By Andrés Rivera Vallarta, Teacher, INAM Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico
It`s amazing how all the things we once saw as impossible are now possible, and some of them are being created by kids. In my global classroom, the future is already here. Yesterday, my students were engaged in a hands-on learning activity with Scratch as part of their Global Programming course, one of the first Level Up Village programs we have introduced at my school. It was a memorable moment for the students. They were making a cartoon! These are children who have spent many hours watching cartoons, so for them, making one was as exciting as it gets!
Earlier this year, Level Up Village was one of ten young companies selected into the SETDA’s Emerging Partner program for 2017. Being a member of this cohort offers many benefits for new K12 EdTech providers including unique opportunities to be seen and heard by state and national EdTech leaders. Without this affiliation, it would take many months and much effort to have this audience. In addition, the learning opportunities have proven invaluable. For instance, we recently participated in the 2017 SETDA Leadership Summit. This year, the theme of the Summit was Leveraging Technology to Personalize Student Learning, but the conference also provided key insights into several other trends in K12 education.
By Amanda Spurling, 3rd Grade Teacher, Fayetteville School in Talladega County, Alabama
Education has seen major shifts in the past decade. Rather than providing students all the information they need to learn, teachers now take on more of a facilitator role, guiding students to think and locate information they need for themselves. Moreover, the careers that students are being prepared to enter are changing. As educators, we are challenged to prepare students for careers in a global economy by providing engaging and authentic lessons that tap into important 21st Century skills. One way my school district is tackling this challenge is by partnering with Level Up Village (LUV).
…When I talk with colleagues who are planning to attend ISTE for the first time, I give the following five tips to manage one of the most amazing roller-coaster rides that they will experience, both professionally and personally:
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.
The team at Level Up Village is delighted to recognize Karen Orozco at NicaPhoto in Nicaragua as Global Partner Teacher of the Year for 2017. Karen has taught seven different Level Up Village courses including LUV’s newest courses: Global Water Crisis and Global Game Strategists. Her favorite course to teach so far is Global Doctors Anatomy. Karen’s students live in the Sonrisa de Dios neighborhood of Nagarote in homes that were only recently wired for electricity. Despite the many challenges the children face in their daily lives, they are receiving cutting-edge technology instruction at NicaPhoto through their Level Up Village courses.
During my trip, I met with headmasters, teachers and students at several schools and introduced them to the concepts of Global Education and, specifically, how Level Up Village empowers this concept… While meeting with Secretary of Education Dr. Utete-Masango, she made it clear that some of the guiding principles of the government’s new education curriculum include the hallmarks of 21st Century Education: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. The department is looking to implement a communications network (mainly via satellite) that will connect all the schools in the country.
We are delighted to share that Level Up Village team member Nicki Brill has been named a NAA 2017 Next Generation of Afterschool leader, an award that highlights the contributions made by emerging professionals active in the afterschool community. Nicki was profiled in the Winter 2017 issue of NAA’s AfterSchool Today magazine and will be recognized for her achievement at the National AfterSchool Association (NAA) Conference on March 19 in Dallas, where Level Up Village will also be exhibiting.
“Level Up Village Account Director Nicki Brill possesses passion and a commitment to youth — embodying NAA’s core competencies,” wrote NAA in its recent newsletter.
It’s a truly exciting time to be a teacher, especially now that educators are increasingly focused on implementing cross-curricular, project-based learning (PBL) in their classrooms.
Cross-curricular learning taps into the four C’s: creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking – the skills widely considered essential for the 21st Century learner. Moreover, the newly revised standards (CCSS, NGSS and ISTE) all require students to develop these higher level skills. Here are some benefits to implementing projects that transcend disciplines in your classroom:
…I’ve already decided. I’m adding STEM to my classroom everyday and encouraging other teachers to do the same. I’m beginning to add more PBL into my regular instruction, not just as end of chapter “dessert” projects. And there are lots of ways to add STEM simply and effectively, whether you’re a geek or not, that will engage and inspire your students. Here are a few.