Students in Greenwich, Connecticut, recently participated in a literature and cultural exchange with peers in Pakistan that opened minds and challenged assumptions for students on both ends of the partnership. The exchange was a new pilot program developed by Level Up Village (LUV), building on the success of its collaborative, global STEAM programs.
By Erin Dowd
Global problem solving.
These topics seemed to be on everyone’s mind at the the 63rd Annual National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC) Convention in Orlando. We were thrilled to be able to say that yes, our courses meet all of those needs! Indeed, the Level Up Village team returned from the conference bursting with excitement, ready to inspire even more gifted students to find solutions to real-world problems and engage in meaningful virtual exchange with peers from across the globe.
Guest post by Nathan Lutz, Global Learning Coordinator at Kent Place School
In my role of Global Learning Coordinator, I am constantly seeking ways for our students to have global experiences. Girls in the Middle School and Upper School at Kent Place School have many opportunities for global engagement, including several options for trips. Our Primary School students, however, don’t have as many opportunities. Our World Language classes have sister classes with which they correspond via letter or Skype, but I feel like we can always do more. After all, technology has given us new opportunities for communicating with people all over the world.
When introduced to Level Up Village (LUV), I knew that by we would have new opportunities that would excite our students about meeting other children from around the world.
While many schools now have a 3D printer in the building, teachers often tell us it isn’t utilized nearly as much as they’d like. For those of you who have a 3D printer that has turned into an expensive doorstop, here are seven ways you can get students using it again to design something that is both creative and useful.
Teaching Level Up Village courses either during the day or after school is a great way to get valuable hands-on STEAM (STEM + arts) experience and learn new skills in the areas of coding and game design, CAD and 3D printing, dissections, genetics and more. Here are some practical tips for teachers on how to make the most of the experience:
One of the biggest components of game design and development is collaboration. For Triple A game development, teams of artists, designers, engineers, writers, producers, etc., come together to establish a vision, and guide that vision through to completion. During class, we began scratching the surface on what it means to collaborate at such a high level, and why this teamwork is critical for success.
Though they live on different continents, students at St. Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and a group of girls at Ekalavya School in Bangalore, India, were partners this fall in LUV’s Global Inventors course. Together, they studied electricity, computer aided design (CAD) and 3D printing, while learning about each other’s daily lives and cultures via video message exchange. One girl at each end of the partnership reflected on the experience.
Fairy tales give young children a safe way to explore the world, grapple with the conflict between good and evil and develop their moral compass. But that’s not all. They also inspire curiosity, creativity and problem-solving, making them a natural fit for the STEAM (STEM + arts) classroom. Here’s why:
Access to clean and safe water – a widespread problem in many parts of the world – is not just an abstract concept for a group of children at The Stanwich School in Greenwich, Connecticut. They’re tackling the problem in Global Scientists, an after-school course offered by Level Up Village (LUV). For the duration of the course, the kids are collaborating virtually with partner students in Kosovo by following the same curriculum and exchanging video messages during each class period.
The kids in Connecticut are learning that accessing clean water is a real-life issue for their global partners. In a recent video, a student in Kosovo explained that in his community, families rely on well water that they must filtrate and purify before it is clean and clear enough to drink – a process that can take three to four months!
Guest post by Caroline Chamberlain at Delbarton School
Sadly, we have finished up our Ugandan exchange. Even though the boys knew the final exchange was last week, it was still sad for the boys to not be starting our week off with a new video letter from their global partners. These girls had become a big part of our classroom routine over the last two months!