The Wisconsin-based private school, Edgewood Campus School (ECS), has recently joined a growing list of classrooms in the United States that are partnering with Level Up Village (LUV). The partnership will bring Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) courses to the school’s grades 4 and 5.
Level Up’s curriculum is designed to teach students global literacy and problem solving skills through design thinking. It does this by pairing together a classroom from the United States and a classroom from the developing world.
The program emphasizes a one-to-one learning environment to fully engage the students. One student in one classroom is paired with another student in the other classroom. From there, the students exchange video letters to introduce themselves and their personalities. Once the students get to know each other, they ask questions about the other’s culture. When the students are acquainted with each other the LUV curriculum introduces a global technical issue.
The students then collaborate using design thinking to solve the problem.
The students at Edgewood Campus School will be going through this process with classrooms from Nicaragua and Ghana. They will be taking classes in 3D printing and global video game design.
Speaking about the LUV program, ECS technology teacher, Lynn Koresh said “We are delighted to bring Level Up Village courses to our school to help them develop 21st century skills through hands-on STEAM projects and global collaboration.”
Koresh went on to praise the global aspect of the program which “will give students the extraordinary opportunity to work together with their partners, while simultaneously learning about their lives and daily life in the developing world.”
In the 3D printing course, the students will learn how a 3D printer can be used to solve real world problems. The students will use computer aided design (CAD) software to create and print objects. ECS learned about the unreliability of electricity in Nicaragua from its pairing with the Nicaraguan classroom.
The students will work together to design and create a solar powered light source for the students in Nicaragua. The two classrooms will learn about technology and how it can be used to solve an actual issue.
With the global video game design course, students create animation and build a series of video games. The students will learn logic and coding from the course. The students will also learn about daily life in Ghana and then incorporate that information into the video game.
According to LUV, courses like the video game design increase cultural awareness and have led to “broadened minds and dissolved borders.” The program hopes to educate future citizens of a globalized world where international cooperation will be necessary and inescapable.
The program aims to introduce and develop an interest in STEM education. LUV said they try to show how real-world problems can be solved using STEM disciplines. With many world leaders stressing the importance of a STEM education for the economy, LUV believes their program will make its participants more competitive in the global workforce.
The benefits from LUV are felt more strongly in the developing world where education does not have many resources. The program will help students get an introduction to internationally desired workplace skills. With its partnership with over 20 countries, Level Up Village aims to address global poverty through cross-cultural STEAM education.