|Fort Saskatchewan teacher Scott Hebert is the only Canadian named as a top-50 finalist for the 2020 Global Teacher Prize.
An Alberta teacher’s unique approach has earned him a coveted spot as a top-50 finalist for the 2020 Global Teacher Prize.
Scott Hebert, a Grade 8 sciences and technologies teacher at St. John Paul II Catholic School in Fort Saskatchewan, has been teaching his students using the concept of gamification, which uses game design elements in non-game environments.
Hebert adapted his lesson plans so that students pose as adventurers who are tracking down the Minotaur King, who has ransacked the kingdom. Along the way, the students encounter different obstacles and people they have to work with to continue their adventure.
Valued at $1 million U.S., the Global Teacher Prize is presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.
“I was encouraged to apply by some colleagues via Twitter,” Hebert said. “I started the process in September and it was quite extensive. Once that was done, it was a waiting game. I still remember on Dec. 21 I got an email that I made the next round.”
Hebert said he found it difficult to believe when he was notified that he was among the top 50 finalists.
“I don’t know how to put it into words, to be quite honest, but when I try to, the words validation and disbelief come to mind,” he said. “Validation because when I first began using gamification, I faced a lot of criticism online about its validity, and people challenged me a lot. I almost gave up on it, but it was all about my students who were showing amazing growth and success, so I kept on with it.”
In 2013, Hebert was awarded the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2015, his program was selected as the Best Gamification in Education Project globally by the World Gamification Congress.
“The thing I enjoy most about teaching is the interaction with the students. Even though you sometimes teach the same lesson multiple times a day, students make each lesson, and day, dynamic and exciting,” Hebert said. “The way they get excited about some things and captivated by others, to see them develop into creative problem solvers and leaders, those ‘aha’ moments when it all comes together— I just love it.”
Out of 12,000 applicants, Hebert is the only Canadian teacher selected as a finalist. The winner will be announced later this year. ❚