For the past five years, I’ve looked for ways to enrich my experience as a Math teacher at Dr. Pillai Global Academy (DPGA) in Mumbai, India. DPGA prides itself on being a “maximum opportunity” learning environment school, designed to impart education that empowers children to pursue a globally challenging career. The focus is on activity-oriented teaching and beyond-the-classroom methods. That’s why Level Up Village was perfect for us.
Relationships and shared personal connections are a huge part of making learning fun, real and something that we remember long after a school year has ended. They are also great for developing empathy, broadening the mind to the experiences of others and cultivating a global mindset. The challenge for schools developing in countries like China is: How can we help students cultivate this global mindset and experience when nearly all of their classmates are from the same country and culture? Bringing teachers from around the world can go long way, but there’s something extra special about kids being able to connect with other kids and share with someone from a far-away land on their own level.
Level Up Village is taking the idea of the pen pal to the next level.
Its mission, “to globalize the classroom and facilitate seamless collaboration between students from around the world via pioneering Global STEAM enrichment courses,” came to life in our Lower and Middle School divisions this year, as students in PreK, third grade, and eighth grade made connections across continents. Through videos, email, and virtual chatting, Level Up Village participants create a global classroom that utilizes technology to connect students around the globe in collaborative projects.
A pioneering provider of Global STEAM (STEM + arts) enrichment courses, Level Up Village (LUV) , was selected as one of the winners for the EdTech Digest Awards Program in the 21st Century Skills category. The program recognizes people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology.
By Susan Fushikoshi, Punahou Schoool, Honolulu, Hawaii
“Clean water- it’s so precious! It’s our basic Need. Where does it come from? What can we do to keep it clean? Do we have water problems in Hawaii? How can I help someone who also has problems with their water?” Punahou 2nd graders in Honolulu, Hawaii started this inquiry about water and discovered the world!
“Hi, my name is Alice; I am from Ghana.” The sweet, soft voice of our first global partner video appeared on the big screen in our classroom. Shivers went down my spine as cheers erupted from my girls. Suddenly, the project became real. After weeks of preparing, thinking about it and discussing it, we finally had contact. For me, it was as exciting as seeing the Apollo landing as a very young toddler…suddenly, the whole world expanded and grew closer at the same moment.
In December, Mrs. Andrews’ fifth grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School experienced a unique opportunity to speak to their partner classroom in Bogota, Colombia– LIVE! We had been waiting anxiously for weeks for this special moment, which culminated our eight-week Level Up Village Global Scientists course.
Earlier in February, Level Up Village invited its partner schools around the world to post a #GlobalEdSelfie to #SharetheLUV for global education. This was the second year LUV ran this campaign and the posts were outstanding! Thanks to all who participated and enjoy this selection of posts.
Robbins, North Carolina, is a rural town that just 1,180 people call home. Many of the children in this quiet community don’t have an opportunity to travel to see distant places. However, twenty-five of our 4th-grade students now have good friends more than 7,900 miles away in eastern Africa.
The Goddard School in Chantilly, Virginia, embarked on a brand-new, hands-on learning experience this fall that combined engineering and literacy with global perspective. The preschool partnered with Level Up Village to connect students to peers from across the world for shared STEAM (STEM + Arts) projects and cultural exchange. Pre-Kindergarten students were paired with partner students at schools in Ukraine and Zimbabwe through LUV’s lobal Storybook Engineers course.