Challenges and Projects created for the Flat Classroom Project
Flat Classroom Project created by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay

Name: Kathleen Scarpato
Teaching: Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School, Norristown, PA USA
Position: Master Teacher of Training
Brief Bio: I graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood. I completed a certification program in Special Education at Immaculata College and recently completed graduate work at Wilkes University for my Master of Science in Classroom Technology. For the past ten years, I have worked at the PA Virtual in different roles but currently I assist the staff at PA Virtual with their professional development needs and also work with the learning coaches to give guidance on time mangement, organization, and academic content. I live in Delaware County, PA with my three children and husband. I am an avid runner and completed my first marathon in March. I completed my running season in Rehobeth Beach and looking forward to resting my legs.

Module #1--Connections

Read Step 1 Connection
Self-Assess. Use the survey in this chapter to assess yourself. Answers are in
ttend and Engage. Online meeting #1 either online or by listening to the meeting and responding through the Google group to what you've learned.

Create: Set Up Your RSS Reader

Create: # 2 Set Up Your Blog

Reflect.
A few months ago I started to use Google Reader to collect all of those RSS feeds that I wanted to follow. I started following Vicki's blog as she has made an impression on me since I saw her at PETE & C Conference in Hershey, PA. Without sounding like a brown noser, but **The Cool Cat Teacher Blog** has been one that I have been following as many ideas, suggestions, and guidance has been shared in Vicki's writings. I learned about the Flat Classroom Certification classes, new uses for Google, and insight to the importance of technology in a classroom. I will continue to follow this blog to build a stronger pedagogy of instructional technology uses in a classroom.

I follow many blogs but the second blog I tend to turn to on a consistent bases is The Innovative Educator. The information I have gathered in this RSS feed is more of an examination of educational theories, challenges they bring, and benefits of a new innovation. The Innovative Educator looks at the trends in education and showcase how educators can use the strategies to build their instrucational practices. I enjoy the articles and feel I can relate to most of the information in this blog.

The finally RSS feed I have have found to be extremely helpful to my position is the Steve Hargadon. I am part of all of his communities like Classroom 2.0 and The Future of Education. Steve has taken a stance on how to improve our educational structure and gives suggestions on how to look at them in different ways. Being a part of his communities and receiving information through my RSS reader, I am able to be a part of webinars that may have special speakers or recently information about the Global Education Conference.

I feel the blogs that I follow give me a door to what is truly happening in education and can see the connections between of them through my reader. Prior to this reflective piece I would only check my Google Reader once a week, but now making the time to visit it a few days a week has given me more access to important information I may have missed!!
I am a new, true fan to RSS feeds!! Funny part about this whole idea is that it is now a new idea at all!!

'What?', 'So what?', 'Now what?'
Question from Vicki Davis/Julie Lindsay are below:

Step 1C: Connect Your Students: Taxonomies of Global Connection

  • Can teacherpreneurs and standards coexist? How?
  • Can you review the project you used for the question in 1B above and share which level of global collaboration it is reaching?

I believe that teacherpreneurs can coexist with standards as a team. As many teachers are taking control of their instruction and building avenues in which all students can learn through different technologies, content can be made available through research based strategies. Teachers need to understand the standards the students should to achieve, then bring their innovation into planning lessons. Teacherpreneurs know how to use project based and collaborative learning as instructional strategies for all content. As the teacherpreneurs use their understanding of technology, resources available, and global connections students can make, students will become proficient in their learning as it will be real-time, hands-on experiences.

I review the wordpress site called Digitzme in which short stories were used to teach writing, but also a lesson associated with the topic. To use this topic globally would be important to building cultural understanding through the use of short stories. For example, childhood obesity is an epidemic in the US where other countries that may not have this issue could instruct us on how to fight this problem from a grassroot structure. In return through this global connections students could assist in issues that may effect their classrooms but also develop an understanding to other people.


Module #2--Communications

December 2, 2011
#4--Synchronous/Asynchronous
Connect through Time Bridge
Check out my blog

#5--Go Mobile

Essential questions responses
  • What are the abilities and stabilities (habits) required to collaborate globally?
  • Why does one need both?
  • What are some creative ways schools committed to collaborating globally could structure class time? Teacher planning time?
  • What are some ways to prevent burnout as discussed in the chapter?

Currently I do not have a classlist but am working to see if I can have a class to work with during this class. A cousin of mine teaches in New Jersey so I will be connecting with them to create the projects that we will encounter during this class! I have started an iGoogle page for her class to use and add information as they need it.

Bonus #5

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As I was reading through the chapter this week, I feel that the abilities and stabilities of stakeholders in education is required to have a successful global connection. Just for this course I have taken a simple 15 minutes three days a week to log into my Google Reader to check out RSS feeds to those that I feel are important to follow. It is now becoming a habit and I find that I am using different devices to do this task so it may not need to happen at the same time during the week. In order to collaborate globally, stakeholders need to be flexible, willing, and passionate to a cause that will pull in information in which collaboration needs to happen. As we are taking this course, I feel we all have the same beliefs in making connections globally will improve relationships, break stereotypes, and create critical-thinking problem solvers that will build the next generation of innovation!
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I feel that stakeholders need to have habits and abilities to press forward to create a global thinking world as we need to stop thinking for our own country, but how we can work together to make society successful for all humans. Sometimes, I think that we are all working hard on the same tasks, but could collaborate in making learning easier for all students. I am sure the issues we see in our schools could possibly be happening in other parts of the world!
As we discussed in the last chapter, if schools take the standards and develop project-based learning, collaborative groups, and differentiated instructional tracks, students could complete the standards through a hands-on instructional strategy so they have a real life understanding for applications of required content. Time becomes the biggest issue so we need to start thinking out side the box and ask students to be a part of meetings outside of school. Teacher planning will need to be creative so if a school plots for a time collaboration with another class in a different time zone, the experience will help building another year of collaboration. Those teachers involved will be the leaders and can help with developing instrucational programs that may be out of other teacher comfort zones!
Keep schools open for students to come and be a part of sessions if they do not have access to a computer or internet. I have my opinions on unions, but teachers need to understand working globally may go outside the normal school day but collaboration can make for a wonderful learning experience for both sides of learning. Nevertheless, burnout will happen! I read a statistic in one of my educational magazines that 1 in every 5 teachers will only teach for 5 years because of the stress of the position. Therefore through creative planning, sharing responsibilities such as co-teaching, and collaboration, will make a classroom a better work environment for students and teachers. Being in a global collaboration does not just need to be the responsibilty of the teacher but students should be involve in this learning process. It will help build their time managament, organization, and interpersonal skills!



Module #3--Citizenship

Challenge #6--Create a Classroom Monitoring Portal

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Challenge #7 Empower Digital Citizenship Action

Reflections for Module #3

This chapter integrates very nicely into a book I recently read called Digital Citizenship in Schools by Ribble and Bailey. They list nine elements of being a digital citizen that is expressed further in the chapter of Vicki’s and Julie’s new book. I suggest reading this book as it goes into specific information on this important topic. It also gives lessons on how to teach this topic!
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SELF: Defining Digital Citizenship.
As a digital citizen, students are not aware of how technology can affect others around them currently. I was presenting information this week to ninth and tenth grader about communication and asked a similar question about their awareness. Many students stated they did not think about how being a digital citizen affects others but not sure why. Currently I see students that are self-centered and not conscientious of how they can interrupt learning of other students.
I continued discussing this topic and found our discussion come about face as we reviewed the human aspect of technology and being about to hold one conversation instead of texting with ten other friends while talking to another. Students are faced with so many interruptions that making them aware of the consequences of their digital actions will being to turn etiquette of technology more apparent for our students.
As any student, teacher, or parent realizes that putting information on the internet and making it accessible to others should be a wise decision with consideration of other feelings and beliefs. Sharing sceneries will give students the opportunity to understand decision making in general and also how the world can see if they do not follow the correct securities.

SCHOOL: Digital Citizenship in Schools and Organizations
Some of the common digital citizenship issues in collaborative projects would be as follows: cultural understanding, accessibility, social awareness, copyright and securities to websites, and effective communication skills. As students begin to collaborate, they need to use common sense to showing their personal skills know how social spaces can be accessible to students with internet connections. Students also need to know that the internet can be an extravagance to some countries. I feel some students take advantage of their education and tools used for their education. Students need to have an appreciation for their learning which will help develop empathy for students that may not be able to learning in a technological way.
Before beginning any project, teachers should have a plan for any issues they feel may occur during the project. Students’ safety should always be first so if and when they are in danger or being bullied involving all parties in the issue is important. Setting expectations, goals for project, and develop an understanding for the purpose of the project show be a conversation so all stakeholders know their roles in any particular task.