Collaborating with GK DML Summer Fellow

During this summer’s Virtual Video Project (VVP), I had the chance to co-facilitate the program with a Global Kids Digital Media and Learning Summer Fellow funded by the National Summer Learning Association. The Fellow helped us run VVP, an intensive two week program that supported GK Youth Leaders to address global and social issues through digital media production. In the end, youth made a film about global health effects due to climate change, as a continuation of GK’s involvement in the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.


The Fellow collaborated with us to plan the curriculum and connect it to Common Core Standards, co-facilitated all of the sessions, actively blogged (here and here), and also participated in post-program debriefing sessions and presentations. Walleska, a full-time Global History and Special Education teacher, was chosen as the Fellow to work with GK. Both her background working with underserved youth and her experience traveling abroad as a Fulbright volunteer, made her a great fit.


Having been a classroom teacher myself but now working in the informal and afterschool learning space, I was looking forward to collaborating with a teacher and also being able to bridge our students’ learning seamlessly from the classroom to the summer. As my colleagues and I developed the VVP curriculum, Walleska provided her input and connected it to the Common Core Standards in the areas of reading, writing, and speaking and listening. While GK’s curricula tends to hit on all of the Standards, we don’t always visibly map out the connections of our workshops to the Standards. Walleska did a great job of making those connections. It was then helpful for me to connect those Standards to other things I keep in mind as I develop programs, such as 21st Century Skills and Connected Learning Principles.


Aside from curriculum development, it was invaluable having a teacher co-facilitating who was experienced and comfortable working with youth. During VVP, we often broke up into small groups to work on specific tasks and I was more than comfortable assigning Walleska to lead one of those groups to guide youth along the process of developing the film. Through the program, she was able to become more familiar with innovative digital media skills like virtual worlds, and also see how digital media was used in all aspects of the program, from research, to procuring music and images, to voice recording.


Finally, we could all clearly see that Walleska made an impression on our youth in just two weeks time. A few students had commented on how she was “like a mother” to them and were sad when the program came to an end. It was wonderful having Walleska be a part of the GK family and contributing to our program and we thank her for sharing her expertise with us!