At Envoys, global education has always been about what you do, not where you go. Our decade of experience with blended models of online and experiential education has provided us with a unique capability to support our partner schools.
We believe that essential work includes teaching students to appreciate diverse perspectives, understand the connections they have to the wider world, respectively and effectively communicate and collaborate across cultures and countries, and use disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge to investigate and take action on issues that matter to them and the wider world.
We recognize that it can be difficult to conceptualize how global education programming can be implemented in the virtual space.
This page details pedagogical elements, program schedules, and example activities, in order to provide a better understanding of what is entailed in an EnvoysX program.
“Rather than trying to minimize screen time, I think parents and teachers should try to maximize creative time.”
~Mitch Resnick, MIT Media Lab
Students and teachers are spending more time than ever before on on their phones, tablets, and computers–with this come the inevitable Zoom fatigue. However, Zoom fatigue doesn’t come from screen time alone, rather it is the result of a haphazard attempt to graft technology over existing curriculum, falling short of providing the autonomy, mastery, and purpose necessary for student motivation. Envoys draws upon a decade of experience with online courses and a unique fusion of pedagogical models to create highly engaging collaborative learning experiences.
By and large, students in virtual courses have tended to learn less efficiently than those in traditional in-person formats. However, the presence of a well-prepared, thoughtful facilitator greatly increases student engagement in the virtual realm.
Research has shown that this facilitator, whether existing on-site or online, has three key roles to fulfil:
- Nurturing: developing caring relationships and ensuring a safe and secure learning environment
- Monitoring and Motivating: staying on top of student engagement with content and providing support when necessary
- Encouraging Communication: fostering clear exchanges among all members of the learning community, including parents.
Every EnvoysX program has a dedicated and experienced facilitation team passionate about global education and helping students grow.
I really enjoyed this program, including the content and how it was run. The facilitators were great and I felt comfortable sharing my thoughts in discussions. I felt very engaged and interested in the material presented, and appreciated all the resources that were provided”. – Tallis, Student
I very much enjoyed the aspect of a OneDoc — I was able to see how my peers think and work, and was able to browse the stories and assignments, as well as go back to past activities for a refresher. I would, without a doubt, keep the OneDoc as a part of these journeys” – Will, Student
Since its inception, Envoys’ pedagogy has utilized all the tools in the proverbial educational toolbox. We integrate Harvard’s Project Zero’s thinking routines into every EnvoysX program in order to help students explore complex topics together.
To help do this, we invite participants to think a bit differently about taking notes and making their thoughts visible during our programs, courses, and exchanges. Our OneDoc model of collaborative learning allows us to get a glimpse into each other’s minds, putting raw unfiltered thinking out in the open for discussion. Seeing people’s thoughts emerge at the same time is a powerful, shared experience.
Finally, we leverage each technological tool to produce rich documentation of students’ thinking, allowing for deeper reflections, debriefs, and metacognition. By helping students think about their own thought processes in small groups, pairs, and individually, students walk away with not just content knowledge, but a better sense of who they are as learners.
The content of EnvoysX programs comes from a mixture of live and pre-recorded expert speakers, virtual tours, masterclasses, and curated readings and videos.
We believe in the power of learning first-hand from other people‘s experiences, and being able to illustrate the concepts we cover in all of our programs with examples of people whose daily work revolves around the issues of global significance that we care about. Envoys’ network of wonks, historians, scholars, and practitioners provides access for students to real people who care deeply about changing lives.
Our in-country experts give students behind-the-scenes access and insight into the reality of lived lives in twenty-eight countries around the world. Experienced tour guides lead students through unfamiliar places via live video and street maps, while specialists provide masterclasses on dance, food, arts, and other cultural practices.
This course was very informational. I really enjoyed the speakers and have learned a lot from the legalization of drugs to how the criminal justice system began. I felt as of before this course my feelings towards the system were strong, and this course only made them stronger”. – Kate, Student
Activities & Peer Collaboration
I loved the structured activities like our final project because it gave us the freedom to really be original with presenting our information” – Emilie, Student.
Now, more than ever, students need to develop meaningful connections and bridge differences. We utilize virtual exchanges and project collaborations to develop empathy, understanding, and respect.
The work that matters in the 21st century will be performed by small teams utilizing diverse skill sets and technologies to work across geographic, cultural, and temporal boundaries. EnvoysX program models make use of technology to collaborate and communicate, raising the potential to create a new paradigm for global education, one that more effectively prepares students to take on the challenges of the future.
More importantly, these programs must provide students with opportunities to develop the ‘soft-skills’ of negotiations, planning, and authentic leadership. As has been keenly demonstrated over the past months, both the present moment and the future require the ability to navigate ambiguity and solve problems together. To overcome the challenges students and educators alike must understand not only their collective responsibility but also their collective power to work together.
HOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER
The two programs below illustrate the content, flow, and pedagogical framing utilized in EnvoysX programs. Every pedagogical element described above is represented in the activities mapped in these samples. Each module typically represents one 2-3 hour synchronous session, but each can be split and adapted as is convenient for the schedule of your school.
STUDENT WORKBOOKS & OUTCOMES
The Pay It Forward Project
The Pay It Forward project allows students to bring their specific passions, talents, and skills to the table to design an initiative or campaign that ignites meaningful action on one of the issues explored during the program. Students are encouraged to draw inspiration from individuals and organizations already hard at work on the issue, and to support or expand existing efforts rather than erase or replace them. Pay It Forward projects help students bring their learning back to their campus or home community and inspire personal, sustained engagement with the issue.
Examples of Completed Pay It Forward Projects
On a similar note, OneDocs result in great artifacts of learning that reflect the process of each class, the questions that remain, and the conclusions drawn through Meaning Building Activities, Case Studies, and discussions. Check out a sample OneDoc below!
How can we help to build YOUR EnvoysX Program?
Envoys is dedicated to serving as a platform for innovative schools and teachers to push the boundaries of global education. Whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid, every program is customized to fit the unique educational context of our partners. We’d love to hear about your needs, and see how we can help!