virginia.
Keynotes were provided by Simon Breakspear and Michael Furdyk and the participants were supported by Kristina Stoney, Anne Mirtschin, Ann Michaelsen, and Chris Betcher – with expertise in educational technology, social media, and social entrepreneurship. Both educator and student participants were required to create a video in small groups around the theme ‘What’s the other story?’ Social media provided a conference backchannel and virtual participants took part around the world. Check out the Flickr feed.
The biggest takeaway for me was the reinforcement that student learners are more agile than adult learners. I am beginning to think that staff professional learning activities should include students as the default position. Here is a great post about the conference by Michael Graffin.