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.
“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.
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.
In March of 2016, I departed for Ukraine, and after three months of intense culture and language training, I received my site placement in the small town of Zalishchyky, Ternopilska Oblast. I was assigned to Zalishchyky State Gimnasia which is a specialized Middle School and High School that ranks among the top schools in Ukraine due its uncommon access to resources and passionate teachers. My primary role in the school is to serve as an expert English Language Teacher. … My third role is to create and implement projects for our school and community. Level Up Village (LUV) has become one of many projects.
Greenwich, Connecticut – November 20, 2017 – Level Up Village (LUV) and Zaniac Greenwich today announced they are teaming up to bring one of LUV’s innovative global STEAM (STEM + Arts) programs to Zaniac’s vacation camp this December. LUV’s Global Inventors course will provide students the opportunity to connect and collaborate one-on-one with peers from Hong Kong on a 3D printing project applied to real-world issues.
“So, what is your favorite subject? Hope you had fun learning about my school day. Tell me about yours!” exclaimed Paige Travers ’25, an exuberant fourth-grade student on the Short Hills campus. She was just wrapping up one in a series of self-made videos in which she explained, with liberal use of hand gestures, her typical school day, her favorite hobby, and what holiday celebration she most enjoyed. Shortly, the video’s recipient in Kenya, would eagerly receive it and respond in kind with a video of her own.
From the moment Jody Swanigan, Principal of East Cooper Montessori Charter School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, heard about Level Up Village (LUV), she was determined to bring LUV programs to her school.
“What first drew me in was the emphasis on STEM,” said Jody. But after checking out the global STEAM courses offered by Level Up Village and watching some videos on the website, she saw the connection between LUV’s “Take a Class, Give a Class” model and Montessori education.
By AB3 Smartacles, fifth-grade student at Oak Grove Elementary in Roanoke, Virginia
…During this project, we used a website called TinkerCad. It is like a digital blueprint because it maps out a grid and it gives you specific measurements. You can use or create your own design and if you get permission you can print it out on a 3-D printer. In this website, we are creating a Solar Powered flashlight. It can be quite fun, but difficult at the same time. In Tinkercad when you’re creating the flashlight you must have the correct measurements and you can personalize it by adding special features.
“Level Up Village has allowed our students to branch outside the walls of Lincoln Elementary School into a global setting where they are solving real world problems,” said Shannon Hill, Instructional Partner at Lincoln Elementary. “Through the use of one to one video message exchanges with their assigned global partner, our students learned about different cultures, causing them to connect both physically and emotionally to this project. It amazes me to see 3rd grade students rise up to the challenge by designing fully functional solar powered flashlights through digital software and 3D printing.”
A growing number of tech-forward schools are integrating global collaboration into their STEM programs by partnering with Level Up Village. A great example of this is Kepner Beacon Middle School, an innovative new school within the Denver Public School district.