Ignite My Future Brings Educators Together Again for the Third Global Innovations Project
Ignite My Future in School (IMFIS), TCS’ signature computational thinking teacher training program, is pleased to announce that we’ll be hosting our 3rd annual Global Innovations Project for the Fall academic semester, beginning September 14, 2021. The product of Ignite My Future’s Learning Leaders Community, a global network of educators who are active in their classrooms, schools, and communities, The Global Innovations Project is a unique opportunity to collaborate with teachers around the world using a six-week guided plan for the project with opportunities to connect their students with peers around the world in a safe, monitored connection. As students around the world return to school after the Covid-19 pandemic forced teaching online, educators can learn from one another, exchange ideas, and celebrate successes.
The Global Innovations Project was created by Ignite My Future’s Learning Leaders, a community of over 200 teachers from United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and England, during the wave of Covid-19 related school shut-downs in spring of 2020. With the abrupt pivot from in-person to online teaching, teachers needed additional resources to continue classes in a virtual setting. While TCS and Discovery Education responded with materials, it became clear that teachers were searching for connection, both personally and professionally. Out of these ongoing conversations, educators created the Global Innovations Project to connect with other teachers and ensure students could still have unique experiences, despite being at home.
Diego Vela, high school Chemistry teacher from Monterrey, Mexico, one of the teachers behind the creation of this project, said, “being able to connect with teachers and students from other countries made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself, my school and my country.”
The first global collaboration included teachers and students from United States, Mexico, Canada, Chile and England. The focus was the impact of Covid-19 on communities. This project provided a much-needed connection for students as well as teachers as everyone was in lockdown. Students and teachers were able to make those connections while applying computational thinking to a problem that was affecting them all, no matter where they lived.
By Fall 2020, teachers were eager to explore a second global collaboration. With the pandemic still impacting schools and educators, teachers searched for shared global issues as a topic to focus on and struck on the theme of food deserts. The theme also had to activate prior knowledge, be applicable to all citizens, and be teacher/student friendly. Despite being allotted six weeks, participating teachers and students requested an additional two weeks to extend the project – students and teachers alike were learning so much. The students requested that their teachers ask for more time so that they could do more thorough research into the global problem of food security before they could design a solution. The research that the students did on food deserts also lead to discussions about equity. “This project has opened a realm of conversation that we might not have had. It is wonderful to see the students asking these questions organically.” said LeAnn Simmerman, a Tennessee-based educator.
Student solutions ranged from educational apps to mobile food markets to community food drives, all tailored to their local community. By using computational thinking strategies like creating project plans using algorithms, identifying patterns, and building models, students found realistic solutions that could spring into action. One stand-out solution was led by middle school students in Apex, North Carolina school garden that began as a result of the second Global Innovations Project. Students planted fruits and vegetables, identified families at their school who could benefit from the produce, harvested the crops, and distributed them. This second collaboration saw participation from 16 teachers and 14 classrooms with a total of 560 participating students.
And now it's your turn! The third iteration of this program will focus on sustainability and the environment with a particular emphasis on large scale events, as the world begins its path back to in-person gatherings. We’re lucky enough to have a special case study with the TCS NYC Marathon in November, plus other World Marathon Majors including Chicago, Boston, and London. Educators that participate in the program get a unique chance to collaborate with teachers around the world, a six-week guided plan for the project, and opportunities to connect their students with peers around the world in a safe, monitored connection. Students will get access to marathon volunteers from TCS, New York Road Runners, and other partners to bring the program to life. Educators will also receive 1:1 support from the Ignite My Future team.
We’re thrilled to bring this program back for the third time and hope you’ll join us.