“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.
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.
“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.”
A growing number of tech-forward schools are integrating global collaboration into their STEM programs by partnering with Level Up Village. A great example of this is Kepner Beacon Middle School, an innovative new school within the Denver Public School district.
From the ISTE 2017 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Level Up Village (LUV) today announced it has added live video chat technology to its Global Communication Platform in order to further enhance the communication and collaboration that takes place between students from across the world in every Level Up Village course. This new functionality is already being piloted by students in the United States and their global partners in Zimbabwe and will be available to Level Up Village students all over the world starting in September of 2017.
This spring, Level Up Village was the first organization to be awarded the Seal of Alignment for Proficiency for ISTE’s 2016 standards for students. That’s an impressive mouthful, but what does that mean exactly? The ISTE Seal of Alignment is designed to give educators and school leaders direct access to the best resources to help their students develop as global citizens in a digital world. There are three levels: Readiness, Proficiency and Mastery. Proficiency is awarded “for resources that offer a flexible implementation plan and provide opportunities to practice the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the ISTE Standards.”
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.
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.
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.