July 2016

The World is a Global Village: Voices from Kenya

Connecting with partners in developing countries is often an eye-opening and impactful experience for U.S. students, but what is it like for their global partners on the other end of the collaboration? Four students from rural Kenya wrote to us about their daily experiences with electricity, water, life at school, and how they have been inspired by their Level Up Village courses at Kenya Connect.

Designing a Website is Easier than You Think!

By Jane C. & Vivian M., 7th graders at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School

In my Level Up Village Global Web Designers course, I have learned to code different things, for example, a website and a robot. I have also learned how to create a website or blog on Weebly. The advice I have for kids who do not think they can code is to give it a try! Listen to directions or ask somebody who has already made their own website if you have any questions. It is easier than you think!

Pokémon Go or No Go? Is There Educational Value in this Latest Craze?

By Jake Parmley

Pokémon GO has officially swept the world into a frenzy, earning over 21 million daily active users last week, topping app charts and adding billions to the market value of Nintendo. On the surface, the premise of exploring your surroundings and flicking Poké Balls at made-up creatures seems simple or just a new form of mindless entertainment. Parents and teachers may be wondering whether they should be encouraging kids to catch ’em. As with all technology, they should be aware of and supervising children’s gaming, especially in light of recent safety concerns about Pokémon GO. However, there are valuable educational skills and life lessons embedded within Pokémon GO’s design. Here are seven reasons why you should support children’s interest in this innovative augmented reality (AR) game:

Books for Educators

Top Summer “Recharge, Refuel, Refresh” Books for Educators – Part 1

By Esra Murray, Teacher at ISD

As a lifelong learner, an educator dedicated to improving my craft and a mom of twin boys, I have learned that I have to be thoughtful in how I invest in my time. I am always on the lookout for summer reading materials that will not only help me grow me as a learner, but also provide concrete tools for my classroom, actionable strategies for my learners, and some peace-of-mind that I am doing a decent job in raising my always curious boys. In this two-part series, I will share with you some of the most refreshing books out there that will recharge your thinking on innovation, global-mindedness and social-emotional awareness.

Trending at #ISTE2016

By Esra Murray, Teacher at ISD

With so many new ideas and technologies to choose from, what are the big ideas educators should focus on for the 2016-17 school year? Here are my top five take-aways from ISTE 2016 both as an attendee and presenter:

Global Dialogue in The Language Arts Classroom

Level Up Village’s newest literature course – Global Conversations: The Giver – prompted some interesting and thought-provoking dialogue between students at Eastern Middle School in Connecticut and their global partners in Kenya, Ghana, Jamaica and Argentina this spring on issues such as the role of government in people’s daily lives, discrimination, poverty and corruption.

STEM in After School Programs

The Rise of STEM in After School Programs

STEM programs are gaining significant traction in after school programs across the country. A recent survey by the Afterschool Alliance revealed that 70% of parents whose children participate in after school programs say those programs include STEM offerings. And demand is on the rise.