Every school year I start with a goal in mind. This goal might be to implement something new, perhaps tweak an existing project by taking it to the next level, or even a change as simple as rearranging the classroom. But after attending ISTE 2016 last June, I was inspired to make Global Collaboration my goal for the 2016-17 school year.
Thursday, June 1, started out as a typical day at Eastern Middle School. Students intently staring at iPhone screens before the bell; lots of wonderful books in hands throughout the day; kids tapping away on Chromebooks in well-lit and air conditioned classrooms. But then something extra special and different happened during the last period of the day. We were fortunate to have two visitors from Kenya Connect come to talk with a group of 32 students who are participating in their second Level Up Village global collaboration course this year, this time with students in Africa.
…When I talk with colleagues who are planning to attend ISTE for the first time, I give the following five tips to manage one of the most amazing roller-coaster rides that they will experience, both professionally and personally:
Old Greenwich, Conn. – June 1, 2017 – A pioneering provider of Global STEAM (STEM + arts) enrichment, Level Up Village (LUV) today announced it has been named an “Emerging Private Sector Partner” by The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA).
“Level Up Village was selected for this year’s cohort of emerging partners because it shows incredible promise to deliver transformational learning experiences for students in curriculum areas where state leaders have shared that schools in their states are looking for support. LUV provides a unique solution that integrates topics like STEAM, 21st century (collaborative) learning and global citizenship,” said Melissa Greene, SETDA Director of Strategic Partnerships.
It was 105° in the small town of Nagarote, Nicaragua. Sweat dripped down my face as I lugged yet another pile of dirt out of the garden bed. I sensed my advisees were growing more tired with every passing hour, but we all persevered, determined to both build a new classroom and create a garden that would help further the educational programs at NicaPhoto. That’s what we at Builders Beyond Borders (B3) were known for, after all – building a better world for others.
Level Up Village is expanding its global network with the addition of yet another international school partner: Schutz American School in Alexandria, Egypt. This school year, both seventh and eighth grade students at the school participated in Level Up Village’s Global Conversations: Malala Yousafzai course. The eighth graders collaborated with partner students at Springboard School in Pakistan while seventh graders were paired with partner students at Seacoast Charter School in Dover, New Hampshire.
We are proud to shine the spotlight on Tina Coffey, Level Up Village’s U.S. Teacher of the Year for 2017. Tina is the Instructional Technology Resource Teacher at Oak Grove Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia, and taught four sections of Global Inventors to fifth graders starting in late February. At her request, all of her students were all paired with Spanish-speaking global partners. Her goal was to have students engage in a 3D printing collaboration with partner students while exchanging video messages entirely in Spanish.
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.
Educators at several schools have applied for and received grants in order to run Level Up Village courses, but we recently learned that for the first time, a LUV course was funded after a second grade student applied for a grant. We spoke to Wendy Powers, a teacher at Rooster Elementary School in Austin, Texas, to learn more.