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Student Voice and Problem-Solving Utilizing the Sustainable Development Goals

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 120A

Participate and share: Interactive session
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English Department Chair & Consultant
District 207/ Education Unfiltered
@Sawsan Jaber
Sawsan Jaber, Ph.D., NBCT, is a global educator, presenter, equity strategist, curriculum designer and keynote speaker of 20+ years. She has held a variety of education leadership positions in the U.S. and abroad. She’s currently a high school English teacher and a district equity leader at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois. Jaber founded Education Unfiltered Consulting and works with schools nationally and internationally. She completed her doctorate in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on inclusion and belonging for students from marginalized communities. She was awarded the Cook County Teacher of the year in 2023, the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) Teacher of the Year in 2022, and has been nominated as the 2023 Illinois Teacher of the Year and for the ISTE 20 to Watch Award for 2023. She’s a member of the board of directors for the Our Voice Alliance (OVA), which amplifies the voices of teachers of color to create more equity for students of color. She’s also one of the founders of the Arab American Education Network (AAEN) and is an ISTE Community Leader. Jaber is a National Board Certified Teacher and focuses much of her research on engaging students in equity work and advocating for Arab and Muslim students. Among other projects, she is currently working on national and international equity-centered projects with Google and the National Board Association. Jaber is a Pulitzer Teacher fellow and a WAMS fellow. She has been featured at several conferences and on many podcasts, and has written for a host of blogs, journals and newsletters with the goal of helping educators empower students to work toward global equity and justice. Jaber has published several scholarly works and is the co-author of Navigating Precarity in Educational Contexts: Reflection, Pedagogy, and Activism for Change. She’s passionate about her work as an activist scholar and co-conspirator for justice alongside her students. Jaber says her perspective as the daughter of refugees from Deir Yasin, Palestine, influences her work.
Education Coach | Experience Designer
Samsung Education | Lanier Learning
Dee Lanier is a life-long educator who is extremely passionate about issues of equity and inquiry-based learning. A career educator, Dee has facilitated racial equity and culturally responsive professional development globally through the lens of design thinking. Dee holds Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Sociology with special interests in education, race relations, and inequity. Dee is an award-winning presenter, author of Demarginalizing Design, TEDx Speaker, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, and Google Certified Coach. Dee is also the creator of the design thinking educational activities, Solve in Time!®, and Maker Kitchen™ and is the co-host of the Liberated Educator podcast.
Learning Experience Designer
Clarity Innovations
ISTE Certified Educator
Adam is an educator who is passionate about education in all its forms and has extensive experience in teaching, professional learning, and the use of technology to enhance learning experiences. He has facilitated professional learning on a variety of topics, including equity, personalized learning, and universal design for learning, and has developed professional learning pathways, trained coaches, and created blended courses. Adam has also received several grants for his work on pollinator habitat gardens, exploring communities through a geographic lens, and developing anti-racist and culturally responsive curriculum.

Session description

School leaders, curriculum designers and classroom instructors will interact with a problem-solving process and the sustainable global goals in order to propose solutions to local, regional and global challenges.

Purpose & objective

The facilitators will share a variety of strategies that enable teachers to give power back to students in the form of building tools for advocacy work and engagement in authentic real world learning experiences.

Educators will replicate a design thinking process that students use to diverge into problem identification and converge to creatively share their solutions.

Educators will produce and share solutions as written products, drawings, video, or audio recordings, in order to make them memorable and actionable.

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Setup and Instructions first 10 mins:
Each participant familiarizes themselves with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are given a short survey to identify the SDG most relevant to their students. Afterwards, small groups are formed for collaborative activity choosing from the top six SDGs:

A 20 minute time-limit for completing all steps will be made visible on the projector for players to see. People will be directed through the slides to respond to each question on the cards either analog or digitally. The final slide requires each person to share their solution in the Pear Deck or on social media. People are reminded to use their time wisely!
~2 min to identify and define the Problem. Relate the identified problem to the student experience, and summarize it in a single sentence.
~2 min to read the selected Research card and summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~3 min to read the selected Understand card and answer the question using their empathy and compassion skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~3 min to select a Solve card and answer the question using imagination and critical thinking skills. Summarize thoughts in the space provided.
~10 min to select a Share card and use their communication and creativity skills to collaboratively share their solution to the problem.

The remaining time is dedicated to group discussion on how to combine ideas and begin planning to put solutions into action!

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Supporting research

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:

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 website:

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:

(Banks, 2014; Paris, 2017; Ladson-Billings, 2015; Ferrans & Selman. 2017, Safir, 2020; German, 2022; Mohammed, 2020)

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Session specifications

Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level:
Skill level:
Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Presentation materials will be navigated with interactive slides (either Pear Deck or Nearpod) which will require educators to login with a Google or Microsoft account. Additionally, participants will use their devices for research and optional use of creative apps.
Subject area:
Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards:
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 develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session