You would think as we have grown from just a few US schools to over 150 US schools that finding Global Partners would have gotten harder, but it hasn’t. It’s gotten easier. Why? Because word is spreading.
A great example is our Level Up Village network in Ghana. In November of 2015, we ran just one course with one school in Ghana. In 2016, we will run more than 40 courses with four partners at ten schools in Ghana, as well as in one of the country’s first Makerspaces. Here is how we got there.
STEM programs are gaining significant traction in after school programs across the country. A recent survey by the Afterschool Alliance revealed that 70% of parents whose children participate in after school programs say those programs include STEM offerings. And demand is on the rise.
If you’re looking to embrace Design Thinking in the classroom, look no further than Game Design. Game Design gives students the creative confidence to imagine, ideate and improve. As a result, Game Design continues to evolve alongside education, displaying its flexibility and relevance as a quintessential 21st century educational tool.
We’re delighted to announce that Lynn Koresh, technology teacher and coordinator at Edgewood Campus School in Madison, Wisconsin, is our very first Level Up Village Teacher of the Year! We’re recognizing Lynn for the terrific work she has done with her students in her LUV courses including Global Inventors and Global Video Game Designers.
“LUV classes helped my students to get a glimpse of life in developing countries. They found that their partners were not as they are often depicted in pictures posted by charities, but instead were kids who have similar interests to their own,” said Koresh. “It was shocking for my students to realize that electricity is not reliable all over the world, and that many of their partners did not know when their power would go out for how long they would be without it.”
Perhaps one of the most exciting opportunities to foster a Growth Mindset in students is through Game Design. Alongside instructors, students will discover and embrace this mindset by developing new strategies and demonstrating resilience in the face of failure.
Game Design and development is as much a display of cutting-edge technology as it is of creative expression. Conceptualizing a game through imagination and creativity is the first part of the creation process. Acting on those ideas using technology will make the experience tangible. After dreaming up new experiences, children are challenged to bring them into existence.
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.
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.