Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview with Luke Meinen, Manager of Level 5 Bahrain. This is an initiative of International School Services, a nonprofit that leads schools, facilitates recruitment and provides best-in-breed learning solutions.
Tell us about LEVEL 5.
First and foremost, LEVEL 5 is a nonprofit that hosts creative learning experiences for students, educators and the wider community on a myriad of topics that aim to spark innovation and creativity in education.
The first LEVEL 5 opened in Shenzhen, China four years ago and has proved to be a successful platform to help educators shift practice, design real-world, experiential learning, and ignite passion within students in the creative spaces. With the success of LEVEL 5 China, we saw the opportunity to expand this endeavor into the MENA region opening LEVEL 5 Bahrain at Riffa Views International School.
Our professional learning workshops focus on three categories; making, contemporary pedagogy, and innovative leadership. This wide range of events will help us provide a new type of professional learning for region. These workshops are available for educators, community members and students as we recognize the power of young and old working and learning together.
During the 2019-2020 school year, we will host 12 full weekend workshops, night events, and single day weekend learning experiences. These events will be facilitated by both local and international educators and artists from around the world.
Tell us about the new space with the Riffa Views International School.
The creation of LEVEL 5 has been a process that has taken a full year to complete as we knew we wanted this space to reflect the school community it resided in. We were gracious enough to have been given a beautiful space with huge amounts of natural light as a blank canvas.
In order to leverage the ideas of the entire RVIS community, we invited staff, students and parents into the space to help us co-create this new space. We loosely followed a Design Sprint model to rapidly ideate, prototype and test ideas from all who participated. You can read about this process in detail here Co-creating Authentic Change. This helped us gather the best ideas from the entire community to begin the process of designing this new agile space.
For LEVEL 5 to be successful, it requires a completely agile space that can be reconfigured to meet the needs of any type of workshop or learning experience. Utilizing prior successes of the LEVEL 5 China, research from the Stanford d School and a plethora of other resources we designed the space around this concept. Writable surfaces for ideation everywhere, agile furniture, smooth transitional flooring and caster wheels on EVERYTHING have helped us create this flexible space.
Actual construction of the space took three months to complete (time lapse of construction), and it was launched in late May of the 2018-2019 academic year. Along with this beautiful new physical space, we will also be out fitting it with a host of creative tools like 3D printers, laser engravers, microcontrollers, traditional fabrication tools, and much more. These will be for students, parents, educators and community members to use design, create and test new and innovative ideas.
During the day, LEVEL 5 will be open to the RVIS community and students to use. We are not using it as a traditional space to host scheduled classes, but more as an open space that can be booked by the teachers. The hope is to have these ideals and innovative practices flow into classrooms rather than being isolated in the space. Our aim is to help inspire the students in our school by providing them with the same type of learning experiences that happen during our professional learning workshops both inside LEVEL 5 and out.
What strategies do you use to activate the Bahrain educational community?
Over the past year, another focus for LEVEL 5 Bahrain has been to activate the educational community across the island by building collaborative relationships between schools. In Bahrain, the relationships that have been built up between schools are often competitive in nature through sports, competitions, and other events. There were pockets of collaboration, but we wanted this to grow as we know that when educators share knowledge and practice, everyone wins, especially the students.
With this in mind, we began to systematically create opportunities for sharing, collaborating and learning that were open to all educators on the island regardless of what school they taught at. We created a What’s App group to share ideas and learning opportunities, promoted an existing Facebook group, started a shared hashtag (#bahrainedu) to deprivatize the great things that were happening in classrooms around the island, and started events called #TeachmeetBahrain to provide opportunities to physically meet up and share.
In just a year, some great things have happened, and I believe that this will continue to grow as more people engage in these opportunities to collaborate. For a detailed look into this, you can find the steps we took here; Activating Your Educational Community.
Luke Meinen is the manager of LEVEL 5, Bahrain where he coordinates events and workshops and facilitates learning experiences. Over the past year, he has worked to co-create this new space with the Riffa Views International School community. He is also working to activate the education community in Bahrain through the organization of TeachMeets, collaborative groups and social gatherings for educators and leaders.
Prior to joining LEVEL 5, he worked as an elementary educator for nine years in East Asia, Africa and the Middle East designing authentic learning experiences for his classes and colleagues. He enjoys fabrication, playing basketball, surfing and spending time with his family in his free time.
We are thrilled to announce the 7th annual GESS Awards, whether you’re a teacher, supplier or anyone in education this is your chance to celebrate excellence in the education industry. The Gala will take place on 26 February 2020 in Dubai at the H Hotel. KDSL Global Managing Director Kevin Simpson has been selected as a judge for the awards.
What are the Awards?
The awards highlight and reward the quality and diversity of educational products, resources, services and people as well as the best educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession. The GESS Education Awards aim to encourage the raising of educational services & product standards throughout the industry and aims to be recognised throughout the sector as the accolade of excellence.
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Ibrahim Olaekan Salami, Founder of Paradise Planet Earth. Paradise Planet Earth is for everyone who seeks to find paradise right on their doorstep. It’s not just an idea or a concept, but a movement with a mission, driven by planting seeds of kindness everywhere and finding beauty in the souls of people and in the arms of nature.
How many unique destinations has Paradise Planet eEarth promoted so far?
So far we have explored and promoted Abuja, Muscat, Salalah, Lagos, Uganda, Seychelles, Madagascar, Nairobi, Zanzibar and Accra in Ghana.
Do you plan to work with any other non-profit/ government organisations for a better reach?
We are always willing to collaborate with other NGO’s and people who have our same values and mission. During Ramadan when we were distributing rice to widows and kids, we collaborated with a local farm in Nigeria so that we could add to the economy while feeding the less fortunate. We have also collaborated with an organization in Nigeria who is into beach cleaning, sea turtle rescues and planting trees.
What do you expect from your customers after their trip? Do you expect them to care for the environment and show some empathy?
Nature is the center point of every Paradise Planet Earth activity. The questions that fuel us are about how we can live as one with nature and how can we give back to mother earth. Our customers gain new self-awareness and love and respect for nature after their trips with us. During our trips, we sow seeds of kindness in the hearts of our customers that keeps on growing and they do their bests to help nature and humanity in every way they can from then on.
Our trips include soaking the beauty of nature, physical and mental activities that help in personal growth and giving back to the communities we visit. The question we leave in everyone’s mind is what are we leaving behind for future generations?
To learn more visit http://paradiseplanetearth.com/.
Ibrahim Olaekan Salami is a dedicated realtor, entrepreneur and philanthropist with years of experience in real estate and real estate investment. He also has a penchant for humanitarian services, caregiving and nature, which has led him to found Paradise Planet Earth, an organization set up to contribute to the protection and conservation of the earth through giving back to the society.
Through this organization, he has been able to reach different persons in need including women and children across different countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Focusing more on Africa at the moment. In a recent visit to Kenya, the organization donated clothes, food and school supplies to kids who were in dire need of these. Not long ago, a similar gesture was extended to residents of a slum in Lagos, Nigeria. These show of kindness have previously been done as well in Uganda, South Africa, Oman and a few other countries. He’s keen on visiting more countries to do more.
His love for nature and it’s beauty is extraordinary and this, he has expressed by his recent adoption of a baby elephant who was orphaned by poachers in Kenya and the adoption of a palm tree in Nigeria, which is geared towards protecting Mother Earth. Previously, he has helped in the rescue of an endangered specie of sea turtle and is presently helping to create awareness to locals on the need to safeguard these beautiful creatures.
Ibrahim is an advocate of love and encourages every individual to see themselves as a global citizen and do the little they can at every point to build a better society and a better environment.
For more information visit https://schoolleadersme.com.
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Leisa Grace Wilson of Teach Middle East Magazine. This is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. They offer information on a wide range of topics ranging from finance, culture, travel, leadership, school news, and more.
Tell us about the Teach Middle East Magazine.
Teach Middle East Magazine is the premier magazine for educators and the entire education sector in the Middle East and beyond. Our vision is to equip educators with the materials and tools they need, to function optimally in and out of the classroom. We provide a space for educators to connect, find inspiration, resources and forums that are aimed at enhancing their teaching techniques, methodologies and personal development. We connect education suppliers and service providers to the people who make the buying decisions in schools.
What topics are you hoping to cover in the future?
The upcoming Volume 7 of Teach Middle East Magazine will continue to feature strategy filled articles, interviews and research-backed pieces for the connected educator.
What is your editorial style?
Teach Middle East Magazine focusses on ensuring that the articles it carries add value to educators and help them to perform optimally both inside and outside of the classroom. The magazine is divided into two sections. ‘Class Time’ and ‘After the Bell’ catering to both the professional and personal development of educators.
To learn more about Teach Middle East Magazine visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/
For their latest issue visit https://teachmiddleeastmag.com/teach-middle-east-magazine-sep-dec-2019-issue-1-volume-7/
Leisa Grace Wilson is the Editorial Director of Teach Middle East Magazine. She has been working in education for the past twenty-two years as a teacher, Head of Department, Education Advisor and Vice-principal. Leisa Grace has worked in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. In 2014 she joined Teach Middle East Magazine, where she shares her passion for education through her writing and editing of the print and online issues of the magazine. She is also a speaker and has presented at education conferences globally.
Ayodele Harrison, USA Tamera Musiowsky-Borneman, Singapore
Lucas Roberts, China Jes’ka Washington, United Arab Emirates
Jacob Sule, Nigeria Gilda Scarfe, United Kingdom
Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Allison Rodman of The Learning Loop. Allison challenges schools and districts to examine all aspects of their learning organization and focus on the connections among culture, collaboration, and communication as levers for growth.
What is the importance of personalizing the learning process for educators?
We look to teachers to know their students, build strong relationships with them, and personalize learning to meet their interests, readiness, and learning preferences, yet these considerations are often neglected when designing and facilitating professional learning for educators (at all levels). This is not unique to education and is a universal challenge within adult education. However, it is perhaps most concerning in the education space where we do not model the learning principles we expect teachers and leaders to implement themselves.
Additionally, we fail to recognize that adults learn in different ways than students. There is 50 years of andragogical research providing insight in this space, but we continue to ignore critical factors such as job-embedded practice, social construction, and relevance when designing professional learning experiences. We spend millions of dollars as schools, districts, and businesses to build human capital, but the engagements, for the most part, are designed and facilitated poorly.
How do your personalized professional learning services focus on improving culture?
I partner with schools, district, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to move beyond planning professional learning sessions as “events,” but instead, sustained “experiences” for intentional and targeted collaboration and growth. We look to create true learning organizations rather than simply one-time, sit-and-get workshops. Together, we examine a multitude of data points, including student achievement and growth data, observation and evaluation data, and staff needs assessments (as well as other metrics specific to each partner). We explore a continuum of learner agency and look for opportunities to elevate learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery. In this way, learning experiences become not only purposeful and personalized, but also begin to shift the paradigm of learning within the organization as a whole in organic and authentic ways.
Tell us about your book “Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice.”
The book provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. It is a step-by-step guide for diagnosing, planning, executing, evaluating, and refining teachers’ professional learning. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, the book distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.
For more information please visit http://www.thelearningloop.com.
Allison Rodman is an educational consultant who provides professional learning services to districts, schools, and educational nonprofit organizations.
Allison is deeply committed to connecting educators together and sharing resources to personalize the learning process for all (both students and the educators who support them – at every level of the system).
The goal of her work is to support the whole child and whole educator to view learning as an ongoing experience and not an endpoint. This process includes learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery.
On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai at Dunecrest American School as part of an initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit. During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:
- Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
- Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
- Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
- Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.
Dubai based Summit Mentor Dima Yousef said, “Teach to Lead provides teacher-led teams with time, skills and support to put their ideas into action. The summit is an opportunity to step outside the box of a problem or situation and explore solutions with the feedback of other educators and leaders. As a mentor, I can’t wait to explore my own learning and development as I help pave the way for others to recognize the potential of their ideas to improve student learning and achievement.”
To apply to attend and for more information visit http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.
ABOUT KDSL Global
KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.
ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community
Our goal as the GCC ASCD Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.
Ashley Green, KDSL Global, firstname.lastname@example.org, +971 525427009