Catholic Schools Raise Global Awareness via Collaborative STEAM Projects

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Students at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Houston dissect a shark in Level Up Village’s Global Doctors Anatomy course with global partners from Exponential Education in Ghana. The school has offered six Level Up Village courses since 2015.

The social impact component of Level Up Village’s global education programs has been a key reason many Catholic schools have joined our growing network of partners. In just the past two years, LUV ran 68 global STEAM courses at nearly 20 Catholic schools across the country.

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School in Houston, Texas, first offered Global Video Game Designers in the spring of 2015 and has since offered five more Level Up Village courses during the school day and as part of its summer enrichment program. The school’s Technology Coordinator Brindley Drake said that she brought global STEAM programs to her school as way to broaden each student’s perspective.

“All too often students are only focused on what is in front of them and their school workload.  The exchange of video messages using Level Up Village’s Global Collaboration Platform allows insight into the daily life of students globally, all while learning valuable lessons,” said Brindley.

Two of her students, who wrote about the experience of co-designing websites with partners in Nicaragua, shared this insight: “What surprised me the most is the amount of things (hobbies and interests) that we have in common. Learning about their way of life allowed me to understand the importance of using clean energy.”

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Coding websites in LUV’s Global Web Designers course was a popular activity in St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School’s summer enrichment program. Students co-designed websites about alternative energy sources in partnership with students in Nicaragua.

St. Anthony Catholic School in Madison, Mississippi, offered three Level Up Village courses this fall that engaged students in engineering solutions for storybook heroes, anatomy, and CAD & 3D printing in partnership with students in India, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Ghana and Uganda. The school will embark on a school-wide project with Level Up Village this spring.

“St. Anthony’s partnership with Level Up Village enhances their STEM program as students, teachers and global partners work together to develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills,” said Kristian Beatty, Director of Development in a recent article in Mississippi Catholic. “These skills and their core subject knowledge are then utilized to identify community and global issues and find lasting solutions.”

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Students at St. Anthony Catholic School watch in awe as one of their projects emerges on the 3D printer. They participated in Global Inventors with partners in Pakistan and Ghana. Full story here in Mississippi Catholic.

In each LUV course, students are not only engaging in hands-on discovery, but also collaborating virtually with partner students in another country, who often live in vastly different circumstances.

“My students were motivated by a desire that went beyond using a 3D printer. They wanted to help their eight Nicaraguan partners, who because they lacked reliable electricity were forced to study, read, and play by potentially dangerous oil-fueled lamps,” wrote Patrick Benfield, STEAM Director at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Texas in an article on the NAIS blog: “During the course of a semester, St. Gabriel’s and NicaPhoto students were equal partners in the mission to design a working solution to this problem.”

Likewise, collaboration with global partners in West Africa made the experience more meaningful for girls at Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, who took Global Web Designers as a curricular supplement to their web mastering class this fall.

“Words cannot begin to describe the look on my students’ faces when they each watched their global partner videos for the first time. It’s moments like this that keep us in the classroom,” wrote Jessica Buckley, Technology Teacher at Ursuline Academy in her recent article for the education blog Getting Smart. “This is the future of education: a world in which students design, create, problem solve and imagine together, despite cultural differences or language barriers.”

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Students at Ursuline Academy in New Orleans collaborated with partners at Banjul American Embassy School in The Gambia in their recent Global Web Designers course. Read more about it in this article  by Technology Teacher Jessica Buckley on the education blog Getting Smart.

When schools take a Level Up Village course, a portion of the tuition sponsors the same course for a global partner organization through LUV’s “Take a Class, Give a Class” model. If you’re looking for an innovative global education program for your school that will also help fulfill your school’s goals in the areas of STEM, global awareness and social impact, contact LUV here.