Learning how to communicate and collaborate with peers from diverse cultures is an essential skill for the 21st Century classroom and will help prepare students to enter the global workforce with confidence. Global competency is fundamental to our work at Level Up Village, and this school year we’re even more focused on helping teachers develop a better understanding of what it is and how to help their students become global citizens who communicate respectfully and interact productively with partner students across the world through our global STEAM courses.
“So, what is your favorite subject? Hope you had fun learning about my school day. Tell me about yours!” exclaimed Paige Travers ’25, an exuberant fourth-grade student on the Short Hills campus. She was just wrapping up one in a series of self-made videos in which she explained, with liberal use of hand gestures, her typical school day, her favorite hobby, and what holiday celebration she most enjoyed. Shortly, the video’s recipient in Kenya, would eagerly receive it and respond in kind with a video of her own.
By John Childs, Program Director, Mental Fitness 21st Century Learning
“OMG! We could help give clean water to all our brothers and sisters in Africa!” This was the ‘eureka moment’ for one of our 8-10-year-old students while seeing the results of an experiment in Level Up Village’s Global Scientist course. The students collaborated on the design of a water collection apparatus made from leaves, some plastic, a few heavy rocks with a carefully dug hole it all came together very nicely! When students can connect learning with the solution of problems the education becomes relevant and meaningful and most of all fun.
From the moment Jody Swanigan, Principal of East Cooper Montessori Charter School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, heard about Level Up Village (LUV), she was determined to bring LUV programs to her school.
“What first drew me in was the emphasis on STEM,” said Jody. But after checking out the global STEAM courses offered by Level Up Village and watching some videos on the website, she saw the connection between LUV’s “Take a Class, Give a Class” model and Montessori education.
By AB3 Smartacles, fifth-grade student at Oak Grove Elementary in Roanoke, Virginia
…During this project, we used a website called TinkerCad. It is like a digital blueprint because it maps out a grid and it gives you specific measurements. You can use or create your own design and if you get permission you can print it out on a 3-D printer. In this website, we are creating a Solar Powered flashlight. It can be quite fun, but difficult at the same time. In Tinkercad when you’re creating the flashlight you must have the correct measurements and you can personalize it by adding special features.
When I joined Gayaza High School in 2016, I was relatively quiet until third term when I was enrolled in the “I am Malala” class. I was so fascinated with Malala’s courage to fight for what nearly got her killed. It was at that moment I asked myself what I believe in and what is worth fighting for.
“Level Up Village has allowed our students to branch outside the walls of Lincoln Elementary School into a global setting where they are solving real world problems,” said Shannon Hill, Instructional Partner at Lincoln Elementary. “Through the use of one to one video message exchanges with their assigned global partner, our students learned about different cultures, causing them to connect both physically and emotionally to this project. It amazes me to see 3rd grade students rise up to the challenge by designing fully functional solar powered flashlights through digital software and 3D printing.”
Last spring, we began our Level Up Village (LUV) partnership with students at Nicaphoto in Nicaragua. Through LUV’s Global Storybook Engineers course, we worked on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities, combining literacy with engineering challenges.
First, we read the story Strega Nona, set in Calabria, a region in southern Italy which forms the “toe” of the boot. The problem in the story is that the town is about to be flooded by pasta! Our first design challenge was to IMAGINE what if Big Anthony caused the pasta to overflow again. How could we save the town? Then we made a PLAN. We pretended that we were architects and tried to design a tower that would stand tall and not fall down using marshmallows, spaghetti, masking tape, and string.
Level Up Village (LUV) today announced it is bringing global education opportunities to schools in Zimbabwe through its new partnership with eLearning Solutions. Based in Connecticut, Level Up Village is a pioneering provider of global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses and is working with more than 250 schools in the United States and partner schools in 20 countries. Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, eLearning Solutions is a digital learning solutions provider of 21st century learning solutions designed to empower educators, stimulate learners and promote learning excellence across sub-Saharan markets.
As this school year came to a close, I couldn’t help but be filled with joy at the positive experiences my students and I shared. Yes, they improved their writing skills, read wonderful books, conducted research, delivered presentations, took standardized tests, and all of the rest. And yes, all of that is worth celebrating. But what stood out the most, by far, were the moments that happened during our second Global Conversations literature course with The Anderson School in Gweru, Zimbabwe.