On arrival at my school, I felt the need to expose my learners to endless possibilities and knowledge through global collaboration courses. I felt the urgency to build their 21st century skills, and we decided to participate in Level Up Village courses notwithstanding the barriers and challenges we would face as learners from a low income school who have never had such an opportunity.
I’m a kindergarten teacher from the lovely country of Jordan. Our school’s name is Arab Model Schools. The school’s mission is to consider achieving our nation’s aims of unity, freedom, social solidarity and obtaining acquaintance of other nations in order to absorb the advantages of such cultures that suit our society. So, our job is not only to take care of the students’ academics but also to build their characters and give them a moral compass.
Level Up Village is a way of connecting across oceans, across continents, across languages and, most importantly, across hearts. Once learning about this program, it became clear that we, as a school, wanted to become a part of it! Inquiry, engineering design, collaboration, communication, and empathy are all core components of our school and this program brought them to the forefront and tested our students in new and interesting ways.
As our Director of Summer Programs, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to expand and enrich our summer offerings. As preparations were made for our 2018 Summer Programs, a variety of different curricular options were explored. Level Up Village provided exemplary support and flexibility as we collaborated to determine how we could best adapt their standards based curriculums to further our Summer Programs mission.
For the past five years, I’ve looked for ways to enrich my experience as a Math teacher at Dr. Pillai Global Academy (DPGA) in Mumbai, India. DPGA prides itself on being a “maximum opportunity” learning environment school, designed to impart education that empowers children to pursue a globally challenging career. The focus is on activity-oriented teaching and beyond-the-classroom methods. That’s why Level Up Village was perfect for us.
Relationships and shared personal connections are a huge part of making learning fun, real and something that we remember long after a school year has ended. They are also great for developing empathy, broadening the mind to the experiences of others and cultivating a global mindset. The challenge for schools developing in countries like China is: How can we help students cultivate this global mindset and experience when nearly all of their classmates are from the same country and culture? Bringing teachers from around the world can go long way, but there’s something extra special about kids being able to connect with other kids and share with someone from a far-away land on their own level.
Level Up Village is taking the idea of the pen pal to the next level.
Its mission, “to globalize the classroom and facilitate seamless collaboration between students from around the world via pioneering Global STEAM enrichment courses,” came to life in our Lower and Middle School divisions this year, as students in PreK, third grade, and eighth grade made connections across continents. Through videos, email, and virtual chatting, Level Up Village participants create a global classroom that utilizes technology to connect students around the globe in collaborative projects.
“Hi, my name is Alice; I am from Ghana.” The sweet, soft voice of our first global partner video appeared on the big screen in our classroom. Shivers went down my spine as cheers erupted from my girls. Suddenly, the project became real. After weeks of preparing, thinking about it and discussing it, we finally had contact. For me, it was as exciting as seeing the Apollo landing as a very young toddler…suddenly, the whole world expanded and grew closer at the same moment.
In December, Mrs. Andrews’ fifth grade class at Mountain Brook Elementary School experienced a unique opportunity to speak to their partner classroom in Bogota, Colombia– LIVE! We had been waiting anxiously for weeks for this special moment, which culminated our eight-week Level Up Village Global Scientists course.
Earlier in February, Level Up Village invited its partner schools around the world to post a #GlobalEdSelfie to #SharetheLUV for global education. This was the second year LUV ran this campaign and the posts were outstanding! Thanks to all who participated and enjoy this selection of posts.