Going Flat in the Classroom

[Ken Lockette, a colleague of mine describes how the Avonworth School District, integrates global learning and opportunities into all aspects of the curriculum in this P21 blog article. I’ve been fortunate to see the video conferencing in operation. It’s amazing to watch kids from around the world tackle global problems using a project-based learning framework.]

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

by Ken Lockette, Assistant Superintendent, Avonworth School District- A P21 Exemplar on July 07, 2016

Volume 3, Issue 6, Number 2
Driving Question: What if a high school combines global education, creativity and technology to prepare students for today’s flat world?
“By ‘flat’ I did not mean that the world is getting equal. I said that more people in more places can now compete, connect and collaborate with equal power and equal tools than ever before. That’s why an Indian in Bangalore can take care of the office work of American doctors or read the X-rays of German hospitals”– Thomas Friedman
Much has happened since Thomas Friedman forefronted the idea of globalization. In his landmark book The World is Flat (2005), his predictions made us rethink our place on this planet. In the last 10 years, new “flatteners” have developed through the advances of smartphones, wi-fi, and social networking for schools to venture into this flat world?
Through social media alone, revolutions like the Arab Spring have arisen, and young people in the United States have connected with their counterparts in countries like Iran, Libya, Egypt and other nations, creating empathy and the realization that they have more in common than they would have ever believed. Couple this increased global connectedness with a national election year, where rhetoric about foreign and domestic policies surrounding global issues such as immigration, refugee crises, environmental concerns, and terrorism muddy the water with more misinformation than fact, and it becomes vitally important to address global learning in our schools more than ever before. Is it time for our schools to discover this flat world?
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