Author Archives: Michelle LaBorde

Wired Magazine Article on Radical New Teaching Method

Wired Magazine Article and a note about it from our founder Ross Wehner:

This is a great explanation of the massive shift in teaching happening across the world. This article accurately describes this shift as from a world where teachers lead the learning and push content and standardized exams, to the new world where students lead much of their learning and teacher is now facilitator helping kids develop a key set of global skill (creativity, real-world application of science and math, problem solving, written and oral communication, inter-cultural competency, empathy, resilience, etc. In this world of skills building, content is still relevant but it’s used strategically in the service of skills, not the other way around. Technology is a huge part of this as with technology kids can access any information they want, anytime, which relieves the teacher of having to be the font of wisdom, “sage on the stage,” etc.

Interestingly, as this article implies near the end, much of this innovation has happened in US charter schools serving economically disadvantaged kids. It’s in these areas where education has absolutely failed, district officials have thrown up their hands and schools are free to experiment freely (though they are still monitored carefully by, and their future funding depends on, standardized exams). In the US, World Leadership School works with private schools that are commonly quite slow to incorporate some of these innovations — they have a well oiled machine that gets kids into the right colleges, and these right colleges are still accepting kids for the same criteria they have always accepted kids. These colleges are just now beginning to realize they should look beyond GPA, APs, SATs, and other measure of content mastery.

I believe that in our Mobile Tablet Lab pilot in Costa Rica, we have the potential of showing strong learning growth if the tablets can be used as tools to help shift to a new way of student-led learning.

Costa Rican Soccer Club Receives Much Needed Gear

La Guara Sports Association's happy kids!

WLF partner, Street Soccer Academy, with help from WLF board member Greg Courtwright, recently did a soccer equipment and uniform drive that generated 57 balls, 38 jersey, 38 shorts, 27 shoes, 15 shin guards (and maybe more!) that were recently delivered to the local sports association of la Guaria, Costa Rica. Our wonderful Meghan Casey identified this group as having a great need for equipment saying, “About 2 years ago we had found a small donation in balls and vests for the kids and that has kept them going in the meantime, but there are no balls left and the vests have seen better days. They have been facing really hard times lately and have been getting pressure to stop their Saturday lessons (which are open to all ages free of cost) since they are not generating funds or playing competitively. We are so excited about the timing of this donation because I think it will be the perfect way to re-inject excitement into the group and provide the coaches with some basic materials for the participants!!” The goods were delivered by a World Leadership School group of students from Presbyterian Day School in Memphis TN. Many thanks to our friends at Street Soccer Academy for all the much needed and appreciated donations and Greg for bringing this opportunity to us and for coordinating and paying for shipping everything. 10441092_365456296965337_6620594003752290535_n

Roughly 30-50 kids participate every week in SSA’s partner soccer camp in Chilamate, Costa Rica. Our target population is high-risk kids and we accept and encourage children with physical disabilities to participate, as there are no similar opportunities for disabled athletes in the area.

We also try and incorporate environmental education into the program so that these young people understand the importance of conserving this beautiful wilderness in central Costa Rica. To execute this philosophy, we pick up trash everywhere we play and train.

We prefer use the word “camp” rather than “team” to describe our initiative and foster a non-competitive, co-ed environment in which all young people can participate regardless if they are able to provide their own kit.

10689451_365453820298918_716926557714007914_nUnlike for other clubs in the area, there is no cost for the kids who want to play and our entire coaching staff is made up of volunteers who are passionate about the cause and the game. Despite this lack of exclusivity, we are still an important part of the sports community in the region and are invited to local tournaments and events. Many clubs in the area recruit our kids to their official teams, which we encourage. Chilamate Rainforest Eco Retreat provides the transportation to all games and tournaments as well as natural snacks, water, and Gatorade.10514674_365778720266428_6562756067132104017_n

We partner with WLF and SSA to provide us the resources we need to keep this program running. Apart from the material resources we require, we are always eager to hear about training opportunities for our coaching staff or team building activities for the athletes.

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us directly at:

Bridging the Gap in Costa Rica

We recently were made aware of how our Mobile Tablet Lab (MTL) is helping children reach across continents to connect and learn more about each other. Students at the Linda Vista School in the remote Chilamate region of Costa Rica are using our MTL to exchange videos (shot and edited with the MTL!) with students at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY. The assignment for both groups was to film and talk about signs of change in their neighborhoods and communities. This type of connection is creating a global relationship that would not be possible without these tools. Here at World Leadership Foundation, we are committed to addressing the “digital divide” – the line between those who have access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not. Our experience in developing communities is that this a growing part of the poverty equation worldwide, and is even experienced here in the U.S. Our MTL bridges this gap in an innovative and powerful way and helps us achieve our mission of unleashing the potential of global communities through technology, learning, and collaboration.

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