About Up to Global


Who We Are

Up to Global is a French non-profit founded in 2017 by Olivier Berton, a history-social science teacher with fourteen years’ experience in international schools (Tunisia, Kenya, Canada, US) and who now lives near Montpellier, France.

We are currently leading a pilot program in the US and in France in partnership with Réseau Canopé (French public institution in charge of contributing to the development of educational technologies). During that period, our program is completely free for all schools (public or private) willing to participate.

How It Started

It all started with the observation that there is currently no easy way for teachers to virtually connect their classes with guest speakers. Yet, organizing such videoconferences can be sometimes challenging. First, it is time-consuming as it requires a lot of preparation work, while teachers’ workload remains heavy. Secondly, it is not obvious to know where to search and how to find a speaker that is willing to volunteer his/her time and is both qualified to speak on a certain topic and available during class time (it can be even more complicated when setting up a conference with international speakers, considering the time difference).

Our Goals

  • Support teachers in developing global competency education, including sustainability literacy, citizenship education, cultural diversity awareness, and history teaching.
  • Contribute to expand the classroom walls by allowing students to discuss directly with field experts and thus by bridging the gap between academic knowledge and real-world experience.
  • Encouraging students’ global awareness by providing opportunities for them to interact with speakers from different countries and, in doing so, to learn about other cultures and global challenges.
  • Inspire students by exposing them to “positive” career opportunities, in particular in the fields of social entrepreneurship, science, and technology.
  • Reduce educational inequalities by making possible for schools located in low-income or rural areas—who have narrowed access to travel and in-person meeting opportunities compared to urban and privileged schools—to “invite” guest speakers into the classroom, when it would be otherwise physically or financially impossible.

Our Topics

Videoconference topics are globally-focused and are related to four different themes:

  • Education for Sustainable Development: Affordable and Clean Energy; Biodiversity Conservation and Management; Clean Water and Sanitation; Climate Action; Global Education; Global Health; Ocean and Coastal Sustainability; Reducing Poverty; Responsible Consumption and Circular Economy; Risk Prevention and Adaptation; Sustainable Cities and Housing; Sustainable Food and Agriculture; Tech for Good.
  • Global Citizenship Education: Democracy and Civic Rights; Digital Literacy and Citizenship; Fighting Discriminations; Global Gender Equality; Global Human Rights; Global Migrations; Global Peace; Justice and Institutions; Religious Diversity and Coexistence.
  • Arts and Cultural Education: Cultural Diversity; History of Art; Arts for Change; Heritage Sites and Architecture; Visual Arts; Musical Arts; Language Arts.
  • History Education: Prehistory; Ancient History; Medieval History; Early Modern History; Late Modern History.

These topics are inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 par the UN General Assembly.

Who Is It For?

Our videoconferences can be of interest to grade 4–12 teachers in multiple subjects: History-Social Studies, Foreign Languages, Science, Technology, Arts, and English Language Arts. Groups of teachers can also be interested in organizing a videoconference as part of a cross-curricular project.

Pedagogical Ressources

On every speaker’s profile page, we provide teachers with pedagogical resources that can help them prepare their students for the videoconference:

  • Speaker’s description
  • List of possible learning goals
  • Videoconference guidelines (PDF document with instructions to prepare videoconferences)

Practicing Foreign Languages

Depending on each speaker, videoconferences can be in English or in a foreign language: mainly French, but also Spanish, German, and Arabic.

Students must have at least an intermediate level of proficiency in a foreign language to make the most of the experience. When requesting to book a videoconference, it is possible to select more than one language, so that the students can use alternately their first language and a foreign language.

Is It Aligned on the CCSS?

The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects require to develop students’ abilities to think critically and solve problems that arise in everyday life and society. By leaving room for teachers to determine what additional topics should be addressed to achieve these goals, they support the inclusion of perspectives from all around the world and represent a real opportunity to teach more globally.

Videoconference Format

Each videoconference lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. It consists in an interactive Q&A interview between a class and a speaker (it is not a lecture). So students need to have studied in advance the topic that will be discussed during the interview; the videoconference can be integrated into teachers’ planning as a case study within a disciplinary or interdisciplinary context.

Teachers need to prepare their students to have productive conversations with their speaker; for this reason, we ask them to have their students draft a list of questions, which will be asked during the interview.

Speakers have the possibility to share documents on screen.

Videoconference Follow-up

After the videoconference, we send teachers a follow-up email, asking them to evaluate the session under the following criteria: technology performance, students’ motivation, and learning outcomes. All evaluations are for our internal use only and are kept completely confidential (we don’t share them with the speakers).

How Many Can Participate?

Each videoconference is organized between a speaker and one class only, which makes it possible for students to participate in a way that is truly interactive; moreover, it allows the speaker to adapt to the specific needs of the class.

Note that it is possible for teachers within the same school to combine their classes to participate in a videoconference.

The number of participants for each videoconference is limited to 50 students. However, if possible, we recommend to keep that number below 30 students to allow all of them to be active during the interview.

Student/Teacher Privacy Policy

Videoconferences are not recorded; they remain confidential and hence ensure student data privacy.

All data that teachers provide is encrypted by SSL protocol to secure authentication and protect privacy. The information we ask is to help us prepare your videoconference and remain confidential. We only share with selected speakers the following information: students’ language and grade level, subject, number of participants, teacher’s name. We don’t share your email address.

Videoconferencing Equipment

  • Computer (desktop, laptop, or tablet) with built-in camera and microphone or connected to an external webcam and/or microphone
  • Video projection equipment (projector w/ projector screen, interactive whiteboard, or television)
  • Speakers: either built-in speakers or external speakers connected to the projection equipment (or to the computer)
  • Internet connection (wireless or Ethernet)

We recommend that teachers contact their school’s technology staff to help them with the technical aspect of the videoconference.

Administrative Considerations

Depending on schools, digital speakers may be treated like outside guest experts that are invited into the classroom. In this case, teachers might have to follow some procedure before the videoconference so that speakers are allowed to present in front of their students. We recommend that they check with their school’s administrative staff in this regard.

Videoconferencing Applications

Videoconference interviews are conducted via Skype or Google Hangouts; teachers have the option to use either one they prefer. That means they need to already have an account with Skype or Gmail—or set up one.

Booking a Videoconference

When a teacher requests to book a videoconference, he/she provides at least three weekly time slots when he/she and his/her class are available. Then the speaker confirms the exact date and time of the videoconference according to the time slots provided by the teacher and his/her own preferences. The videoconference is scheduled within one to two months after the booking request.

The reason for this waiting period is that our speakers are very busy because of their work; they need to be informed about a videoconference request well in advance so that they can make themselves available during a teacher’s time slot. We encourage teachers to take in account that 1-to-2-month period to adjust the date of their booking request according to their annual teaching plan.

Our Partner Speakers

Our speakers are associations, nonprofits, NGOs, social entreprises, academics, and artists, whose high level of expertise/experience in their field of work or study make them qualified to participate in our videoconferences. They are all volunteers and thus are not paid for their participation.

We contact potential speakers and select those who meet our requirements in terms of relevance, qualification, and neutrality (we are particularly attentive to avoid any risk of political, religious, or moral bias).

Each speaker commits to participate in one videoconference per school trimester—or more if he/she wishes so. If a speaker has already participated in a videoconference during the trimester, his/her profile page may mention he/she is “unavailable” until the next trimester.

We plan to gradually grow our number of speakers, so don’t hesitate to visit regularly our website to find new ones.

Our Institutional Partners

Up to Global is currently working on long-term partnerships with various offices and institutions under the supervision of the French Ministry of Education:

  • French Office for Technology Integration in Education (DNE) at the French Ministry of Education
  • Regional Education Authority of Montpellier
  • Réseau Canopé (French public institution in charge of contributing to the development of information and communication technologies in education)
  • Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research in Teaching, Education, and Training (LIRDEF) of Montpellier universities (University of Montpellier and Paul Valéry University of Montpellier)