Developing Global Citizenship through STEM-Based Virtual Global Collaboration
Newfane Elementary School, New York and Kenya Connect, Kenya
Nancy Simmons has always been interested in solutions that would help her students be more engaged in learning, spark their curiosity about the world, and build their 21st century skills. When she learned about a global collaboration program offered by Level Up Village in cooperation with Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and an NGO Kenya Connect, to engage students in New York State with peers in Kenya, she knew it was going to be an unforgettable experience for her students.
Her fourth graders participated in an 4-week project called “Connecting with Communities Around the World” with students from the Kyawango Primary Public School in Kenya. The project aimed to educate students about geography and the human impact on the environment in both regions. Through friendly video exchanges, research, and discussions, Simmons’s students not only completed a research project on the impact of humans on Lake Ontario but also gained a deeper understanding of environmental challenges faced globally. The exchange also resulted in her students raising $1,000 for the building of the first library in the region through Kenya Connect’s efforts.
“I have been an educator for over 20 years. Participating in Level Up Village was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had with my students.”
Simmons wanted to provide meaningful learning opportunities that go beyond the curriculum, help students gain global perspectives, and promote the development of 21st century skills and digital literacy skills.
Simmons’ students connected with classrooms in rural Kenya using the Level Up Village platform, exchanged videos about the project over 4 weeks, and completed an in-depth research project on human impact on the local environment.
Simmons’ students gained more meaningful understanding of issues communities face around the world, completed their first-ever scientific research project, and improved their communication and digital literacy skills
“It goes beyond the curriculum, and it’s important to not just teach what’s in your curriculum; when opportunities like this arise, don’t be afraid to say yes and to take that leap of faith because the journey you go on with your students can be incredible.”