“Please Remember Us: iACT’s Little Ripples helping refugee families during the pandemic”
Children have a right to access information, “especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral well-being and physical and mental health.” Thus, as refugees (both children and adults) struggle to make sense of this pandemic with very few to no resources, iACT, an international nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian action to aid, empower, and extend hope to those affected by mass atrocities, is working with refugee leaders, other humanitarian organizations, and volunteers to provide the necessary resources to help refugee children and families stay safe and healthy. While the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated suspension of iACT’s innovative and cutting-edge early childhood education program Little Ripples (LR), iACT is nevertheless honoring LR’s core values of peace, helping, and sharing by working with refugee and displaced community leaders living in Chad, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Greece to mitigate the consequences of program closures. Together, they are preparing and distributing accessible learning-at-home resource sheets for families, as well as the larger refugee community.
“Global Competence for Today and the Future”
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to evaluate education systems, specifies that globally competent individuals can:
• Examine local, global, and intercultural issues
• Understand and appreciate different perspectives and worldviews
• Interact successfully and respectfully with others
• Take responsible action toward sustainability and collective well-being.
Through iEARN programming, students acquire these important 21st-century skills and global competencies, allowing them to communicate ideas, recognize other perspectives, and take action while connecting their learning to real-world issues.
“The School Enterprise Challenge: Learning by doing” The goal for Teach a Man To Fish is to provide student entrepreneurs the skills and experience they need to continue in education and secure a decent job or set up their own businesses when they leave school. In the long term, these young people become reliable workers and job creators, thus doing their part in reducing unemployment and poverty worldwide. At the core of the School-Business Model is the idea that children and young people need to learn by doing. Nik points out that education systems in most countries are “highly theoretical, highly academic, and while those are important skills, for young people to be able to succeed in the current economy and in the workplace, they need more than just academic skills and the ability to repeat knowledge.”
“Museum Visits Students Where They Are”
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest children’s museum, challenged its educators and subject matter experts to develop a way to reach families during the social distancing requirements that separated them physically from teachers and their classmates. That’s when Museum at Home was born. The program is supported through the museum’s social media platforms and can be found on the museum’s website at www.childrensmuseum.org/museum-at-home.
Museum at Home offers:
• D-I-Y science experiments
• Physical fitness activities
• Conversations with museum experts
• Virtual tours of exhibits
• Collections information and advice
• Story time
• Art experiences.
“Transforming STEM Learning at Scale: PhET Interactive Simulations” Interactive simulations offer a pedagogically powerful and flexible tool for teachers, one that is transforming STEM learning for millions of students around the world. Just as scientists construct and expand their knowledge through experimentation, students can simultaneously be constructing and expanding their knowledge through exploration and discovery in interactive simulations. And they can do so with curiosity, creativity, and joy. Since 2002, PhET Interactive Simulations at University of Colorado Boulder has been advancing and studying the design and classroom use of interactive simulations for STEM teaching and learning. Today, the PhET website features a collection of over 150 award-winning simulations, covering topics in physics, chemistry, mathematics, earth science, and biology, all available as open (free) educational resources.
“The Thinking Classroom: An exciting transformation for math instruction” Why can’t we create learning spaces that are hands on, interactive, exciting, and fun at any level? Why can’t we shift the “work” of learning from the teacher to the students at the high school level? What would be the best way to achieve this? By incorporating aspects of Peter Liljedahl’s Thinking Classroom, the math supervisor and teachers at the School District of the Chathams, New Jersey, were able to bring a new vision for mathematics teaching and learning to Chatham High School. Together, they came up with a design for two non-traditional classrooms where tables would be of different heights; all surfaces, both desks and walls, would be non-permanent writing spaces; and flexible seating options would allow students to move around the room as they learned.
“Upskilling Teachers to Change the Lives of Children: Digital professional development”
Globally, education standards are suffering due to a major crisis in training and support for teachers. In low-income countries, efforts to raise pupil enrollment have been successful; however, lack of focus and policy direction around teacher quality means the majority of these children are not able to read a basic book by the time they are 10 years old. The Commonwealth Education Trust believes that teachers need urgent investment and support to develop their core teaching skills and ensure their pupils have a good foundational education. More and more teachers have access to a smartphone, even where the schools do not have running water. The Commonwealth Education Trust found this to be a crucial key to unlocking potential and providing teachers with much-needed effective learning and development.
“Encouragement at the HEART of Education Innovation”
Many of the girls with whom Protsahan works have never been allowed to attend school. Those who do are systematically discouraged by the entire community from completing their education. As many as 83% of girls living in these marginalized communities find it nearly impossible to access higher education, health care, sanitation and menstrual hygiene products, clean drinking water, and access to justice. All of these issues, although seemingly disconnected from each other, are deeply interconnected, with education being the common thread. Protsahan has gathered a team of highly dedicated and experienced grassroots social workers and teachers who work tirelessly at the forefront of education innovation using the HEART principle. HEART is an acronym that Protsahan developed to describe the foundation of their work—Holistic healing, Education, Art & life skills, Recovery from trauma, and Technology.
“Awareness Through the Body: The art of paying attention to the attention” Awareness Through the Body is described by its creators as “a comprehensive curriculum of activities and exercises that aims to raise awareness and enable both children and adults to become conscious of their own perceptions and abilities, so that they may become more self-aware, self-directed individuals.” As Programme Director at the Learning for Well-being Foundation, author Luís Manuel Pinto is constantly searching for activities that align with their approach. He particularly looks for practices that meet the following three criteria:
• Involve the whole child through four perspectives: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
• Define well-being as realizing one’s unique potential
• Respect inner differences in the way children and adults engage and make sense of their experiences.
“Young Children and YouTube: A global phenomenon”
It is clear that children are using YouTube daily for a wide range of purposes (e.g., researching, creating, curating, sharing, showcasing). The online platform has the potential to benefit early learning by increasing children’s knowledge of the world, supporting their creativity and sharing of ideas, and building up their confidence, voice, and agency. Teachers can use YouTube videos to inspire and motivate young children in their play, creativity, and innovation. For example, children can watch a YouTube video on how to use a recipe to make a cake, then make their own cake with assistance from an adult.