In 2013, Lovett entered into a partnership with Global Online Academy (GOA). GOA is a not-for-profit consortium of 70 leading independent schools on six continents and offers Lovett students and faculty the opportunity to learn alongside peers from around the world. Between 15 and 20 Lovett students enroll in GOA courses each year.
Since fall 2016, Karey Walter, Upper School photography teacher, has taught digital photography for Global Online Academy.* Teaching in an online environment is different from teaching face-to-face, but Karey has learned that the strategies she uses in one setting can often enhance her teaching in another setting.
Somewhat counterintuitively, Karey says that last year she got to know her Global Online Academy students at a deeper level than she knew some of her Lovett students. Since then, she has deployed more of her GOA relationship-building strategies with her Lovett students. For example, all of Karey’s students now spend significant class time talking with each other about who they are and what matters to them. The students are also expected to take more responsibility for developing their own community, giving meaningful feedback to each other and supporting others who are at different stages of proficiency. The better Karey knows her students, the more she can differentiate the assignments and expectations to suit the needs and interests of each individual--something that is just as important at Lovett as with the diverse learners around the globe. Karey’s Global Online Academy students bring not only a variety of cultural vantage points, but a wide range of technical skills and background in photography.
Ultimately, Karey says, “photography is a vehicle for communicating what matters, so you have to know what matters to you and what matters in the world.” Karey’s photo students delve into current events together, spend significant time on personal written reflections, and are pushed to articulate their own stories and develop their own voices. Karey has helped all of her students broaden their network, as she invites Lovett students to participate in Skype calls with her GOA students and shares sample work across classes and timezones.
Karey eagerly took on GOA for the intellectual challenge. She admits that the learning curve has been steep but that the support she has received from GOA around curriculum design, assessment, and technology tools have made her an even better teacher--for students in Lovett’s Upper School, and for students around the world.
*Upper School computer science teacher, Dana Graham, taught a Java programming class in 2015-16.