Global Scholars Program - Real World Learning
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Broward County
Support & Sustainability

Global Scholars Program

Broward’s Global Scholars initiative connects participating middle school students to other participating schools around the world. Using Internet-based educational activities, project-based learning and other instructional strategies as an elective or within a specific content area, the goal is authentic learning to develop students’ global citizenship while enhancing critical 21st century skills. We are in our fourth year of implementation with this program, with 26 participating middle schools and over 1500 students. Participation in this program is free.

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Real World Learning means creating opportunities for students to connect what they are taught in school to real-world issues and problems, and to work with other students nationally and internationally to determine solutions.Our intended outcomes for RWL include incorporating content standards while engaging students in authentic, real-world tasks that involve more than simply giving them a “scenario” that mimics a real-world situation.

Our two main goals are (1) to involve students in global learning initiatives that enable them to work with students nationally and internationally on global issues and (2) to encourage them to work collaboratively to identify solutions to these issues that can work within their communities.

Implementation: How We Did It

Global Scholars started four years ago with four participating schools as a collaboration with Global Cities, a Bloomberg Philanthropy. Each year, the number of participating middle schools grew, with 27 middle schools participating in this fourth year. The goal is to have this program in each of our 35 middle schools. Schools were able to incorporate the program in any manner that fit their schedules: (1) within a social science classroom, (2) as an elective, (3) as a club, or (4) as part of an English language arts classroom.

Global Scholars supports the following key objectives:

  • Broadening students’ local-to-global perspective by learning from peers in other cities
  • Gaining subject matter content knowledge on an issue of mutual concern
  • Equipping students to navigate a 21st century virtually-connected world
  • Augmenting digital technology proficiency
  • Promoting English language practice and literacy
  • Computers and Internet connection are required to participate in this Internet-based curriculum and access the secure, pass-coded e-classroom. The program activities are conducted in English.
  • There is no fee to take part in Global Scholars.

Program goals include: (1) enabling direct virtual communication between international classes through online discussion boards and multimedia projects; (2) giving students the technology skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century; and (3) broadening students’ perspectives on critical global issues so they can think globally and act locally.

The key factors that led to the program’s success are the ongoing training and support given to participating teachers through professional learning communities and activities between participating schools. A student showcase at the end of each school year provides evidence of the deep learning obtained and the strong student commitment and involvement in the coursework. The indicators that we designed for global student learning outcomes help us to determine how well the program is being implemented. These outcomes can be found in this brochure.

Broward has a coordinator of Global Learning, and this individual coordinates all events with Global Cities to ensure teacher readiness and student participation in the program. Students need access to computers regularly to participate in the program. Initial meetings are held with administrators so that they are aware of the needs for the program. The coordinator continues with ongoing communication with administrators during the school year to provide feedback and guidance regarding program implementation. The coordinator makes frequent visits to the schools to observe and provide feedback and support. New schools are aligned with veteran schools and new teachers within a participating school are provided a mentor.

The Innovative Learning Department oversees the Global Scholars program and provides instructional technology training and support to participating teachers. In this way, students and teachers are exposed to multiple devices including scientific probes, as well as software that can help access and compile data that aligns with the annual program goals. Software is also used by students in their final Showcase projects to demonstrate mastery of annual content and objectives.

Related Resources

Community Partners
Professional Learning

Community Partners

Global Scholars is supported by Global Cities, Inc., a Program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and is a nonprofit dedicated to connecting cities around the world and developing global competence among the next generation through this digital exchange program, which currently connects 17,000 students in 54 cities.


All curriculum areas are integrated into both programs. This year’s Global Scholars curriculum is about Nature and Our Cities, and an overview can be found here.


Monitoring student input into the e-Classroom and watching them interact with peers via video conferencing enabled us to observe engagement and impact of the lessons they were studying. Global Scholars has created the matrix of learning outcomes and indicators, and we use that to measure the success of our program implementation..

Teacher efficacy is measured through our ongoing professional learning communities, with reflections captured in our learning management system, Canvas. The increase in the number of schools and the increase in the number of teachers at participating schools is testament to the demand to offer the Global Scholars coursework as an option in our middle schools. We have annually increased the number of participating schools, teachers, and students in the program.

Professional Learning

Ongoing support must be given to participating schools, teachers, and students. There is a need for a designated person to coordinate all of the activities. Broward’s Innovative Learning team designs the professional learning strategy and includes not only support for annual curriculum integration but also support for technology integration. PLCs are used and participants are awarded in-service points.

To ensure the success of the program, a staff person from Global Scholars visits the district 2-3 times a year to work with teachers and attend the end-of-year showcase. This annual Showcase brings together community leaders, school administrators, students, and their parents to see the work that the students have done throughout the year. We are considering creating a micro-credential for the teachers who have gone through the program as additional recognition.

Support Structures

Some funding was obtained from our Equity Department to pay for the Showcase (food and location) and to fund activities (field trips and expert speakers) that related to the work being done during the school year. We enlisted an individual whose sole focus is to support teachers, manage relationships with Global Cities personnel, and oversee the growth of the programs. In addition, some schools needed access to devices that could be dedicated solely to the Global Scholars program. We submitted and were awarded the Verizon Innovative Learning grant, and five of Global Scholars schools will be receiving 1-1 iPads for students and teachers.

The Future of this Work

We are working toward having at least one Global Scholars classroom in every middle school in the District for the 2020-2021 school year.

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