A little more than a decade ago, Thomas Friedman introduced us all to the idea that The World is Flat. The rise of the Internet in all corners of the world has brought everyone closer together than ever before and created incredible opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration. However, this same hyper-connectivity comes with an ugly underbelly.
Kids these days are eager to make a difference in the world. Educators can tap into this marvelous impulse by providing real-world learning opportunities in the science classroom. This fall, The Episcopal School of Dallas (ESD) offered Global Scientists to fifth grade students in order to introduce students to water chemistry and the global water crisis. To make it even more interesting, students were connected virtually with partners in Uganda. Here are four strategies ESD used to create an impactful, real-world learning experience with Global Scientists:
Guest blog post by Chuck Ristano, The Independence School
In the fall, seven second graders received a truly interactive, global experience – without having to leave the comfort of our campus! Under the tutelage of Bernadette Gilmore, Director of Academics and Curriculum, these students participated in the after-school STEM program entitled “Global Storybook Engineers.”
Guest blog post by Jessica Fiddes, Delbarton School
On January 14, Delbarton launched a new foreign language exchange pilot program that connects Arabic II language students with peers at Pioneers Baccalaureate School in Nablus, West Bank.
The new virtual exchange program with Pioneers is guided by Director of Global Programs Dan Pieraccini and teacher of Arabic Zack Tabor, and organized by Level Up Village which, earlier this year, helped teacher Caroline Chamberlain’s 8th Grade Science students build 3-D projects with students in Uganda.
Across the U.S., schools are incorporating 3D printing into the curriculum, but some are taking it a step further by adding global collaboration to the mix. At PS 163 in New York City this fall, students in 3rd-5th grade were paired one-on-one with students in Yancheng, China to learn CAD and 3D printing as part of Global Inventors – a STEAM (STEM + arts) course offered by Level Up Village (LUV).
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.
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.
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.
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!