This blog is written by Zoë Casson, Early Years teacher at Léman International School, Chengdu
and Global Campus Lead for China.
Global Campus brings together our 66 schools around the world as one community. Whilst Global Campus is available to our students throughout the year, we have also found it to be immensely beneficial during the current pandemic, strengthening connections between our students wherever they are and highlighting the absolute importance of developing a global mindset, something we place great emphasis on in all that we teach.
Within the online platform, students can do anything from entering competitions, creating content, working with invited experts, and connecting and interacting with one another through collaborative projects. It is a unique learning environment and has successfully provided students and teachers with global opportunities and a special link to peers all around the world for over a decade. I have been fortunate to be involved with Global Campus since joining Nord Anglia Education, five years ago and work now as the Global Campus Lead for our China region.
Our highly successful collaborations with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), The Juilliard School, and UNICEF make a big impact on our curriculum and provide significant opportunity via Global Campus for our students to connect and engage with experts in their respective fields. Our "Ask the Artist" project, for example, provides a unique opportunity for students to ask questions to Juilliard Artists who have made successful careers of the performing arts. Students are encouraged to read the artist’s bio, listen and watch them perform, and post questions for them to answer –questions about practice routines, strategies for coping with stage fright, experiences at Juilliard, or any other curiosities that come to mind!
Many of our projects are centered around the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, 17 global goals designed to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. An entire section on Global Campus is dedicated to learning more about these goals and students work all year round to help achieve them. Supported by UNICEF, our students benefit from special Q&S with senior leads, opportunities to visit the UN and unique chances share their work, such as in our annual Visual Arts Competition which sees students interpret social issues with winning artwork chosen by UNICEF and displayed in New York during the High-Level Political Forum.
The range of extra curricula activities that students can participate in is vast and falls broadly into five areas from Language and Literature, Performing Arts with our collaboration with Juilliard, Steam with our collaboration with MIT, Social Enterprise with UNICEF, and Expeditions. Each of these areas offer a variety of projects throughout the school year that students can be involved in, whilst earning themselves digital recognition in the form of badges.
A particularly successful activity for my own school, Leman International School, Chengdu, is the Global Campus Creative Writing Competition. There are various activities that students can undertake online relating each year to a new book, with this year’s chosen book ‘Stepping Stones’ by Margriet Ruurs. Within my own school, students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 took part. Natural materials were used to create representations of home and families for younger students, whilst our older students participated in a range of writing activities.
This year also saw the launch of our Online Global Campus Student Journalism Course as part of our Language and Literature activities, another great example of learning outside of the classroom. The online course teaches students the elements and structure required to write a good story indifferent types of medium, how to use sources and gather quotes, and editing skills. The course also enables students to develop the skills to understand, create and publish school news and blog articles.
To enhance Global Campus a new area has recently been developed called GCXtra. This new activity zone includes the BIG question, which encourages the exploration of philosophical ideas, confusing concepts and quizzical facts. To date, different schools have taken ownership over posing questions to students around the world, these include ‘what does hope mean to you?’ and ‘do animals have emotions just like us?’. Xtra Challenges have also been designed and provide students with a comprehensive hub of learning activities within the areas of arts and crafts, language and culture, health and fitness, designing and making, as well as personal challenges.
A new virtual Kilimanjaro climb, taking place this spring, forms part of our GC Xtra Expeditions. Individuals have been able to join the challenge as a solo participant or as a team with their family or school friends. Daily steps and floors climbed are logged onto our online platform and the progress of all teams can be viewed for some friendly competition. It’s a great activity for bringing our worldwide community together and to keep fit at the same time. My whole family have been enjoying more walks together as a way of increasing our step count. There is currently such a buzz on Global Campus as students, parents and teachers post on a daily basis with photos and motivational comments.
For me, one of the aspects of Global Campus that I find most empowering is the chance for our students to interact with fellow Nord Anglia Education students across the world. I always feel inspired reading student comments and watching as students from countries thousands of miles apart communicate and learn with each other through Global Campus. It is clear that our students are developing into true global citizens. From the incredible work they do to giving back to the community, to the rounded skills we are seeing them learn and hone, the Global Campus is a wonderful asset to our students.