WorldOver International School Crafts Unique Experiences for Global Learners
People are searching for authentic, quality experiences in all aspects of their lives. Every industry, from dining to travel to retail, is responding to an unprecedented consumer desire for something unique created with the highest of care. We use terms like artisanal or craft to describe this. What if school could be like this?
That is the goal of WorldOver International School, a new private, nonprofit, online international school that is customizing every aspect of the learner experience. Currently serving middle schoolers, WorldOver is soon expanding to high school and elementary courses as well.
In an era of standardized, homogenized curriculum, every course at WorldOver is handcrafted and multifaceted. Current courses 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,” WorldOver Director Anne Wodetzki said.
According to Wodetzki, all WorldOver learners are taking a second language, and the planned elementary level will offer dual immersion. Additionally, language courses offer unique learning journeys with crafts and cooking.
“This is not about just communication but how we view and interact with one another as global citizens and learners,” Wodetzki said.
In addition to addressing the ISTE Technology Standards, Wodetzki said WorldOver is personalizing the learner experience using technology.
“We are getting ready to launch our virtual field trips this next month with the new Oculus Quest 2 headsets,” Wodetzki said. “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 underwater expeditions examining ocean conservation, engaging with learners and schools in places like Ireland and Turkey, and learning about space exploration with a focus 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,” WorldOver Outreach Coordinator Eileen Elliott said. “We are totally relationship-focused with staff, learners and global experts.”
Humanities facilitator Taja Butler is grateful for WorldOver’s ability to provide learners with one-on-one academic support and coaching, as well as a personalized curriculum.
“It has been a pleasure hearing learners discuss their goals and supporting them individually in reaching those goals,” Butler said.
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 runs his own business, Ryan’s Recycling Company. Hickman recently spoke to WorldOver 8th graders as part of an activism course. Collaboration with peers around the world who are innovating, creating and leading is core to the mission of WorldOver.
“Collaboration is something we feel very strongly about,” Wodetzki said. “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,” Wodetzki said. “We want to expose them to as many skills as we can so they can tackle anything.”
Families are also highly enthusiastic about their learners’ 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 attracted her family 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,” Calvert said.
Ethan, a 6th grader, 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,” Ethan said.
Lilliana, an 8th grader, 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,” Lilliana said.
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.
Now if that isn’t craft or artisanal, then what is?