Developing Global Citizens in a Digital World: LUV’s ISTE Seal Explained

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A student at Oak Grove Elementary in Roanoke, VA, is designing a solar light box with his partner in Latin America in Level Up Village’s Global Inventors 3D printing course, one of many LUV courses that recently received the ISTE Seal of Alignment. In this post, LUV Director of Curriculum, Erin Dowd explains why this is an important achievement.

By Erin Dowd

This spring, Level Up Village (LUV) was the FIRST organization to receive the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) Seal of Alignment at the Proficiency Level for the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students. That’s an impressive mouthful, but what does that mean exactly? 

What is the Seal of Alignment?

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.”

Why is it Important?

The Seal of Alignment process is not easy. It required us to think about the curriculum we create, why we create it, and how it leads students to develop the skills and competencies outlined in the standards. It provides a valuable resource for school leaders to locate high-quality programs that focus on specific student outcomes. It is also important for Level Up Village as a company because it reaffirms our commitment to quality global education and technology resources to help students become global citizens.

How does it connect to LUV Courses?

The review team found LUV courses to be “interesting, engaging, challenging and highly professional in their design and implementation. While Level Up Village courses closely aligned to at least one indicator per standard, there are two standards in which we excel: Global Collaborator and Innovative Designer.  

Global Collaborator – This was one of our strongest alignment areas, and it makes perfect sense because Level Up Village focuses on connecting children through meaningful curriculum.

All courses involve the use of the LUV Student Portal. It’s where the magic happens, where students meet their partner, share information about themselves, record videos and ultimately make a new friend. All of our courses now also align with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, which clearly outline opportunities for students to explore local and global issues. In addition to providing students access to the LUV Platform, many of our courses use other collaborative technologies like Scratch, Weebly and Tinkercad, which allow students to share their work with other students across the globe.

Innovative Designer – One of the most important indicators for this standard includes the ability for students to “exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.” While this is a reality in the world, it isn’t always a reality in the classroom. All Level Up Village courses are built on the foundations of problem-solving and student voice. Making a friend from another country who may speak another language allows students to work through that ambiguity in a fun and exciting manner.

  • In Global Inventors, students not only grapple with ambiguity, but also work through the Engineering Design Process to create a solution to the lack of reliable electricity access in many parts of the world. This process encourages persistence through the open-ended challenge of designing and 3D printing a solar-powered light source.
  • Likewise, Global Scientists focuses on real-world problem-solving through the design of a water filter using recycled materials.
  • Global Storybook Engineers engages our youngest learners in problem-solving and innovative design through literature and design thinking.

It can be incredibly difficult and time-consuming for teachers and school leaders to evaluate and choose the best resources for helping students to develop as both global and digital citizens. The ISTE Seal of Alignment takes away the guesswork by highlighting high-quality products that have met rigorous standards, thus making it easier to bring resources into schools where they are needed the most. We are very proud to have received the Seal of Alignment and look forward to bringing our courses into even more schools, as a result.


Find us at the ISTE conference in San Antonio! Here is Level Up Village’s ISTE Schedule of events:

  • Booth #2762 in the Exhibit Hall throughout the week
  • Sunday, June 25th: ISTE Seal of Alignment Networking Mixer, 4:15-4:45pm, Room 217A
  • Tuesday, June 27th: ISTE Seal of Alignment Poster Session, 4:00-6:00pm, Table 44 in the Tower View Lobby
  • Wednesday, June 28th: Global Playground Poster Session, 10:00am
  • Featured in the ISTE Mobile App Game

And… stay tuned for BIG news from Level Up Village on Monday, June 26!