People are searching for authentic, quality experiences in all aspects of their lives. Every industry from dining to travel to consumer goods is responding to an unprecedented consumer desire for something unique that is created with the highest of care. We use terms such as artisanal or craft to describe this. Think craft beer or artisanal cheese as examples. But what if school could be like this? What if there were educators that put the same level of care, quality and specialization into every aspect?
This artisanal, craft approach applied to learning is one way to describe their vision, according to designers at WorldOver International—a new private, non-profit, online international school. Although currently focused on middle-school-age learners, WorldOver is soon expanding to high school and elementary courses as well.
In an era of standardized, homogenized curriculum, every course at WorldOver is multi-faceted. Current course titles include unique offerings such as Activism Through Art (where students choose the issue, medium, and projects) or Rule The Runway (where students study fashion through economics, design, entrepreneurship, communication, and ideas).
“We want to be the most learner-focused, globally-connected, project-based learning community available to all learners around the world,” said WorldOver Director Anne Wodetzki.
The WorldOver Team is excited about how they are leveraging language. According to Wodetzki, all learners are taking a second language and will have dual immersion at the elementary level. Additionally, language is extending into unique learning journeys such as Shugi Ninja Japanese Crafts and Spanish Cooking.
“This is not just about communication, but how we view and interact with one another as global citizens and learners,” said Wodetzki.
In addition to addressing the ISTE Technology Standards, Wodetzki said they are redefining the learner experience using technology.
“We are getting ready to launch our virtual field trips this next month with the new Oculus Quest 2 Goggles,” said Wodetzki. “Our learners will be some of the first around the world to use this technology in order to examine a topic through a global perspective.”
These three-day virtual experiences will include things like underwater expeditions examining ocean conservation, engaging with learners and schools in places like Ireland and Turkey, or one focused on space exploration focused on climate change.
Genuine Human Connections
Despite the important role that technology plays, WorldOver is quick to point out that powerful relationships are driving learners to these courses and experiences.
“We are truly about human connections with global learners,” said WorldOver Outreach Coordinator Eileen Elliott. “We are totally relationship-focused with one another, other learners, and global experts.”
Humanities Facilitator Taja Butler is impressed with WorldOver’s ability to support learners with one-on-one academic support and coaching, as well as a personalized curriculum.
“It has definitely been a pleasure seeing learners discuss their goals and how I can help support them individually reaching those goals,” said Butler.
Skills To Pay The Bills And More
WorldOver’s definition of global leaders and learners is exemplified by the mentoring of learners with 11-year-old Ryan Hickman who has his own company called Ryan’s Recycling Company. Hickman recently spoke to WorldOver 8th graders as part of their activism course. Having their learners collaborate with peers around the world who are innovating, creating, and leading is core to the mission of WorldOver.
“This is something that we feel very strongly about,” said Wodetzki. “We think this can be a game-changer and make a transformational impact on our learners.”
Wodetzki and her team are focusing on skill acquisition addressed by the World Economic Forum. These skills, sometimes called ‘skills to pay the bills’ are not only associated with lifelong learning, but career development as well.
“Think culture of learning focused on the future,” said Wodetzki. “We want to expose [students] to as many as we can so they can tackle anything.”
Parents and learners are also highly enthusiastic about their unique experiences. Parent Jennifer Calvert said that she is delighted with the experience her children are enjoying and that the opportunities focused on social responsibility and global problem-solving are what really attracted them to the school.
“These educators have done a phenomenal job of helping our children develop skills to be independent thinkers while also finding ways to problem solve, coach, and support them along the way,” said Calvert.
6th grader Ethan applauds WorldOver’s online project-based learning but is also impressed with the degree of interaction.
“There are lots of interactions, games, and opportunities to get to know other students better,” said Ethan.
8th grader Lilliana appreciates the customization. “In one quarter, I am already more skilled at creating slideshows and other digital presentations so that I can get my message across and share it with others,” said Lilliana.
WorldOver is encouraging interested learners to connect with them online or consider taking their Welcome Package which allows learners to sample three courses to see if they are a good fit.
“In what world can you give a school a trial run?” asked Wodetzki. “Well, at WorldOver you can.”
Now if that isn’t craft or artisanal, then what is?
For more, see:
- Linking Global Knowledge, Project-Based Learning and the Pandemic: One School’s Journey
- Globally Connecting Learners through Project-Based Learning
- Diversifying Global Education to Diversify Global Leadership
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