It was 105° in the small town of Nagarote, Nicaragua. Sweat dripped down my face as I lugged yet another pile of dirt out of the garden bed. I sensed my advisees were growing more tired with every passing hour, but we all persevered, determined to both build a new classroom and create a garden that would help further the educational programs at NicaPhoto. That’s what we at Builders Beyond Borders (B3) were known for, after all – building a better world for others.
Level Up Village is expanding its global network with the addition of yet another international school partner: Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt. This school year, both seventh and eighth grade students at the school participated in Level Up Village’s Global Conversations: Malala Yousafzai course. The eighth graders collaborated with partner students at Springboard School in Pakistan while seventh graders were paired with partner students at Seacoast Charter School in Dover, New Hampshire.
We are proud to shine the spotlight on Tina Coffey, Level Up Village’s U.S. Teacher of the Year for 2017. Tina is the Instructional Technology Resource Teacher at Oak Grove Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia, and taught four sections of Global Inventors to fifth graders starting in late February. At her request, all of her students were all paired with Spanish-speaking global partners. Her goal was to have students engage in a 3D printing collaboration with partner students while exchanging video messages entirely in Spanish.
The team at Level Up Village is delighted to recognize Karen Orozco at NicaPhoto in Nicaragua as Global Partner Teacher of the Year for 2017. Karen has taught seven different Level Up Village courses including LUV’s newest courses: Global Water Crisis and Global Game Strategists. Her favorite course to teach so far is Global Doctors Anatomy. Karen’s students live in the Sonrisa de Dios neighborhood of Nagarote in homes that were only recently wired for electricity. Despite the many challenges the children face in their daily lives, they are receiving cutting-edge technology instruction at NicaPhoto through their Level Up Village courses.
During my trip, I met with headmasters, teachers and students at several schools and introduced them to the concepts of Global Education and, specifically, how Level Up Village empowers this concept… While meeting with Secretary of Education Dr. Utete-Masango, she made it clear that some of the guiding principles of the government’s new education curriculum include the hallmarks of 21st Century Education: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. The department is looking to implement a communications network (mainly via satellite) that will connect all the schools in the country.
Kids are growing up with smart phones in their hands, developing their own apps, programming robots and creating online personas. Indeed, technology is prevalent in nearly every facet of children’s lives, including at school where they’re often using technology tools to enhance their learning. But just because a child knows what buttons to push or has access to a world of knowledge at their fingertips doesn’t mean he or she knows what to do with that power, and power it surely is.
Educators at several schools have applied for and received grants in order to run Level Up Village courses, but we recently learned that for the first time, a LUV course was funded after a second grade student applied for a grant. We spoke to Wendy Powers, a teacher at Rooster Elementary School in Austin, Texas, to learn more.
Helping students develop a global mindset is a top priority for many schools, and today’s wired classroom environment is creating new and exciting opportunities to do so. Future-ready Catholic school leader Abby Giroux at All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is fostering global connections between her students and peers from around the world by partnering with Level Up Village. She recently taught LUV’s Global Web Designers, which combines environmental science with website development and culminates with each student building a website together with a partner student in another country.
How would you like to grow vegetables, plant flowers and collect eggs as part of your school day? These are just a few of the many hands-on activities for students at American Farm School just outside Thessaloniki, Greece, where a working farm produces milk, yogurt, Omega 3 eggs, turkey, wine and more. In this living laboratory, children learn by doing by engaging in experiential learning and applied research… Students at the school’s STEM Academy recently completed Level Up Village’s Global Scientists – a course that explores water chemistry, water conservation, water pollution and filtration.
After exchanging video messages throughout their Level Up Village Global Inventors course, students in Roanoke, Virginia, and their partner students in Central America connected live via Skype. And what amazing conversations they had! Here’s the story, as told by educators on both ends.