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Sparking Empathy in 2019: Fellowship Opportunity for Educators

December 19, 2018

Are you looking to spark empathy with your students this school year? My friends at Empatico and Participate have a very special opportunity for educators. They have opened up the application process for the 2019 Empathy Project Fellowship.

Empatico is a free tool for teachers to facilitate connections between classrooms in different parts of the world. Teachers can use live streaming video, so students can learn about life in other countries. All of this happens while students build empathy and content knowledge.

Participate is a powerful platform where educators can take courses, connect with other professionals, and curate their own resources. You may have seen my blog post on creating Collections with Participate or on using Participate during Twitter chats. I also host my EdTech Reboot and Writing Reboot courses on their platform. 

Empathy Project Fellowship Experience

In this blog post, members of this year’s cohort took time to answer questions about their experience. If you are ready to learn more about the 2019 Empathy Project Fellowship, visit this page . First, click the enroll button which will ask you to sign in or create a free Participate account. Then, you can go to the application page which is set up as a course.

The application page has steps to follow. So you can fill out an application for the Empathy Project Fellowship. It is a three-month-long fellowship experience from Empatico and Participate for 2019. In the interview below, you’ll hear from two past participants. Brandi Miller (aka @bmilla84 on Twitter and Instagram) and Oluwaseun Kayode (aka @kayoluwaseundav on Twitter and Instagram).

What is your role in education?

Brandi Miller: I am a First Grade Teacher at Walter Caldwell Elementary School in Auburndale, Florida. I have been teaching for twelve years, all in first-grade grade. I have the amazing opportunity to teach at the same elementary school that I attended as a child.

Oluwaseun Kayode: As a second year Teach For Nigeria Fellow, I teach grade four pupils in an underserved primary school in Ota community area of Ogun State, Nigeria. Most of my pupils come from low-income backgrounds. While they trek long distances every day to get to school, they still struggle to read at their grade level. Out of 64, only about seven of them can pass exams set at their level. My goal is to help these children become academically sound and globally informed while being locally rooted. My goal is to change their current reality while presenting them an alternate possible future where they can know more and be more.

What grabbed your attention when you first heard about the Empatico cohort?

Brandi: During the 2017-2018 school year, my first-grade class embarked on a #GlobalCollaboration journey. We were able to connect with classrooms, educators, and authors from all fifty states and three different countries (Canada, Australia, and Chile). By the end of the year, we had completed over 100 collaborations. The learning that occurred and relationships that were formed through each experience confirmed my belief in the power of being a connected classroom.

Oluwaseun: First, I’m always excited when educators come together to learn from each other’s experiences. They build relationships and collaborate on projects. The Empathy Project Fellowship offered me those amazing opportunities, and it was one I will never take for granted. Second, I am so passionate about facilitating global interaction, especially for my students. The fellowship will give my kids the chance to connect with another classroom in another part of the world at least twice. I thought this would be the best gift I can give my 64 champions.

Brandi: Having used Empatico and believing in their mission to spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy, I was thrilled to learn that they were establishing a cohort for this school year and couldn’t wait to apply to be a part of it. I viewed it as an opportunity to connect and learn with others around the world and to create new learning experiences for my students.

How have you changed as an educator now that you’ve finished the program?

Oluwaseun: I have learnt so much about the power of global connections through the use of Empatico during the course of this fellowship. My classroom connected with Mrs. Wendy’s class in the United States, and it was an amazing experience for them.

Brandi: The Empatico Empathy Project Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to connect and collaborate with others all over the world. Learning with these like-minded educators sparked a curiosity within my own practice and reaffirmed my passion for having a connected classroom. The tasks throughout the program allowed me to reflect on my beliefs and inspired me to establish new goals for helping my students become global citizens.

Oluwaseun: Giving their background, they only see white kids on television or magazines, but it feels really good to be having a conversation with them. Now, I have become a proud teacher of children who became more confident ever since they connected with another classroom in the United States. Also, I have really grown my professional network. I have been able to connect with amazing educators across the world. Some of whom I have taken as mentors and learn a great deal for them.

Brandi: Additionally, I love that my class was able to meet new students and identify similarities and differences between them. They were able to virtually travel the globe while participating in learning tasks that focused on teaching them kindness and empathy. These collaborations inspired meaningful conversations and exposed my students to the world beyond our four walls. Having completed the program, I now have a renewed focus for my #GlobalCollaboation journey. I feel that I have grown as a connected educator. I am blessed to have been a part of the first cohort.

Who do you think would benefit from participating in the new cohort?

Brandi: Empatico has done a phenomenal job at establishing a platform for educators and students to connect and learn from each other. I highly recommend all educators in grades first through fifth, who have a desire to globally collaborate with other educators, apply to participate in the new cohort. This is an amazing opportunity for educators to deepen their understanding. They will realize the impact they have at inspiring change and sparking empathy among our students.

Oluwaseun: I think educators who work with children ages seven to eleven will really find this program very valuable. As they will not only be able to facilitate global connections for their pupils, they will also learn a lot on how they can create change in their classroom, school, and entire education eco-space.

Sparking Empathy in 2019 Fellowship Opportunity for Educators 4

What do you hope to do now with the knowledge you’ve gained? What will you do with the connections you made from this program?

Oluwaseun: I hope to leverage on the knowledge gained from this program by exploring the resources all over again, and also putting into practice stated key actions. As someone who is passionate about Teachers’ development, I look forward to sharing key learnings from this program with other educators in my home country.

Brandi: I am excited to take what I have learned from this program and use it to redefine my purpose for having a connected classroom. This new knowledge will have an influence on my #GlobalCollaboration journey. My hope is that the connections made from this program will lead to future collaborations as my class embarks on a mission to spread kindness and learn with others around the world.

Oluwaseun: Also, I am going to maximize the richness that the network I have been part of on this program has to offer. I look forward to these new relationships yielding amazing partnership offers and continuous collaborations on global projects.

Ready to get started? Learn more about the 2019 Empathy Project Fellowship by visiting this page to get started. Just click the enroll button on the page. It will ask you to sign in or create a free Participate account. They it will take you to the application page. This page is set up as a course and you’ll see steps to follow when you’re ready to apply!

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Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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