Level Up Village: A Global Educational Phenomenon
Information and Communication Technology goes beyond the usual learning about computers, as it is usually referred to as. Information and Communication Technology cuts across only learning about computers but whole wide world of various technologies. Education as a vehicle by which information and learning is disseminated it becomes critical for it to take a leading role in opening up avenues for Information and Communication Technology. This is where Level Up Village comes in with their collaborative learning initiative which has seen thousands of learners across the globe roped in to the global village platform. This write up will lean heavily on the science and technology side.
The tentacles of Level Up Village has been tenderly been spread to different parts of the globe, Africa and Zimbabwe included. Who is Level Up Village and what do they do? Level Up Village (LUV) delivers pioneering Global STEAM (STEM+ARTS) enrichment courses that promotes design thinking and one to one collaboration between USA students and students in developing countries. The organisation has been co-founded by Amy Mccooe who is also the current CEO. LUV has a Zimbabwe country manager, Ronald Nyamukuwa who has twelve schools under his ambit, Wise Owl Primary School is one of the schools in this league of elite schools in Zimbabwe.
The Wise Owl Class is on 3D Printing and are designing a Solar Lamp Holder and the Kindergarten Class is on Water Discovery where they engage on water conservation and water purification. Level Up Village has facilitated the acquisition of a 3D Printer which the students are using from printing the designs they do on TinkerCad.
Learners from different schools from all over the world are paired with USA schools for amazing exchange and learning experiences. Each pair then pursues a set but flexible program of learning where collaboration is paramount. A comprehensive curriculum is availed to the teacher facilitators and some topics to be covered are:
- United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal: The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Global Goals, are a universal call to action to protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Each class is given two of these goals at a time to learn on them and find solutions to be put in place to achieve them. Each learner grows up with conscious of how they can make the world a better place for all, Global Citizenship.
- Global communication: Communication skills scaling barriers of creed, religion, race, politics etc
- STEAM (Science Technology Arts and Maths: This is the part most liked by learners as they get to research, invent, create, develop and experiment. Some projects that have been done under this are, designing of a solar lamp holder in response to energy needs and use of renewable sources of energy. Designing of a solar car race game, water conservation, spaghetti tower, wind powered boats etc. software that has been used on this is TinkerCad (3D Design), Scratch (Car race game) The learners get to print their 3D Designs using a 3D Printer.
- Collaboration: The learners get to exchange their work and the other part modifies what the other part has created. They do video chats and changes to share their experiences and to get know the life from the other end. They would be responding to lead questions like: What is your favourite sport? What is your favourite holiday and celebration? Where would you take your partner is they are to visit your country? The learners also get to do live chats on the secure Level Up Village Student Portals which is also accessible to teachers for monitoring.
- Reflections: The learners share and relate on the high and lows they encountered during the process of their collaboration. They do videos sharing on the challenges they encountered, what they learnt and how to overcome such.
Enrolment for Level Up Village courses is open to schools in Zimbabwe and other third world countries are invited to come aboard and experience the scintillating collaborative learning, smashing of barriers and opening up of unlimited learning opportunities. Let us strive to raise global citizens by exposing the learners to other spheres beyond our borders.