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February 13, 2012

International Collaboration ~ Student “Solutionaries”

by Heidi Zeigler Twitchell

The STEAM Academy and Global Children’s Village are teaming up to present one of the most innovative and practical educational programs in the world. Using thinking and learning methodologies from both the sciences and the arts, scientists and fine artists of all kinds will collaborate with learners of all ages all over world in creating projects that not only educate the whole child, but that also solve problems found in our communities and in the world.

Students in the U.S. Collaboratively Seek Solutions for their Team Members in Laos

The first step in our global initiative will be to identify 8-12 schools all over the world in which to initialize our programs. In each school, at least one local scientist from an institution of higher learning or from a community corporation will be teamed with a fine artist. This pair will visit a specific classroom or school and collaborate with the learners to create a project with both science and art components. Each project at each school will target a particular social, health or infrastructure problem such as creating clean water or promoting community health through vaccines or through better habits. As learners solve problems in their communities and in the world, they will be developing a variety of thinking, planning and teamwork skills from the fine arts and from STEM processes. The result? Problems solved. Kids educated- well.  Our shared vision of preparing youth to become local, national and global “solutionaries,” a term coined by social educator Zoe Weill, will begin to be realized.

Yes, such revolutionary approaches to education will prepare students to master core knowledge and skills.  Our ultimate goal, however, is not to simply help students pass tests. It is not to only to ensure that learners will graduate from high school, enter college and go on to lead successful careers.  We are preparing students to enter the world with talents and skills that will help them to solve the problems caused by generations past and perpetuated, even worsened, by us.  Essentially, it is our responsibility to ready our children to save the world- and us.

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