December 7, 2011                                                                                              

DSBN Educator Experiments with Success  

Brad works with students at Grand Ave. Public SchoolFor Brad Digweed, teaching science is all about helping students to ask good questions.

But recently, Digweed found himself as the answer to a good question when the staff at Smarter Science asked themselves who would be deserving of the organization’s 2011 Advanced Technology Educator’s Award.

“Mr. Digweed was selected for his outstanding contributions and achievements in the development of inquiry-based science education in Ontario,” Smarter Science program director Mike Newnham wrote in a letter to the Board.

An Instructional Coach with over a decade worth of teaching experience at the DSBN, Digweed is a big believer in the inquiry-based model of teaching science. “In this process, students develop their own questions, design their own experiments and test their hypotheses. With this method, students become much more engaged in their learning and retain more knowledge,” said Digweed.

As part of his classroom work, Digweed was one of the first teachers to introduce remote data-sensing probes in elementary schools. “This technology allows students to collect a wide range of authentic data. The probes can collect temperature and pressure readings, display the amount of dissolved oxygen in liquids, measure heart rates and lung capacity. Students really enjoy working with this technology, which closely mirrors what they will experience in the real world,” added Digweed.

Smarter Science also recognized Brad’s work with the Niagara Regional Science Fair committee and the two inquiry science camps he ran this past summer at Brock University. The camps taught students fundamental research skills while allowing them to have fun with science.

For being named the winner of the Advanced Technology Educators Award, Brad received a plaque and cash prize to be used for the purchase of inquiry-based science materials.

Smarter Science is a framework for teaching and learning science in Grades 1-12. It was launched as a provincial initiative in 2009, with the support of the Ministry of Research and Innovation.