PenPal Schools Global Ambassadors improve our community by supporting educators around the world and sharing their global education practices. This week, meet Anna Dudich, our Global Ambassador from Ukraine, and learn how she collaborates with math and science teachers in her school to bring global project-based learning to her entire school community!
How long have you been using PenPal Schools and what do you love most about it?
I have been using PenPal Schools since 2015. My students wanted to have pen pals from other countries, so when I came across PenPal Schools in the Internet, I got very excited because this educational platform not only offered pen pals, but also provided great projects for collaborative learning. Moreover, all these projects fit perfectly well into our school curriculum.
As a teacher, the thing I love most about PenPal Schools is that through these projects my students can step outside their classroom into the wider world. They learn Culture, Country study, History, Literature, Math and at the same time develop 21st century skills such as collaboration, skilled communication, the use of ICT for learning, time management. As for the students, most of all they enjoy communication with pen pals from different countries. Also, they love creating some final products as a summary of their projects. For example, designing flags in Flags of the World or keeping the food diary in A World of Food.
Check out this video that Anna's students created after participating in Flags of the World:
How has learning with PenPals impacted your students and school community?
I have noticed that cooperative learning offered by PenPal Schools is highly productive, because when you talk with your pen pal about new things that you have learned, you remember this information better. In the past school years only the teachers of English were involved in PenPal Schools in our educational establishment, but PenPal Schools has projects to fit different subjects. This year we decided to introduce this platform to the teachers of Maths and we'd like to share with you our impressions. Two disciplines (Geometry and English), four teachers (Maths teachers Ms. Valentyna Mishchenko and Ms. Larysa Horova; English teachers Ms. Natalia Lysenko and Ms. Hanna Dudich) and students of two classes came together to participate in the project "A World of Geometry". Here is what my colleagues think about this project:
Ms. Valentyna Mishchenko, a Mathematics teacher: "A modern teacher should not only deliver knowledge, he or she should form students' mindset and encourage children to be motivated lifelong learners. Projects like ones that PenPal Schools offer, help us to teach students how to work and study in a quickly transforming digital world, how to get, process and create different information, how to be an independent learner and at the same time to work in a team, how to set goals and work towards their achievement. Moreover, students learn to make motivated decisions, to solve real life tasks (like the one with penpal pizzas) using knowledge received at the lessons. Children are involved in cooperative learning which helps them to comprehend the value of knowledge and creativity".
Ms. Larysa Horova, a Mathematics teacher: "I hope that PenPal Schools project will open for us international educational dimensions. I want to learn about methods of teaching Maths in different countries. I am sure "A World of Geometry" project will help to increase motivation for learning Maths among our students and develop their scientific mindset. Our students have always been interested in communicating with peers and this project motivates to analyse and compare different ways and approaches to solving geometry tasks".
Ms. Natalia Lysenko: "I am not only an English teacher, but also a classroom tutor of the students involved in the project. I can say that after starting the project they became much friendlier. All the breaks they spend discussing the project tasks, sharing about how many pen pals they've got, new information they've learned, not only about Geometry, but about their pen pals and their culture in general".
Ms. Hanna Dudich: "As a school admin responsible for STEM integration into school curricula, I was very happy to find a lot of STEM projects on the PenPal Schools website. We started with Geometry and we will definitely continue with other subjects. We want to show our students that in order to succeed in future they will need to combine knowledge of different subjects and different skills. So, mixing Maths and English in this project was the perfect start for us. We are in the middle of the project, but we can already see a great increase in learning motivation".
What is your favorite PenPal Schools project?
We have tried several PenPal Schools projects. Each one of them had something interesting, so it is impossible to choose just one.
What other ways do you connect your students with the world?
In our school we connect our students with their peers around the world with the help of different educational projects. Among them are Map Your World, British Council Connecting Classrooms, Generation Global, eTwinning, Know My World, Mystery Skype and others. Making global connections, developing understanding of diversity, making students aware of various cultures, traditions and ways of life is very important in our troubled world if we want our children to live in a better and happier world.
Check out this video that Anna's students created after participating in World Explorer:
What advice do you have for teachers that are new to PenPal Schools?
Even if you teach Maths or Science or any other subject in a non-English-speaking society, but your students study English, I would advise to join efforts with teachers of English at your school and join a PenPal School project of your choice. You will see all the benefits right away.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
It would be nice to go to India because it's a beautiful, mysterious and diverse country.
You can get in touch with Anna in our Facebook group for PenPal Schools Global Educators, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @annadudich. Thanks Anna for being a great Global Ambassador!
Are you an innovative global educator? Learn more about our Global Ambassador program here and apply today!