Later this week our nine year old reporter will reveal her four favorite things from ISTE 2017. Looking past the cool technology we found in virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, STEAM/STEM kits and beyond, the company that blew me away personally was Level Up Village. We had covered Level Up Village in an ISTE 2017 preview piece back in June.
At the time, the concept was pretty easy to understand. Level Up Village offers a STEM/STEAM curriculum that calls for students to develop solutions for modern world problems. The special spin that they add to the mix is that each school in the United States that participates in the Level Up Village program is paired with a school across the globe in another country. With their sister school, the students collaborate with one another on the problem solving.
This unique approach to STEM/STEAM through international collaboration brings an unparalleled experience to Level Up students both in the United States and abroad. Not only are these kids learning valuable STEM/STEAM and problem solving skills but they’re creating an authentic friendship that goes well beyond an e-pen pal.
Now of course there’s a time difference when students are working on their project in the U.S. and their sister school is working on the project in their own country. To facilitate this, Level Up has created a portal where the students send video messages back and forth. The messages aren’t just centered around the project. American kids are teaching the kids in other countries about culture and things in America beyond what they may see on TV. The same goes for those students from the other countries, teaching students about customs and culture where they are from. This also means that when kids get to school, they have a message waiting from their friends abroad.
“Oh my goodness if I could bottle up that excitement and show it to you, I mean they jump up and down, they’re so excited. And the fact that they have a relationship with somebody in another country makes the learning so much more meaningful, they have a purpose for doing it, they get so excited…it gives me chills every time I think about it” Tina Coffey, Level Up’s Instructional Technology Resource Teacher told us in an interview. Coffey was Level Up’s Teacher Of The Year this past school year.
There’s no cost to the school in the other country. The U.S. school’s fees to participate in the program cover the cost of the sister school in a learn one give one model similar to Toms.
The fact that Leve lUp is able to touch students in so many important ways and at the same time build lifelong skills and friendships, made this one of my clear favorites from ISTE 2017.
Go check them out for yourself at levelupvillage.com