As a Montessori and International Baccalaureate Middle School, we believe that diverse opinions make for richer collaborations. Through a global exchange program called Level Up Village, the 6-8th grade students are reading the same novel as a class in Mexico City, and they communicate weekly via video to discuss ideas, answer questions, and collaborate on a project. Our current book, The Giver, explores themes of utopian and dystopian societies, how rules impact choices, and how communities attempt to solve social issues. In addition to deepening student understanding of the content, the process of working with partners from a distance builds the skills of clear communication, organization, meeting firm deadlines, and utilizing a variety of technologies.
A social impact company based in Old Greenwich, Conn., Level Up Village (LUV) delivers pioneering Global STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses that promote design thinking and one-to-one collaboration on real-world problems between students from around the world.
In all Level Up Village courses, students at schools are paired with partner students taking the same course at one of LUV’s fully vetted and trained Global Partner organizations across Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Through a combination of guided discussion, hands-on activities and interactive media, students apply design thinking to solve a problem. Students interact with their Global Partners via LUV’s global communication platform by exchanging video messages, participating in live video chats, collaborating on shared project files and creating personal profiles. In these ways, students not only work together on projects, but also discuss the real-life application of their learning and learn about each other’s daily lives and cultures. The result is meaningful global collaboration and an enhanced understanding of the world.