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Problem-Solving Educational Inequity

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Dee Lanier  
Knikole Taylor  

Using a problem-based learning activity, explore how the design-thinking process can help solve problems related to inequity in education. Participants will define and deconstruct key terms such as racism, isolationism, classism, sexism and ageism to build greater cultural competency and increase their problem-solving skills.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Curriculum/district specialists
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: A limited amount of devices are required for this session. Only one person per group (of 4) needs to have an internet enabled device. All applications used are cross-platform web-based apps for desktop and Android or iOS for mobile. Participants will need a Google account or Microsoft account in order to engage in the Flipgrid community.
Topic: Equity & inclusion
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
  • Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will gain an understanding of equity key-terms and to identify how inequity affects the culture and operations of their school communities. Utilizing an adapted design-thinking process, participants will collaborate to share a creative solution to the problem they have identified.

Participants will utilize a modified design-thinking process called Solve in Time, in order to develop and share their first "big idea" for solving an equity problem on the policy-level in their school environment. Solve in Time is a 5 step process that is facilitated by 4 question and answer cards, 1 creative solution prompt card, and a group help card called, SOS.

Participants will be expected to work in small groups and input their responses digitally on a Pear Deck interactive slide deck. Lastly, they will submit their creatively solution within the given time using Flipgrid.

Since this is a gamified/challenge-based workshop, success will be measured by working through the steps and submitting a solution and on Flipgrid and receiving direct feedback from other participants. Further, the Flipgrid topic will stay live and will be displayed at other future events for other global educators to view, be inspired, and offer feedback.


Setup and Instructions first 15 mins:
Participants are broken into small groups of 3 or 4 and asked to put away all devices, with the exception of one person per team. The person with a device is the designated researcher and note taker. Each team will randomly select one of the equity problem cards to identify the problem within their school setting that they will aim to solve.

Each team is instructed to flip over their SOS card and instructed that the SOS (Someone else, Other sources, Search online) serves as a reminder to players to collaborate and use all resources before asking for help. If assistance is still needed from the facilitator, the group can raise their SOS card. Warning! If you use it, you lose it, so use it wisely!

A 30 minute time-limit for completing all steps will be made visible on the projector for players to see. Teams will be directed through the slides and share their responses in the interactive presentation using a tool called, Pear Deck. The final slide requires each team to share their solution on a Flipgrid topic linked in the Slides. Teams are reminded to use their time wisely!
~3 min to identify and define the equity Problem. Relate the identified problem to the school setting, and summarize it in a single sentence.
~4 min to read the selected Research card and have each team member contribute an answer to the question using their personal knowledge and research skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~4 min to read the selected Understand card and have each team member answer the question using their empathy and compassion skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~4 min to select a Solve card and have each team member answer the question using imagination and critical thinking skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~15 min to select a Share card and each team should use their communication and creativity skills to collaboratively share their solution to the problem.

The final 30 mins dedicated to each group sharing their solutions and collectively voting on favorite proposed solutions and offering feedback using Flipgrid. Each team will be encouraged to create a unique hashtag per group to crowd source the further development of their ideas

Supporting research

Zaretta Hammond links neuroscience research and culturally responsive teaching and learning for students of color.
Hammond, Zaretta, and Yvette Jackson. Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Corwin, a SAGE Company, 2015.

Empathy and Learning:
"It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about."- Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-YangLahey, J. (2016, May 4). To Help Students Learn, Engage the Emotions. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from Well website: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/04/to-help-students-learn-engage-the-emotions/

Creativity and Learning:
‌A recent survey by Change the Equation asked students how they feel about different classes. Computer science came in near the top, just behind graphic arts and performing arts, but ahead of English, math, history, science, and foreign languages!
Allen School News » Search Results » change the equation. (2016). Retrieved September 17, 2019, from Washington.edu website: https://news.cs.washington.edu/?s=change+the+equation

Creativity and Memory
Fernandes, M. A. (2018). The Surprisingly Powerful Influence of Drawing on Memory - Myra A. Fernandes, Jeffrey D. Wammes, Melissa E. Meade, 2018. Retrieved September 17, 2019, from Current Directions in Psychological Science website: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0963721418755385

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Dee Lanier, Lanier Learning
Knikole Taylor, EDU Consultant

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