By Leigh Cassell, Digital Human Library
Digital Human Library and TeachSDGs are proud to announce a new partnership that will unite the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with new Digital Human Library Experts. Our partnership brings together community organizations and businesses committed to the SDGs, with K-12 teachers and students learning, responding, and acting on the SGDs in their classrooms. These relationships not only bring together education, community and business, but create authentic opportunities for students to learn with the world, not just about it.
“This initiative is designed by passionate educators committed to creating global connections for students,” says Leigh Cassell, Founder at Digital Human Library. “The opportunity to build relationships with others around a shared passion and purpose — the SDGs — will help students develop as globally compassionate and competent learners.”
Our mission at Digital Human Library (dHL) is to deliver authentic experiential learning opportunities to K-12 teachers and students, and our partnership with TeachSDGs will help us do just that. TeachSDGs be the driving force behind a new Catalogue of dHL Experts who will be available to connect with classes around each sustainable development goal. These relationships will include virtual program offerings, inquiry support, opportunities for Q&A, career talks, mentorships and more!
“Imagine students learning about SDG 13: Climate Action and connecting with students marching in the city centre of Brussels to be part of the live Climate Strike experience through live webcam video” says Dr. Jennifer Williams, Co-Founder at TeachSDGs. “Digital Human Library is helping to bring the Global Goals to life for our classrooms — allowing them to take action for and with the world.”
Geography should not be a barrier to great conversations and meaningful experiences for all students. Our partnership will leverage simple and easily available technologies to create global connections for today’s learners so students can experience the world of learning that exists beyond the walls of their classrooms. By creating opportunities for students to learn and build relationships with others, we are inspiring the generation of passionate learners and leaders.
We Need Your Help: Please Take Our Survey
In order to inform the selection of Experts who will be featured in the dHL TeachSDGs Catalogue, we need your help. Please complete our short survey to inform which SDG Experts we contact to join Digital Human Library.
dHL TeachSDGs Survey
About Digital Human Library
Digital Human Library (dHL) was founded by Leigh Cassell in 2011 to address the urban and rural gap in education by leveraging digital technologies to broaden the K-12 student experience in ways that connect them with new people, places, and ideas from around the world.
Digital Human Library creates opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to learn with the world through social innovation projects, interactive 1:1 video conferences with hundreds of Experts, engaging live streamed educational programs from around the world, and the largest collection of educational virtual tours and virtual reality on the web. dHL is a resource that provides teachers and students with unlimited access to learning partnerships and the field trip experience, anytime, anywhere.
For more information, please visit the Digital Human Library website
TeachSDGs is a global organization of volunteer educators looking to change the world. In efforts to reach the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, thousands and thousands of teachers who have taken the pledge to teach the Global Goals bring lessons of the SDGs to their students in classrooms around the world each day through awareness, advocacy, and action. TeachSDGs was started as a task force of four educators tasked by the United Nations in 2016. Today, in 2019, there are over 30,000 global educators part of the #TeachSDGs conversation.
For more information, please visit the TeachSDGs website
Contact us if you have any questions, comments or feedback!
By Global Co Lab
The future of our world lies in the hands of the younger generations, and they are ready to start taking action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and see a better, healthier world. That is why the Global Co Lab Network is now partnering with TeachSDGs to mobilize students and teachers around the world to work together to become global changemakers.
The Global Co Lab Network is a “do-tank” organization that brings generations together to exchange ideas on global change. Through carefully designed Co Labs, or small living room gatherings, we have engaged hundreds of teens, millennials, and adults in collaborative thinking on how to take action on issues facing our world.
One outcome of these Co Labs was Teens Dream, a project that has now reached teens in over 40 countries. Teens Dream holds an annual video competition, where teens create a two-minute video based on their dreams on how to achieve the SDGs. Winners of the competition are flown into D.C. each year and are connected to adult mentors with expertise in their field of interest. We then engage the teens in our Dream Hubs, which are virtual rooms focused on a specific SDG. The Dream Hubs connect youth around the world to develop specific action plans to make progress on that SDG.
So far, we have six Dream Hubs up and running, focused on SDG 2-Zero Hunger, SDG 3-Good Health & Well-Being, SDG 4-Quality Education, SDG 5-Gender Equality, SDG 12-Responsible Production & Consumption, and SDG 17-Partnerships for the Goals (focused on using art to promote SDG action).
These Dream Hubs are led by Teen Ambassadors, who receive support and guidance from their adult mentors. They hold regular virtual meetings that allow interested teens from anywhere in the world to join in, share their ideas, and start taking action. We advertise these meetings on our Teens Dream Co Lab Facebook and Instagram sites.
We will soon be unveiling a new incentives program that allows teens to earn points as they participate. By joining in meetings, recruiting friends, and taking action, they can move up through various levels and eventually earn the title of Global Co Lab Innovator and receive a certificate of participation that can go on their resumes or help with college admissions.
Working with TeachSDGs
We are excited by the enormous potential of our new partnership with TeachSDGs. Our Dream Hubs are ready to be populated by youth that are passionate and eager to start making a change in the world. The more students that join in our meetings, the greater the impact we can make on SDG progress. We are creating an important network that will not only produce action plans, but also connect young people to the mentors and resources that they need to strengthen their leadership skills and propel their future careers. We aim to give these teens an outlet to let their voices be heard and to turn their incredible ideas into tangible outcomes.
Our Dream Hubs also offer a great opportunity for interested teachers and adults working in these fields to become mentors for our teens. Our virtual platform allows for international and intergenerational connections that can be sustained long-term. We are seeking adults of all ages that can provide guidance and assistance, but are willing to step back and let the teens take the lead. Merging our existing network with TeachSDGs’ is a perfect formula to connect young people to teachers that are ready to provide the stepping stones students need to start making their dreams a reality.
So far, Teens Dream has seen inspiring successes. Our Gender Equality Dream Hub team created the International Movement for Resilience, Authenticity, & Activism (IMRAA), a female empowerment organization that has been implemented in several schools in the United States and Ghana. Our Good Health & Well-Being Dream Hub has started the first Our Minds Matter mental health awareness club on the West Coast and is working to inspire teens globally to start these clubs in schools. Our Partnerships for the Goals Dream Hub produced an hour-long art show on gun violence called Triggered, which brought together teen artists from all over the world. Our Quality Education Dream Hub led by teens from Romania, Indonesia and Trinidad are interested in how to make education more accessible and interesting. They are in need of adult mentors! There are many more stories like these in progress, and by connecting Teens Dream with TeachSDGs, there is unlimited potential to what can be achieved.
Join the Movement
The Global Co Lab welcomes you to join our network and help us engage teens worldwide in SDG action. Please visit our Teens Dream website for more information and follow us on social media. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
How can you get involved?:
Partnership announcement on the Global Co Lab website.
First and foremost, I wish to thank you. Thank you for bravely taking your solitary stand in August. Thank you for speaking so boldly to the rich and the powerful. And, above all, thank you for inspiring millions of young people to #climatestrike alongside you.
With my own students you have been held up as an example of what youth can accomplish when they raise their voices. I have even suggested that you are, at this moment, the single most important person in the world. Many – including you – may disagree with that statement, but please allow me to make the case for those who don’t yet know what we do.
Climate change is not just about worsening fires, storms and floods that seize the headlines on a daily basis. It is also about the growing number of children who spend their days pursuing water instead of education. It is about drought and malnutrition and starvation – mostly in parts of the world that are least responsible for our thickening atmosphere. It is about the “tipping point” when melting ice will release more methane than even a zero-carbon Earth can handle. It is about the scientific consensus that we are only about a decade away from crossing this line.
Despite these facts some politicians, parents, and power brokers are telling you and your followers to return to your Friday classes. To pursue change from there. To allow the “more knowledgeable” adults to continue doing their work.
Some are worried about you. Some are anxious about their jobs or their stocks. Some are willfully blind to the realities of climate change. Some are scared. But they all have one thing in common:
They’re all wrong.
Confronting injustice has long involved bold breaks from the status quo – including the breaking of rules. Your detractors, for various reasons, seek to moderate your anger and shrink your sense of personal power. Thankfully, you and the approximately 1.5 million allies who just commanded the Ides of March seem to understand your true strength and authority. And you all have every right to be furious.
I want you to know that the vast majority of educators are on your side. To teachers everywhere I wish to acknowledge the difficult position we occupy. Entrusted with children from families of all political stripes, we are expected to separate our ideologies from our instruction. While some accuse us of indoctrinating students, others will criticize us for being unsupportive. When making your own decisions, I urge you to consider climate change action not as an ideology, but as a moral imperative that speaks to the deepest levels of common humanity.
Our students also find themselves divided. One group will die from climate change, one will fight in their names, and one will be marginally better at graphing and documenting the history of this crucial moment because they missed less class time. We, the educators, should want the second group to be larger than the third.
This does not mean that we have to organize weekly strikes; our students are doing that on their own. Some, however, will look to our faces when considering whether to participate in #FridaysForFuture. Freedom of Expression allows us to smile. Our consciences want us to dance. Our school mission statements encourage us to teach citizenship and activism. Tens of thousands of scientists and political leaders have signed letters in support of this movement. And the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, signed by every country on Earth, supersede restrictive curricula. So, yes, you can teach about climate change in any subject area.
Still, some voices will seek to silence us, too. Some voices will call for threats or punishments to students and teachers alike. But to educators reading this, please know that you can be the other voices in any setting. You can echo Greta Thunberg’s assertiveness and bravery.
You, Greta, have no doubt heard teachers say that young people can change the world. Like most adults, we love to say this. In this hypocrisy vs. heroism moment, please know that your teachers are immensely proud of you. So are the 30,000+ educators who drive the global #TeachSDGs movement. We stand united behind you. And we will encourage more of our colleagues to do the same.
Thank you again. And congratulations on the Peace Prize nomination.
Ada McKim is a co-founder of @TeachSDGs and a Canadian teacher of World Issues and Law.
By Breanna Heels
In 2009, as part of my degree in International Development from McGill University, I traveled to East Africa for a field study semester. As part of our research, we had to select a Millennium Development Goal to focus on, and I chose Universal Primary Education. Going into classrooms sparked my passion for teaching, and it was from this experience, I decided to pursue a career in education.
When I began my teaching career in the same town I grew up in, I wanted to share my global experiences with my students and connect them to the world so they could see themselves within it, I used the Millennium Development Goals as a framework for my teaching and in 2015, when they became the UN Global Goals, these 17 goals became the new framework I used, and started a Think Global, Act Local project. Throughout the year, we studied the Global Goals, and as a culminating project, each student selected a UN Global Goal to think globally, and develop a local initiative to work towards that goal, to act locally.
The Global Citizen Project is an initiative that started in my classroom because I believe that every student can change the world. I want every student to be a global thinker and a changemaker.
When I saw the impact this project had on my students, and has continued to have on those students, I knew this project had to be bigger than my own classroom. The students saw themselves as global citizens, became engaged in global and local issues, and didn’t just know about them, but wanted to do something about them. To see this project in action, you can view this video by the Ontario College of Teachers or read about it here.
"Never underestimate that kids care. You can't make them care, but you can empower them to care by educating them."
I started the Global Citizen Project as a way to share the framework with teachers in a way that is accessible and ready to use. Each month, the project focuses on one of the Global Goals.
At the beginning of each month, you will receive an email with resources and teaching ideas to help guide your class in learning about that UN Global Goal and completing the monthly challenges.
Each month, your students will complete 3 challenge that works towards the UN Global Goal. The challenges provide concrete and tangible ways for students to act locally for that Goal. You can choose to complete as many of the challenges as you like, but in order to become a Global Citizen Classroom, you must complete 3 challenges each month!
My greatest lesson as a teacher has been that kids care. You can’t make them care, but you can empower them to care. If you would like to join The Global Citizen Project and empower your students a global citizens, please join here.
Breanna Heels is a teacher adventurer. As a TeachSDGs Ambassador and Experiential Learning Teacher for Bluewater District School Board in Ontario, Canada, she believes the classroom should be a microcosm of the world and delivers her curriculum through the lens of the UN Global Goals. Breanna is a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, a National Geographic Certified Educator, a Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow and recipient of the Innovation in Teaching Geography Award. Breanna has been featured by the Ontario College of Teachers, National Geographic and Canadian Geographic. Breanna is also the founder of The Global Citizen Project. Connect with Breanna on Twitter @BreannaHeels and follow The Global Citizen Project @teachtheungoals
By Estella Owoimaha-Church, #TeachSDGs Ambassador
Let me begin by stating this post is over a month past due. The tardiness of this post does not diminish my impetice to share. I figured I should complete it before 2019 hits us.
In October, I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to participate in the 5th annual Vatican Youth Symposium hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Vatican City. My invitation came from Bishop-Chancellor, Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo of the PAS and Siamak Sam Loni, Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth. I was more than happy to accept the invitation as a opportunity to represent RFK Human Rights & #TeachSDGs.
The Youth Symposium is an “annual gathering of young leaders from around the world, discussing and generating solutions for the most urgent issues of humanity...It has developed into a leading global forum for young leaders in sustainable development and an intergenerational platform for building social movements.”
This year’s theme was “Youth Leadership for Integral Human Development - Laudato Si’ and the Sustainable Development Goals” which sparked dialogue and collective action towards Sustainable Development among youth around the world. The symposium featured several tracked conversations; some on education, some related to funding, and others around technology. All of these conversations can be found here.
The invitation to participate in the youth symposium came just after my 30th birthday. Forgive me, my vanity is showing, but I was all too flattered to be considered a “youth” for probably the very last time in my career. I was made even more aware of this when I met my roommate, Bugda. Me - an older Millennial. She - a member of Generation Z and current high school senior.
When we met at check-in, I was beyond shocked to find out she was in high school. A better word is impressed; a young girl, from Turkey, traveling on her own, to the Vatican, to speak and share her project in Sustainable Development. I, of course, immediately went into teacher-mom-mode, feeling as though I needed to look after her but she proved she was more than capable within the first few minutes we were together. I had to have a mental check-in and remind myself we were there for the same reasons. Clearly, she can take care of herself. She was one of the youngest participants at the symposium and had received the very same invitation.
Student voice is so imperative to my daily practice and to this global movement for sustainability. Whenever given the chance, I seek to elevate youths’ voices and concerns. As her roomie, I had the unique fortune of capturing her story. Below are some of her responses to the questions I asked her.
EC: What was your project or reason for being invited to participate in the Youth Symposium?
BG: I went..as a UN- Habitat Youth volunteer. I was the only high school student who participated in that symposium, so it makes the event even more exciting for me. The purpose I went there was to learn and improve myself as a UN- Habitat youth volunteer for the projects I’ll organize in Turkey. My aim is to build awareness for the young generation in Turkey. I want to start a movement in Turkish schools, because young people have both energy and the motivation to improve our world in many ways but they cannot take action because of the lack of belief and I want to change that.
EC: What was your favorite part of the symposium or your biggest takeaway?
BG: The most important thing I learned from the symposium was, that we need ACTION. We have a really limited time for making sustainable changes and we are still not aware of the emergency of the situation. We have so much to do- even if we [have] done a lot. There are lots of people trying to make a better place for our future with great projects from all over the world but most of them are not sustainable, which is the most important issue. Also, I learn that those sustainable development projects need great funds -which is hard to find. So, the collaboration of organizations and the humanity is really important.
EC: Why or how do the SDGs matter for you and your generation?
BG: We have only a limited time to save our world from...complex global problems. As UN mentioned, there is only 11 years left to slow down or stop...climate change and find solutions for the 17 sustainable goals. So, I think that in such a situation our generation becomes the last hope for our world. Also, I think that -sadly-, our generation is the only generation which starts feeling the consequences of theses problems, which makes us more aware. But also we have the motivation, energy end technology for a positive change.
EC: What are your plans are for future? School? Career? Life? Continued service?
BG: I’m now a senior student in Erenkoy Isık High Schools, this year I’ll make my university applications and I want to study Global Challenges and Sustainability for my bachelors. Then do my graduate studies on Media and Communication, because I want to learn more and improve myself [on] how to solve the complex global problems in our world. I believe that learning is not enough if I cannot spread my knowledge to the world. So, my current plan is after studying Global Challenges and Sustainability, spreading my learnings through effective use of communication...to the world and starting a world changing ACTION.
See what I mean? I-M-P-R-E-S-S-E-D. My interview with Bugda really sums up how I felt during the symposium and immediately after. Millennials, in my opinion, kind-of have a bad reputation. We’re characterized as either desensitized to the point of indifference, too consumed with social media or technology that we seem catatonic, or simply too cool to care. But as I sat listening to all these beautiful people from all around the world share their stories, their work, life-long projects, labors of love, and collective humanity, I felt a swelling of pride.
For, I think the first time, I was truly proud to be a millenial and a shepard, so to speak, of Generation Z. I was reminded that I am not alone in this effort. My role in the classroom is imperative and teaching the Sustainable Development Goals a non-negotiable.
Before we parted ways, she presented me with a trinket - a beautiful, blue, glass cat - from her home country. With this gift, I had a new friend and colleague in spite of generational divides and international borders. It lives in my classroom, on my desk, as a reminder of our friendship and a manifestation of my faith. My faith - always and forever - lying within the youth I serve and our shared humanity.
The morning sessions began with a message from Monsignor Sanchez:
“You will inherit the world from your elders. Young people the world is yours, you lead us into the future...Love into action...Change the globalization of indifference into globalization of love...Don't Sacrifice dignity in the name of profit.”
Profound words to kick off dialogue about collective work and humanity in a movement toward sustainability. I listened, with the utmost pride and admiration, to youth share their challenges and success in their efforts to meet the goals. Every time someone took their turn to speak, I could not help but process the same thoughts over and over again. And that is, teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions. This was even represented in how the symposium was divided into tracks.
When my theatre students prepare their college applications, there is always an awkward conversation around their major selection. Usually, my kids are afraid of hurting my feelings when they have to break the news to me that they, indeed, won't be majoring in theatre. It’s sweet but I usually respond with, “Good!” Sometimes they are taken aback and little offended but I am able to remind them of a few things. For one, their futures are not tied to my past. They must forge their own paths. Second, their skills as artists are beyond transferable and my ultimate hope is that I have helped them become empathetic-global-collaborators who are going to act in their respective fields with compassion, tolerance, and humility.
Imagine, a future where every student at some point in their early and secondary education had a teacher who prioritized community, empathy, and shared responsibility in shaping our world for the better.
This generation is the largest generation of young people ever. More and more, young Millennials and Generation Z are looking to be active. They are launching more startups and are gaining higher education degrees. Eventually, they will make up at least 75% of the global workforce.
Consider numbers in the U.S. alone. At least 3.2 million educators in in the United States. Let’s assume each has a classroom of at least 30 pupils (that classroom size would triple for most secondary educators). That would be nearly 96 million students. And, again, that’s just here in the U.S. If every child around the globe has an educator in their life who has taken the pledge to teach sustainable development, we’d end up with a legion of more than 100 million youth who will reshape the world for good.
I am lucky because I no longer have to imagine it. I witnessed it at this symposium. Furthermore, I was inspired to keep teaching for as long as I can if it means several more generations of young leaders such as those I met in October at the Vatican; such as Budga.
So, teachers in this movement for sustainable development - TeachSDG ambassadors - we are on the right track. We have to continue to prioritize SDG 4, Quality Education, and reframe how we view our work in our respective learning spaces. While our profession lacks the respect it deserves, remember that each day you show up to work is a form of direct action in this movement. We have to empower ourselves and each other in order to sustain ourselves, as well as this movement. As countries change leadership throughout the years, teachers will most likely remain in their learning spaces regardless of who is in power.
Our students are on their way to change the world, one industry sector at a time; one global goal at a time. We are on our way to creating a lasting impact in this movement one lesson plan at a time; one student at a time; one day at a time.
Possibilities for Collaboration(s)
Below are just some of the individuals and organizations that were represented at the Vatican Youth Symposium. If we are going to be successful in the movement towards Sustainable Development then synergy will have to take form and bring our collective efforts together. We cannot continue to work in silos and isolation, which is where we teachers end up far too often.
Hugh Evans & Global Citizen
Sam Loni & SDSN Youth
Dr Anthony Annett & International Monetary Fund
Tabitha Mpamira-Kaguri & EDJA Foundation
Tomas Insúa & Global Catholic Climate Movement
Jose Maria Del Corral & Scholas
Camille Bangug & Millennium Campus Network
Yi Jun Mock & SDG Students Program
Professor Fernando Reimers & Harvard University
Amanda Abrom & Global Schools Program
Kinsu Kumar & Kailash Satyarthi Foundation
Yesika Aguilera & Tespack
Christina Myers & Omni Institute
Filippo Veglio & World Business Council on Sustainable Development
Dario Piselli & Youth Solutions Program
Facundo Lugo & La Alameda Foundation
Thomas Preiss & Common Goal
Vanessa Fajans-Turner & Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Djaffar Shalchi & Human Act
Lynn Zovighian & Nexus
Estella Owoimaha-Church was recently named a Global Teacher Prize Finalist (2017). She holds an M.A. in Education: Language Arts & Literacy from Loyola Marymount University and a B.A. in African-American Studies: Urban Education from California State University, Northridge. Estella teaches theatre in Los Angeles, helping youth to employ performing arts as a community service tool. Mrs. Church is an education consultant, as well as a reading, curriculum and pathway specialist. Though in the classroom full time, she remains active with several community organizations, including Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, training teachers in human rights and social justice education. “The arts are a transformative tool; when paired with the SDG’s, the arts can heal communities and build bridges, cultivate youth into global citizens, and usher in the SDG’s by 2030.” She is humbled and looks forward to serving her community as an #TeachSDGs & Varkey Teacher Ambassador. Connect with Estella on Twitter at @eochurch.
By Tracy Williamson
Welcome to Room D138
Room D138 at Gorham Middle School is not your average music classroom. Steel drums, guitars, buckets, and choral music lines one half of the room, while the other side houses computers, laptop charging stations, headphones, USB mics, and MIDI keyboards.
Students with varying musical backgrounds burst into this room every day, eager to create fun, dynamic music. They combine traditional instruments and voices with cutting-edge music technology through collaborative student-driven projects.
Record Deal: Collaborating on International Album
I first learned about Project S.U.S.T.A.I.N.—Students Using Soundtrap To Accomplish International Necessity – after coming across a Facebook post. Grades 6-12 technology teacher, Ben Kelly was asking music teachers to join him in creating a collaborative international album to support the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) by contributing one or more tracks. I immediately saw the bigger picture of how this project could offer a dynamic venue for students to work together regardless of time and place on a project that could have real-world implications.
Hook, line, sinker. I signed onto this exciting new project for my students.
Changing Policy, Changing Technology
Over the past 15 years, I have built a solid middle school general music curriculum that integrates efficient, high-quality student technology use. Through a one-to-one device partnership with the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, each student was issued a MacBook loaded with GarageBand, a digital audio workstation, which previously formed the cornerstone of my technology-based music curriculum.
I learned a valuable lesson last school year—the technology we use in schools can change quickly at the whim of the school budget.
In 2016, we introduced the use of Chromebooks, a change that led me to search for a new Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), a platform that allows users to create music electronically that would offer even more flexibility. That’s when I discovered Soundtrap, the first-of-its-kind web-based, cross-platform, collaborative music-recording studio, which would allow me to continue teaching my curriculum across multiple devices.
Best Laid Plans
By September 2017, I had a group of 7th- and 8th-grade students signed onto Project S.U.S.T.A.I.N. Each brought a variety of different musical interests that ranged from opera training, a passion for pop singing, virtual instrument experience, and electronic composition.
During our first meeting, students were introduced to the Sustainable Development Goals that the United Nations has set forth as a call to action for all countries to strive to improve the overall health of our people and planet.
Students starting by using Google Classroom to upload songwriting resources, gather information on the SDGs, brainstorming lyrics, and creating a chart in which they identified personal strengths that each would bring to the project. By the time we completed these steps, they had created three Soundtrap project templates in which all students were collaborators and were ready to start creating! Or, so we thought.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
Like many new projects, we did not get through it without our share of challenges. In fact, by the beginning of December the students had accomplished very little. Despite having a group of extremely talented and passionate music students, they were having trouble committing time to the project outside of school.
The solution came in the form of designating a 20-minute block during the school day as a regular weekly meeting period, which we later identified as the missing step needed for the project to truly take off. During this time, the students decided to focus their efforts on writing a single song. After many discussions and brainstorming sessions to define the goal of the project—and what people can do to create more efficient and cost-effective energy—they began writing lyrics and outlining the form of the song.
Working in Sync
Once they were ready to start recording, I carved out a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon for everyone to meet. They produced the music using MIDI keyboards, headset microphones, and other resources. We began with the students meeting together to coordinate their musical goals, and then splitting off into separate spaces to work.
By leveraging Soundtrap’s collaborative workspace and text chat capabilities, the students were able to work in separate groups, each devoted to recording distinct sections of the track at the same time. While some recorded melodies, others worked on bass guitar parts, with a third group developing chords and MIDI string sounds. Every time a student saved his or her work, the others received a notification and were able to sync their parts together. Their overall progress was monitored on a big screen and sound system in the music room. By May, just five months after implementing planning meetings, the students had successfully completed their song!
Throughout the project, students were creative, collaborative, and resourceful, as they discovered a variety of ways to use Soundtrap and the other digital tools at their disposal. Moving forward, I plan to use the lessons we learned through this process to inform my work with this year’s students. For those teachers who are interested in joining me on this journey, here are some strategies for success:
My students were thrilled when their song was included on Ben Kelly’s Project S.U.S.T.A.I.N. album. They also proudly presented their work at a district-level Gifted and Talented Visual and Performing Arts showcase in early May.
Indeed, this EdTech-driven project proved to be a highly engaging way to motivate students to not only improve their music creation skills but also connect their work to important global issues that resonate far beyond the walls of the school.
About Tracy Williamson
Tracy Wheeler Williamson is General Music Teacher, Choral Director, and Steel Band Director at Gorham Middle School in Gorham, Maine. She is an Apple certified teacher, certified Soundtrap Educator and Expert and is working on her Google Educator certification. Tracy holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from Boston University and a M.M. in Music Education and Flute Performance from Boston Conservatory. Connect with Tracy on Twitter @GorhamMS_Music.
By Jacob Sule, #TeachSDGs Ambassador
This summary captures a one day programme, interactive dialogue at the workshop on Educating and Activating Children for SDGs in Nigeria which took place on the 8th of November, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The event brought together some government chief officers from the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs, delegates from the Federal Ministry of Education, Universal Basic Education Commission, National Union of Teachers, National Teachers Institute, Civil societies and Non- profit organizations, Youths and Educators from various states in Nigeria.
The workshop began with opening remarks by World Largest Lesson Director, Alison Bellwood alongside Stephanie Mason, Global partnership manager, the representative of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs in Nigeria, and continued with brief remarks from the Federal Ministry of Education, British Council representative, UNICEF, non-profits organizations, and youth leaders. It concluded with a set of presentations from other international agencies working on the SDGs in Nigeria.
Session 1: Welcome and Opening Statements
Opening the workshop, World Largest Lesson’ Director Alison Bellwood highlighted the need to develop and engage children in Nigeria to develop innovative learning tools and inspire citizens to take action around the Global Goals. Also, a focus was presented to propose and discuss a collaborative effort to deliver a week of SDG learning across Nigeria in 2019 during which all children in upper primary and lower secondary school take part in SDGs learning activities.
Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs represented by Dr. Bala Yunusa made his presentation on the progress, efforts on data harmonization, and national collaboration with all stakeholders working around the Global Goals in order to create citizen engagement in the implementation of the SDGs Targets. The office has produced the SDGs in major Nigerian Languages which ready for launch. Several educational materials and activities have also been created around the goals and made available for taking action.
Representative from the Federal Ministry of Education underscored the growing needs and engagement of teachers in ensuring that they are well exposed to the SDGs Goals and are working around the goals with designed curriculum.
Session 2: Interactive Sessions
Delegates identified barriers to success and generated solutions to the 2019 SDG Week learning in Nigeria, amongst the delegates who made presentations during the session was Sule Jacob, TeachSDGs Ambassador in Nigeria. He highlighted several barriers such as lack of political will by government, difference in states educational policies, insecurity challenges, corruption, and poor funding. He however pitched some solutions which included proper sensitization and awareness about the Global Goals through the use of mass media and social media, steering committee to include private actors, civil societies and government officials to create synergy, adequate incentives for volunteers, favourable government policies and stability of government due to the forthcoming general election in February 2019.
Proposed dates were identified for the launch of the SDG week in Nigeria; tentatively October 2019 was unanimously agreed because school activities are less demanding and students will not be preparing for any sort of examination within this time.
Session 3: Plan for Leadership and Co-ordination
There were robust discussions and dialogue between the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs and Federal Ministry of Education with respect to leadership and co-ordination of the SDG week in 2019. Various organizations made fantastic submissions as to the need to having a clear cut leadership void of politicking so as to achieve the desired results.
Session 4: Closing Remarks
Stephanie Mason, Global Partnership Manager, World Largest Lesson conveyed her gratitude to all participants. She extended her thanks to the Government of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Education, and stakeholders for their efforts in promoting the SDG; she expressed her satisfaction with the various youth advocacies and congratulated participants on the extensive networking that had taken place which she hoped would continue going forward.
This summary was presented by TeachSDGs Ambassador in Nigeria - Sule Jacob.
By Tobias Simonsen
In Denmark, less than 20% of the Danes are aware that the Sustainable Development Goals exist, although Denmark is ranked as second-best country to implement the SDGs according to the “SDG Index and Dashboards report 2018."
Danish companies have started to recognize the benefits they can achieve by working with the SDGs in ways such as branding their products through SDGs, executing assessment of the company with SDGs as framework, and using the SDGs as tool to enhance well-being and good working environment among the employees.
Danish politicians and educational institutions are also doing great work in creating the best possible frames for more people learning about the SDGs through policies and formal learning. The Danish civil society are also taking great responsibility in mobilizing citizens through awareness campaigns and Global Goals activity materials.
But, what about the huge part of the population who are not organized in civil society organizations, who are too old to have the privilege of being taught about the SDGs in school, or who are not working in the departments where the companies are using the Global Goals in the strategic decisions?
Well, as it is now, the starting point is building awareness about the SDGs.
So, what can be done to reach a wider part of the population? Social Entrepreneurship is a method, which engages and mobilizes communities. Most people can spot an issue in their local communities, but fewer people have the skills and resources to transform issues into actions.
In Tunisia, Amine has mobilized his local community to act against climate issues and for good working environments in the local school – through the method leading by example. Amine and his scout group managed to not only fulfill an extraordinary cleaning and renewing project, but they succeeded at the same time making it a common cause for the community.
Social Entrepreneurship requires, that the people with knowledge and skills, are leading the way for the rest of the local societies – and this is why the Global Goals is such an extraordinary tool for sustainable development.
The SDGs create a common language, which help us understand each other – whether it is policies, company’s business plans, or missions of civil society organizations - the common language allows us to mobilize and engage people who are not necessarily in touch with organizations or other institutions who are dealing with the SDGs – and are at the same time helping organizations to establish valuable partnerships for the goals.
We can build the world we want to be part of – and, as you and I have the privilege of knowing the SDGs, we have a huge responsibility of reaching more people by informing and acting.
The big question is now, how will you build the world you want to be a part of?
Tobias Simonsen is Board Member for one of Denmark's biggest youth organizations - the scout organization KFUM-Spejderne i Danmark Tobias is holding a Master’s Degree in Organisation and Strategy from Aalborg University, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics from the same university. Tobias has worked with sustainable development in the Trade Council at the Royal Danish Embassy in India, with business models for scout centres in Tunisia and assisted a PhD project about Danish and German minorities during his time at Hamburg University. You can connect with Tobias on Twitter at @SimonseTobias.
By Er. Anant Bhaskar Garg, Director,
HaritaDhara Research Development and Education Foundation, Dehradun, India
Water is ‘Elixir of Life’ for us and our mother Earth. Sustainable Development means development having sufficient natural resources for our future generations. Thus, United Nations (UN) with 193 Countries of the world launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These global goals form the Agenda 2030 in which Goal 6 is on Clean Water and Sanitation and other Goals 13, 14, and 15 are interlinked for water. As per report from World Resources Institute, there will be serious water scarcity problem in 2030.
Fifty four percent of the population is living in high and extremely high water stress in India. Therefore, we need methods, awareness about water conservation, judicious usage, quality, and harvesting. We are doing capacity building among school, college students, and community members through workshops, using games for learning and better understanding.
Water harvesting is the way to conserve water in the hilly areas. The information revealed that region has three areas as per water availability:
1. Areas having perennial water sources
2. Area having seasonal water sources
3. Rain-fed areas totally dependent on rains
Three case studies describing water conservation methods in different hilly regions of the India:
1. Bamboo drip irrigation in North-Eastern Himalaya One of the seven northeastern states Meghalaya in India use an ingenious system of tapping of stream and spring water by using bamboo pipes to irrigate plantations. It is so perfected that about 18-20 liters of water entering the bamboo pipe system per minute gets transported over several 100 meters and finally gets reduced to 20-80 drops per minute at the site of the plant. The tribal farmers of Khasi and Jaintia hills use the 200-year-old system. Bamboo pipes are used to divert perennial springs on the hilltops to the lower reaches by gravity. The channel sections made of bamboo divert and convey water to the plot site where it is distributed without leakage into branches. Water is dropped near the roots of the plant through manipulating the intake pipe positions to conserve water.
2. Spiti’s Kul irrigation - water from glacier to village of Trans Himalaya This area of Himachal Pradesh is a cold desert, but surprisingly agriculture is its mainstay. Villages in the Spiti subdivision are located between 3,000 m and 4,000 m, which mean they are snowbound six months a year. The crucial portion of a kul is its head at the glacier, which is to be tapped. The head must be kept free of debris, and so the kul is lined with stones to prevent clogging and seepage. In the village, the kul leads to a circular tank from which the flow of water can be regulated. Water from the kul is collected through the night and released into the exit channel in the morning. The kul system succeeds because Spiti residents mutually cooperate and share (for details please visit www.hrdef.org and see this video https://youtu.be/tL8J7ziefOo?t=95).
3. Uttarakhand’s Naulas, Guhls – water for domestic, irrigation in Central Himalaya This region is now facing problems in the storage of sufficient water, especially during summers, for drinking and irrigation purposes. Majority of the people are dependent on the local sources of water (dharas- springs). Therefore, revival of indigenous technology for rainwater harvesting, aquifer recharge, judicious use of water, and quality of water is needed in this region. Traditional methods such as naulas, guhls need to be rejuvenated for water conservation and solving scarcity problem of India.
Workshops and Games
HaritaDhara Research Development and Education Foundation (HRDEF) organized workshops on Water conservation, Rainwater Harvesting and Environment for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 13, 14, 15 time-to-times. Students of GyanDhara Opportunities for All with Learning (GOAL) program learned about water conservation, rainwater harvesting through a detailed session by Dr. Manisha Agarwal.
They performed practical sessions on rainwater harvesting, understood water conversation methods, and importance of water. Students from GOAL program learned about SDGs, water management, and played the game “Water Roll” designed by Sustainability Centre, Arizona State University (ASU), USA.
GyanDhara students participated in the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) –DHI Eco Challenge 2017 international online serious game competition on water resources management for the river basin and sustainable development. Students from 20 countries are participating and this game is helpful to learn about water management, conservation, its usages, and SDG Goal 6.
India has traditionally been a country of talabs, kuans, johads, baoris and dhara, many of which are on the brink of extinction. Reviving ancient Indian water management traditional knowledge in hilly region will be beneficial for local people and can reduce water scarcity. Taking recourse to traditional water harvesting systems with protection of contamination of natural water sources are measures for safe and sustainable water for future.
Er. Anant Bhaskar Garg, Director, HRDEF, Engineer, Educator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) with 22 years of experience in various capacities in academia and industries based at Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Published two books, 48 papers in Intl. Journals, Seminars, 2 chapters in Springer’s book, Invited Speaker at 98th Indian Science Congress, presented at TECH 2017, UNESCO MGIEP, member of Professional Societies IEI, ACM, CSI, ISCA, IETE, ISTE. Senior Member award (2011) of Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), USA, and Honorary Coordinator (North India) of Indo- European Systems Usability Partnership (IESUP) 2003-04 to create awareness about HCI in India. Organized various seminars, faculty and student development programs and learned best practices on education, environment through visiting Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, USA. Involved in community services for computer, environment awareness, skills development and passionate about research, teaching and developing new ways of learning as having cognition and consciousness background. Connect with HRDEF on Twitter at @HRDEFIndia.
By Ana López
Colombia was my inspiration to become a teacher. I was born and raised in a beautiful country that reveals extraordinary natural diversity and social beauty, but also discloses a history marked by inequality, violence and indifference.
From my childhood, my education, and my professional background, I have had the opportunity to witness and be inspired by the examples of many courageous people willing to learn and collaborate with other's communities to meet challenges that affect our shared humanity. Their perseverance and commitment cultivated my desire to advocate for positive change by becoming a teacher.
My classroom and school provide the opportunity for me to inspire and reveal the interconnection between learning and the construction of a safer and more sustainable and equitable society for all. To do so, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals have become the framework for structuring units of inquiry in which I connect the school curriculum and the North Carolina Standards with the Global Goals. Each of these units aim to answer the question: What can we do to make the world a better place to live by 2030? These units of inquiry also serve as the basis for constant reviews of our actions and their impact, they promote reflection, informed decision-making, initiative, and creative solutions that benefit us all.
This approach has allowed my first-grade students to experience firsthand the power of education which does not just happen inside the classroom, but it goes beyond it. It has demonstrated that regardless of their young age, background, or the language of instruction, they can lead the change for a better present and more hopeful future.
For one unit of inquiry named “Building Bridges," which mainly focused on the first six global goals, students learned about the essential elements of a community; children’s rights, needs and wants, causes and consequences of poverty, and how this issue affects communities in the world. As a closure of this unit, students graphed what families needed the most and campaigned to invite close neighborhoods to donate needed items to our local woman’s center.
Next, students learned about the layers of the Earth, rocks and natural resources and they explored the world-wide use of plastics. They represented in fractions the amount of resources needed to make t-shirts, toys and paper among other objects.
My class joined the movement: “No Plastic Straws” and created an herb garden using plastic recycled milk containers from school.
To learn about the role we play in the construction of a more equitable and inclusive society, students worked on the unit: “We are all Equal because We are all Different” which main focus was on goals 10, 16, and 17. Students started by identifying the differences and similarities among each other. Then, through a virtual exchange with a class in Colombia, students were able to appreciate what they have in common as well as value cultural differences.
Based on their knowledge about human rights, students identified the difference between equality and equity through a photograph analysis activity and by reading pieces of news concerning this problem.
From these learning experiences, students recognized the importance of adopting an attitude of kindness and service to others especially towards those who need it the most. To conclude this unit, students participated in a race with children with disabilities and held a Food Diversity Fair to highlight the cultural backgrounds within the class.
The benefits of implementing the global goals in the classroom has been very rewarding. This has been reflected by my own students taking initiative to create projects which have had a positive impact in the community.
Liliana carried out her own summer project of growing tomato plants and selling them for donations at their moving garage sale. She grew 36 tomato plants and pumpkins and 4 pots of flowers. She gave all proceeds to the World Food Program.
Alana, for her part, after learning about the water crisis in Flint, visited the city to learn more about this issue and to find a way to help. During their visit, they learned about the Whaley Children Center and the lack of water for the kids who reside there. Alana’s family invited the community to donate money or water. They raised $130 and 48 cases of water were donated.
For further information, visit the Web: https://nc02213593.schoolwires.net/Domain/942
or contact me by email: email@example.com or on Twitter: @Analopez849
Ana López is from Bogotá, Colombia. Ana came to the United States with the Participate teaching exchange program. She has been working at Carolina Forest International Elementary in Jacksonville, NC as a self-contained teacher in a first-grade Spanish full immersion program. She strongly believes education is not covering a wide range of isolated content expected to be recited by heart; it is an instrument of social, economic, scientific and political change especially today, given the monumental global social and environmental challenges that the world is facing and confront each and every one of us.
TeachSDGs Team & Contributors