Delbarton students of Italian are currently testing a new Level Up Village language exchange web platform in a three week video exchange that focuses on the topic of climate change.
Level Up Village’s mission is to globalize the classroom and facilitate collaboration among students around the world via pioneering STEAM (STEM + Arts) enrichment courses. The organization arranges programs that connect American students with peers in other countries and, emulating the old pen pal model, encourages students to exchange ‘video letters’ with global partner students to collaborate on projects.
During week one, Delbarton students in Dan Pieraccini's AP Italian class and Mike DelGuercio's Italian 4 and Italian 5 classes were paired with co-ed junior year students in an English (as a second language) class at Polotre Fano ITC Battisti school in Fano, Italy.
Each Delbarton student recorded and shared three introductory videos -- in Italian -- about their interests, favorite holidays and more, then received and viewed their partner's English language all-about-me videos.
On November 19, during the second exchange, our students got serious and uploaded videos in which they spoke about the effects of climate change in the United States.
Our young men are enjoying the unique cultural exchange. Transformed into desk chair travelers while comfortably seated in the Gregory Room, they’re discovering that they have quite a bit in common with the Italian students. Ryan Cummings ‘20 says, “Having the capability to communicate with Italian students is a luxury we are fortunate to have. It's amazing to hear all the similarities you might have.”
Later this week, the boys will view their exchange partners’ replies about the climate situation in Italy and in Europe. In a final step, the boys will produce one last video in English: a public service announcement about what to do to combat the effects of climate change. Pieraccini says, “I imagine this will be more of a creative video and that the students will be able to have a little more fun with it.”
One participant, John Walentowicz ’21, had an especially unique experience with the innovative program. “I really enjoyed this exchange because it was a great way to connect with an Italian student and converse about different topics and ideas with her. I am fluent in Italian and - surprisingly - I got matched up with a fluent English speaker. This was great because we both recognized our talents in our foreign languages and we connected in a special way.”