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).
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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:
Last week in the Middle School, Chapin’s Class 4 science minds explored the water issues facing our world and prepared to work towards creative solutions to solve them. With the guidance of Spanish teacher Ana Agón, the Class 4 students were paired with students in Argentina, Honduras or Nicaragua to learn about the water issues facing these countries before designing their own water-cleaning tools. These unique pairings were the result of the ongoing Science and Spanish STEAM (STEM + Arts) program that is coordinated by Level Up Village and facilitates collaboration between students from around the world.
Level Up Village has been busy developng several NEW and exciting courses available starting in January including Global Water Crisis and Global Game Strategists. As with all all Level Up Village programs, students tackle real-world issues, apply design thinking and collaborate virtually with Global Partner students via our easy-to-use, mobile-fiendly platform. Not only that, we make it easy for schools to implement by providing the curriculum, the teacher training and the global partners.