The Goddard School in Chantilly, Virginia, embarked on a brand-new, hands-on learning experience this fall that combined engineering and literacy with global perspective. The preschool partnered with Level Up Village to connect students to peers from across the world for shared STEAM (STEM + Arts) projects and cultural exchange. Pre-Kindergarten students were paired with partner students at schools in Ukraine and Zimbabwe through LUV’s lobal Storybook Engineers course.
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.
“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.
Last spring, we began our Level Up Village (LUV) partnership with students at Nicaphoto in Nicaragua. Through LUV’s Global Storybook Engineers course, we worked on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities, combining literacy with engineering challenges.
First, we read the story Strega Nona, set in Calabria, a region in southern Italy which forms the “toe” of the boot. The problem in the story is that the town is about to be flooded by pasta! Our first design challenge was to IMAGINE what if Big Anthony caused the pasta to overflow again. How could we save the town? Then we made a PLAN. We pretended that we were architects and tried to design a tower that would stand tall and not fall down using marshmallows, spaghetti, masking tape, and string.
From the ISTE 2017 Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Level Up Village (LUV) today announced it has added live video chat technology to its Global Communication Platform in order to further enhance the communication and collaboration that takes place between students from across the world in every Level Up Village course. This new functionality is already being piloted by students in the United States and their global partners in Zimbabwe and will be available to Level Up Village students all over the world starting in September of 2017.
Kids are growing up with smart phones in their hands, developing their own apps, programming robots and creating online personas. Indeed, technology is prevalent in nearly every facet of children’s lives, including at school where they’re often using technology tools to enhance their learning. But just because a child knows what buttons to push or has access to a world of knowledge at their fingertips doesn’t mean he or she knows what to do with that power, and power it surely is.
The newest addition to Level Up Village’s network of Global Partners in Central America is Fabretto Center, an organization that works to improve access to economic opportunities through education and nutrition. Fabrett works with more 18,000 underserved students and their families at seven centers and more than 300 local public schools in Nicaragua.
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:
St. Margaret’s new partnership with Level Up Village supports the school’s strategic plan efforts to place an emphasis on STEM, innovation, global studies and using technology to create connections outside the classroom. And already, it’s beginning to make headlines.
This Summer, New Canaan Country School was a hub of activity with students in K-8 engaged in variety of hands-on projects that combined technology skills with global awareness. The school’s summer enrichment program included opportunities for students to code video games, create animations and build websites – all in collaboration with students from across the globe as part of the school’s ongoing partnership with Level Up Village.