Thursday, July 20, 2017

Teach SDGs

When I was first introduced to the Goals for a Sustainable Development by the United Nations, I was hooked. I knew this was just what my class needed for focus and purpose.  For the last four years I have started each year in the same way - asking my students what they want to learn.  


What big problems can we identify in our community or globally and what can we do to address those issues?

Here is an overview of how our projects have gone. All of these projects were designed, created, and completely driven by students. As the teacher, I only guide and give suggestions.

Year 1: 2014
Students selected Global Goal #3: Good Health and Well Being.  
We decided that our focus would be on helping children make better decisions on how to take care of their bodies and why it was important to do so.  Students decided to create a free online course in iTunes U to teach kids healthy habits.

Final Product: Health Without Borders
This can be subscribed to for free on an iOS device. As of 2017, this course has over 56,000 subscribers worldwide.

Year 2: 2015
Students selected Global Goal #4: Quality Education.
This year students partnered with a non-profit out of South Africa that was giving teachers in low income areas an iPad for their school. My students decided to develop a free multi-touch book to accompany Health Without Borders to add science education to the course.  

Final Product: Health Inside Out
This can be subscribed to for free on an iOS device or Mac. As of 2017, this book has been downloaded over 55,000 times.

Year 3: 2016
Students selected Global Goal #15: Life on Land.
This year, 7th graders partnered with the Dallas Zoo to learn more on conservation efforts to protect endangered species. Students developed a multi-touch book that highlights 8 different endangered or threatened species.  Working with experts around the world, students showcased ways we can help protect these species from extinction.

Final Product: Through Their Eyes
This can be subscribed to for free on an iOS device or Mac. As of 2017, this book has been downloaded over 10,000 times.

Year 4: 2017
This year students couldn't decide on one goal, so we covered several. Their original idea was to create educational materials to make society understand the importance of protecting our planet. We focused on climate change, pollution, recycling, and protecting our water. Students developed a multi-touch book for children to share our story of helping in our community and to encourage others to take small steps for big changes. 

Final Product: Saving Earth
This can be subscribed to for free on an iOS device or Mac. As of 2017, this book has been downloaded over 12,000 times.

So what's next? I actually have no idea! Thats the best part. Start each year with a blank slate and find out what students are passionate about. They have great ideas for improving our world, we just have to encourage them to think big. It makes my job much more fun -- I let them lead the way and I find ways to connect our content and state objectives to their interests and ideas.



2 comments:

  1. Excellent!!!!
    Is there and app on how to make all these courses and electronic books? Thanks!!

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    1. We use iBooks Author (free program on a Mac) to create the books. There are also apps such as Book Creator the allow kids to create books on their iPads. The iTunes U course was created through iTunes U Course Manager -- I had the kids create everything and then I put it in the course. Hope that helps! I would love to hear what you end up doing! :)

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