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.
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.
“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.
At OakHill Pilar school in Buenos Aries, Argentina, a Kindergarten group and a First Grade group are both participating in Level Up Village’s Global Storybooks Engineers course and having tons of fun! They’re reading each book with the help of Miss Mai and Miss Pipi. Each book leads to a project that stems from the story: they have worked hard to make spaghetti towers to help Strega Nona and Big Anthony, and then a shell cover to protect Jabuti the Tortoise. They also used the Engineering Design Cycle to build a boat to help poor Monkey avoid Crocodile and shared videos and pictures of their projects.
Fernanda Oliveira writes about the impact of global STEAM education on children at NicaPhoto in Nicaragua, where she spent several months as a Moving Worlds Experteer. Now she is helping implement LUV programs at schools in Latin America.
When I joined Gayaza High School in 2016, I was relatively quiet until third term when I was enrolled in the “I am Malala” class. I was so fascinated with Malala’s courage to fight for what nearly got her killed. It was at that moment I asked myself what I believe in and what is worth fighting for.
Every school year I start with a goal in mind. This goal might be to implement something new, perhaps tweak an existing project by taking it to the next level, or even a change as simple as rearranging the classroom. But after attending ISTE 2016 last June, I was inspired to make Global Collaboration my goal for the 2016-17 school year.
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.
Level Up Village actively seeks out innovative global partner organizations to team up with, in order to provide cutting-edge STEM to underserved populations of students. This January, we launched a partnership with WAAW, which stands for Working to Advance STEM education for African Women – a non-profit organization focused on increasing the pipeline of African women entering Science and Technology fields.
Level Up Village recently partnered with Feminist Approach to Technology in India, an innovative organization working to challenge societal stereotypes and empower girls in marginalized communities through the acquisition of technology skills. A group of girls, whose parents are migrant workers, are now collaborating with partner students at All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in LUV’s Global Web Designers course.