Self-proclaimed “EdTech Warrior” and middle school computer science and social studies teacher Arthur Vambaketes is no stranger to innovations in education. In fact, that’s how he discovered Global Problem Solvers: The Series (GPS: The Series) two years ago. Following the social media conversations from ISTE, the world’s largest edtech conference, Arthur heard about Cisco’s new animated series for kids.
Inspired by Cisco’s supplemental curriculum, Arthur created a Global Challenges and Solutions course for his summer school students in the Jennings School District in St. Louis, Missouri this year. Taught entirely online over four weeks, the class was structured around the seven episodes from “Season 1: Working Well” and the teacher resources on the GPS: The Series website. He then took the curriculum a step further, customizing it by adding gamification and creating a collaborative discussion board, a note-taking guide, and writing prompts in Schoology, a learning management system for K-12 and higher education.
“The students loved the gamification. As they completed challenges and missions – just like the Global Problem Solvers characters – they progressed through the various superhero levels. The missions are actually part of an ongoing assignment to create their own superhero story, using common elements such as character development, rising action, and problem-solving,” says Arthur.
Students were also introduced to the United Nation´s Global Goals in order to provide ideas for problems their characters could solve in their stories. Each student then selected one of the goals and did research on their challenge so they could create their superhero book. The imagination and creativity that the students showed was amazing.
“I was introduced to characters with diverse backgrounds and personalities,” Arthur explained. “Like Josey, a girl who can teleport herself. Or Riley and Persia, who have the ability to know when someone is making hurtful comments and have the power to communicate different viewpoints to the culprits. Global Problem Solvers: The Series provides opportunities for students to collaborate, think critically, be creative, and communicate their ideas to wider audiences in an easy, fun way,” he says.
Want to learn more about Global Problem Solvers: The Series? Visit www.gpstheseries.com to learn more.