Is your classroom full of global problem solvers? There is a new video series designed especially for middle and high school students that addresses this important topic. With the Global Problem Solvers (GPS: The Series) animation series, you can introduce students to how technology can solve problems around the world.
This animation series shows students how they can use problem-solving skills to tackle issues facing communities in different parts of the world. The series includes a set of characters with unique skill sets and backgrounds. They work together to use technology to find solutions for a wide range of problems.
Global Problem Solvers: The Series
GPS: The Series is a totally free resource for students and teachers. It is engaging, informative, and applicable to a variety of content area goals. The trailer for the video series linked here and embedded below provides an excellent overview. Once you dive into the episodes in the first season, you’ll quickly learn about each character and their role on this team.
The videos in this series are a lot of fun to watch while providing valuable information at the same time. You’ll definitely want to dive into the corresponding teacher guide developed by the folks behind Global Problem Solvers: The Series. It contains a wealth of resources.
In the teacher guide for GPS: The Series, you’ll find discussion prompts to introduce the episodes to students. There are resources for leading students in discussion after they watch each episode and plenty of extra information. Each episode is featured in the teacher guide, so everything you need is right at your fingertips!
Using Video in the Classroom
You might ask students to watch one of the episodes before coming to class. Sharing the video link through Google Classroom, Schoology, or your school’s LMS of choice is one way to get the video into the hands of your students. Alternatively, you might play the short episodes at the beginning of a class period and pause periodically to lead a whole class discussion.
Introducing New Concepts
Multimedia resources like the excellent GPS: The Series animated videos help introduce new concepts to students. Even if the term “problem solving” isn’t on your list of lesson objectives for your current unit of study, the information presented in each episode can spark discussion you can connect to a range of objectives. The video series introduces concepts like:
The six attributes of Global Problem Solvers: The Series:
- Digital skills
- Critical thinking
- Social consciousness
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Teamwork skills
The nine steps of social entrepreneurship:
- Articulate the problem
- Surround yourself with experts
- Formulate a solution
- Incorporate technology to connect people, processes, data, and things
- Develop a business plan
- Raise funding and spend it wisely
- Test and refine the solution
- Use data to measure the impact
- Spread the word
You’ll find more information on these ideas in the Teacher Guide described above. As you introduce new concepts to students, you can use these videos to provide information and context for your students.
More than just a hook at the beginning of a lesson, videos can help students engage in core concepts. In my book, Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom, I discuss this concept in my chapter on curiosity. Here’s an excerpt which cites a book I love, Engaging Every Learner: Classroom Principles, Strategies, and Tools:
“As students explore their interests and move through content with a passionate teacher by their side, they become actively engaged in learning. Placing value on student engagement—what literacy expert Patricia Vitale-Reilly describes as “the act of being . . . passionate, hardy, persistent, thoughtful, committed, and connected to [one’s] work” (2015, p. xiii)—is an essential component of honoring curiosity. Curious students become critical thinkers who identify research topics and read between the lines.” (p. 41)
The Global Problem Solvers animation series can also inspire students to learn more about the big ideas presented in each episode. It might push a student to research an idea further or choose a topic for a research project. When discussing the information and stories presented in this series, ask students questions about the idea of taking action on these issues. Your students might even choose another issue to tackle and create their own series of episodes that model the structure presented in GPS: The Series.
Head over to the Global Problem Solvers: The Series website to watch the episodes and also access the teacher resources!
How will you use these videos with your students?
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