Teaching the Flat Classroom Workshop -- Boston University, June 25-26

Vicki Davis
Tom Daccord

What is a Flat Classroom?

The concept of a 'flat classroom' came originally from David Warlick (we think!). It is based on the constructivist principle of a multi-modal learning environment that is student-centered and a level playing field for teacher to student and student to teacher interaction.

What is the Flat Classroom Project?

The Flat Classroom Project is a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students.

Co-founded by Vicki Davis (Westwood Schools, USA) and Julie Lindsay(Qatar Academy, Qatar) in 2006, this project traditionally runs in October-December each year. It was featured in Chapter 13 of the latest edition of Thomas Friedman's book, The World is Flat' upon which it was based. (pages 501-503)

Our aims

  1. To promote academic excellence through the use of leading technological tools.
  2. To promote connection and understanding between geographically dispersed, ethnically and culturally diverse groups of students in meaningful, global cooperative authentic learning experiences.
  3. To simplify and document pedagogical best practices for such projects.
  4. To duplicate "ourselves" and practices to encourage the open proliferation of such projects as a standard part of global education and digital citizenship.

Course Outline

Workshops have plenary and break-out sessions and include both skill building with Web 2.0 tools and project management. A hands-on approach is emphasized with participants encouraged to bring laptops and take advantage of the wireless network provided.
According to the needs of the workshop participants both introductory and intermediate/advanced breakout sessions can be offered.


  • Flat Classrooms and 21st century teaching and learning
    • What does a 'flat classroom' mean? How do we recognize one? How can you create one?
    • What are 21st century skills? What does a 21st century classroom look like and what does it do?
  • Global Projects and integrated/embedded curriculum
    • A review of characteristics of best-practice global projects and methods to find projects appropriate to your learning needs
    • A look at what it means to embed global collaborative projects into the curriculum

Pre-Project management

Planning and managing a Flat Classroom Project
  • A review of essential requirements and logistics to run a Flat Classroom Project

Seven Steps to Flatten Your Classroom

  • Connect

    • The 5 phases of connection - an overview of essential elements of being a connected educator
    • How to create a PLN (Personal learning network) and explore online connectivity
    • An introduction and review of social networks and networking in education and how to integrate them into the classroom
    • An overview of generic Web 2.0 tools used in Flat Classroom Projects
  • Communicate

    • How to foster an online learning community - teacher and student engagement strategies
    • A detailed look at skills and tools needed for asynchronous and synchronous communication
  • Citizenship

    • How to be a responsible digital citizen - a review of issues
    • Solutions for safety and privacy when collaborating online
  • Contribute

    • How to be a reliable and successful online contributor - mastering RSS, social bookmarking and wiki's
    • Breakout sessions for skill development at different levels
  • Collaborate

    • How to manage the extended project community: peer review, expert advisers, judges, researchers
    • How to develop strong collaboration skills amongst students and teachers
  • Create

    • Digital storytelling - How to integrate this powerful practice into a project
    • Managing multimedia online - Strategies for working with multimedia formats and sharing resources around the world
  • Celebrate

    • How to assess and acknowledge student achievement - Review of authentic assessment methods
    • How to run student and teacher summits - Strategies for reflection and showcase sessions