Blog Post

Re-Imagining the Classroom, Re-Imagining the World

Re-Imagining the Classroom, Re-Imagining the World

In Malaysia, high bandwidth is being made available in every classroom in the country--but it is not just technology that links classroom to classroom.  There is also an educational theory that underscores the relationship between access, equity, intellectual transformation, global change, and each and every individual student.  What is happening in K-12 education in Malaysia is as inspiring as the famous Petronas Twin Powers shining over Kuala Lumpur.

In October, I was privileged to be invited to keynote "The Classroom Reimagined," a conference sponsored by FrogAsia.  FrogAsia is a proprietary platform available in every Malaysian school classroom courtesy of the Malaysian goverment.  I would compare it to Blackboard, except that its flexibility, its affordances as a social media linking kids and teachers, parents and communities, far exceed the lock-down systems we are more familiar with in the US higher ed classroom.  But what is more impressive even than high bandwidth, is Malaysia's vision to involve every child in re-imagining the classroom not as a physical space but as a limitless possibility.

Classroom Reimagined conference logo

Shortly before we arrived, the students all over the country were engaged in an international online conversation with literally millions of other school kids around the world addressing, together, the most urgent of the world's problems.  

For the FrogAsia conference I keynoted, the idea was to take the physical classroom and, using resources available, rethink and redesign it as expansively as possible.   At the conference, 800 teachers literally were given opportunities to rearrange furniture--and talk about what it meant.

I was especially honored that the organizers of the conference Googled and found my "Project Classroom Makeover" chapter from Now You See It and made that the center piece of this year's conference. I was honored to kick off the conference with a keynote address and then participate in many events throughout the day--including participation in what must have been 800 selfies and iPhone photographs that the teachers from all over Malaysia took to bring back to their students to commemorate the day. 

My partner, Ken Wissoker, Editorial Director at Duke University Press, was also invited to give a talk, and he gave a serious presentation about what it means to connect the scholarship written at the highest levels by university professors specialized in the diverse international, multicultural ways of understanding the world with the ways we teach K-12--and vice versa.  (You can read the text of Ken Wissoker's talk here.)

This video gives a glimpse of the conference, our keynote addresses, and the 800 remarkable teachers who traveled from all over Malaysia to join the day.  It also takes you on a tour of classrooms all over Malaysia.  And gives you a sense of the shining, inspiring world we were invited to enter for a few days.  

Leaps of Knowledge: The Classroom Reimagined 2015


No comments