Target 1 – Student-Centered Learning FWSU students will engage in personalized learning involving collaborative inquiry, problem solving and creative learning opportunities.
Action Step – Increase easily accessible opportunities for global collaboration for teachers and students
Last night at GEMS students from three fourth grade classrooms culminated a three-month international virtual exchange with three classrooms in South Korea. The program was sponsored by IVECA (The Center for International Virtual Schooling). IVECA is non-profit organization that is committed to promoting cultural competence in schools all over the world. FWSU schools are the first in Vermont to work with this esteemed program that has been recognized by the United Nations.
What sets IVECA apart from other programs is what it asks our students to do. It is not simply a pen pal activity. It is a three month connection with student colleagues in another country that allows students to explore various curriculum topics such as environmental protection, geography and poetry.
Last night was the first time the students at GEMS actually spoke face to face with their partner classroom in South Korea. The majority of the work was completed using an online learning system that allowed for cooperative work and dialogue between the students. Last night the students were all able to meet face to face for the first time in a classroom setting. The excitement for the class was infectious for all the students in both classrooms.
The program could not have been possible without GEMS teachers Stacey Sullivan, Heather Sikorsky and Kay Lee. All three teachers developed curriculum that brought the digital age learning concepts of collaboration, innovation, communication and creativity to life for their students (FWSU Action Plan). Special thanks also to Dayle Payne, Sylvia Gagne, Angelique Fairbrother, Amy Rider for their technical support and Principal Steve Emery for his leadership..
“Our experience with IVECA has been a great success! Students were engaged, motivated, and excited about their learning. EVERY student established a lead role with their counterpart and took on new roles and responsibilities while communicating weekly. Smiles, laughter, and joy filled our fourth grade classrooms as they communicated across the world with their new friends.” – Principal Steve Emery
Next year GEMS plans on continuing this opportunity for our students. Perhaps even expanding the programs to additional class levels.