Educators and parents often tout the importance of global citizenship. And today’s technology makes it easier than ever before to connect students from around the world. But why is so important to give students these opportunities? Here are three benefits to facilitating global conversations between students:
Guest post by Margaret Ann Minihan at Louise S. McGehee School
At Louise S. McGehee School, an all-girls school in New Orleans, Louisiana, we know about teaching girls. Research tells us that girls learn differently and are motivated differently than male students. Girls learn best through hands-on activities that give them the opportunity to help others and make a difference in the world. In light of this research, McGehee offers its students several service learning opportunities in the regular curriculum.
This year, we’re trying a new program that is further inspiring our girls’ passion for STEAM (STEM + arts). Our students are learning hands-on Science and Engineering skills, while collaborating one-on-one with partners in developing countries. This innovative program, provided by Level Up Village (LUV), is a welcome addition to our afterschool enrichment program.
Level Up Village (LUV) is growing rapidly in New Jersey, where it is running courses at eight schools across the state this fall, including Rutgers Preparatory School, Kent Place School and Delbarton School. A pioneer in Global STEAM (STEM + arts) enrichment, Level Up Village promotes design thinking and one-to-one collaboration on real-world problems between K-9 students in the U.S. and partner students in the developing world.
Are you looking for a way to jazz up the STEAM (STEM + arts) programming at your school? Try combining hands-on STEAM with authentic global learning. Level Up Village partners U.S. students one-on-one with peers in the developing world for meaningful cultural exchange and collaboration on STEAM projects. Students communicate with their global partners each class period via video message exchange to share their findings, learn about each other’s lives and collaborate on real-life applications of their learning.
“What IS this?” exclaimed Grace. Her eyes widened behind her goggles at she leaned closer to her snake specimen to get a better look. In the middle of the dissection, she had discovered what seemed to be several more little snakes, all coiled up in the abdomen. The other girls clustered around to see.
“First we thought the snake had possibly eaten another snake, but we kept looking and found more and more,” said Jennifer Beck, a teacher at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston, Texas. “We weren’t expecting a pregnant one, so we had to do a lot of Internet research, and we learned not all snakes lay eggs. Some carry their young.”
The girls were participating in Level Up Village’s Global Doctors – Anatomy as part of “DASH into Summer,” a summer enrichment program run by Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart.
At Delbarton, an all-boys Benedictine School in Morristown, New Jersey, we have been looking for global connections, but struggled with the logistics involved in this kind of collaboration. We decided to pair our 8th grade science students with an all-girl’s school, and see what happens. So far, the results have been amazing.
Our 8th graders sent video introductions to an all-girls school in Uganda yesterday. Let us just let the reality of that settle in for a moment.
Looking to inspire kids to fully engage in their learning this coming school year? Experts say that children need to tackle real-world problems and come up with creative solutions. One great way to foster this type of authentic learning is through hands-on STEM activities. Check out these resources for some ideas:
A shoemaker by day, 15 year-old Raman is a student by night in Mumbai, India.
He recently took Level Up Village’s Global App Developers through LUV’s Global Partner Masoom Education Group and was inspired by the experience to fully engage in his studies and pursue his dream of becoming an engineer.
“Before, Raman didn’t like school and never showed up for any of the school activities. Now he is passionate about his goals and ready to work hard,” said Vishvajeet Pawar, Specialist, Masoom Education Group.
All over the world, Level Up Village (LUV) programs provide K-9 students with hands-on, engaging STEAM (STEM + arts) activities that make STEAM accessible and inspiring.
That was the opening question in a video message from a young student at the Innovative Minds School in India. Masha, a U.S. student at Fisher Island Day School (FIDS) in Miami Beach, Florida, walked over the class sink and turned on the faucet. “This is how I get my water,” she said.
Then the student in India responded that many people in her community don’t have that option. In fact, she explained, getting water was quite difficult.
“It was an eye-opener for Masha,” said Lynn deAraujo a second grade teacher at FIDS.
This cross-cultural exchange was facilitated by Level Up Village (LUV), which began working with FIDS in the 2013-14 school year as part of the school’s push to increase STEAM programming.
Nashat, a student at Pioneers Baccalaureate School (PBS) in Nablus, West Bank, recently described LUV’s Global Doctors course as “one of the best things I have done in my life.”
In the course, students learned about human body systems by dissecting a variety of specimens, including a frog, a grasshopper, and a sheep’s heart and brain – and shared their findings via video message with partner students in the U.S.