I looked up Cynthia Sandler‘s email in my gmail this morning and found that on February 14, 2011 she was emailing to see if she could join the Digiteen project. I feel like I've known her for much longer. She was already incredible in her technology prowess and I'd hesitate to stake claim to any of Cynthia's excellence – she did all that on her own. But her knowledge of how to integrate global collaboration into the classroom here – just 365 days later blows me away.
Yesterday, she pitched her global project idea to the Flat Classroom Certified Teacher Group. It was at 10 am Eastern so I was working frantically at our junior class Valentine's booth about that time, but have been taking time to review the final project designs of the teachers who have successfully made it through the course. Cynthia's video is Perspective Detectives:
Cynthia (and many of the others) nailed it. Catchy name. Clear story of why we need this project. Strong multimedia “pitching” the project to other teachers. And she also has the knowledge to know the pitfalls and challenges of creating a massive project.
Yes, we've used the draft manuscript of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds as our training material for these teachers (as a result the book is really on its 8th or 9th version but that is a good thing.)
Time to birth new, excellent projects
The goal of our certified teacher program is the birth new projects. Some of them that really want to go global will ask us to provide them with resources and tools as part of our Flat Classroom incubator program and others will just head out and do it on their own. We're not super flashy but those who participate and excel in our projects have a very strong content knowledge coupled with an incredible work ethic.
It is hard to complete this course. It is not something you can just do in a minute or two on your spare time. The teachers go through the book, attend weekly meetings, reflect in their journals, and finally, they produce their own project proposal that they pitch to the group for feedback based upon what they've learned about project design. We want to help work through the kinks in our support group of co-learners before pitching to the world.
Can't hide my pride. To me, teaching is not about the teacher it is about seeing those you teach do incredible things. That is what it means to build a legacy. Many of you build legacies every day because you teach and share.
Just think about this. We don't give tests in our course. What is the point? But you do have to participate, engage in conversation, complete 15 challenges (the Flat Classroom 15) and design your own project. If you can do that, I think you've learned something.
I have to brag on all our graduates, the class roster of graduates has some of the most incredible collaborators I've ever known so take a look at their bios.
I hope that Cynthia will find others to join with her to make Perspective Detectives a reality!
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