Archived — Todd Ablett

Year: 2010-2011 – Province: British Columbia

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Todd Ablett

Gladstone Secondary School
4105 Gladstone Street
Vancouver, BC V5N 4Z2

Principal: Kevin Land
School Tel.: 604–713–8288
School Fax: 604–713–8287
School Email:
School Website:

Video Profile

Subjects and grades taught: Engineering for grades 11/12, Electronics for grades 9/12, Technology for grade 8 and Drafting for grades 10/12

The lights still burn brightly on a soggy November evening in Todd Ablett's robotics shop. About two dozen students are hard at work sharing ideas to optimize their robot's performance. And it's not hard to understand why; the minute students enter the shop, they know they're in a special place.

Teaching approach

In a school on Vancouver's East Side, a jurisdiction not favoured by circumstance, Mr. Ablett has worked tirelessly to ensure that his students have all the advantages that technology can provide. His class and workshop are open to all. But when a student comes to ask Mr. Ablett for help, they don't often get an answer directly from him. By putting students of all levels together, Mr. Ablett creates an informal mentoring program where junior students don't always have to rely on the teacher, and where seniors can take pride in becoming the experts.

Outstanding achievements

  • The VEX robotics program at Gladstone Secondary is an expression of Mr. Ablett's passion for teaching. While learning code, students also come together and learn to work as a team. They then have the opportunity to show off their skills at various robotics competitions.
  • Under Mr. Ablett's guidance the "Pink Sparkle Fairy Unicorns " became the first all girl VEX team in BC. They got off to a rough start in their first competition, but qualified only six months later for the World Championships where they took home fifth place.
  • Mr. Ablett's students have been winning international robotics competitions over the past five years.
  • Over the past ten years, Mr. Ablett has garnered over $10,000 in community support for the robotics program, which has enabled his students to represent their school at both the local and international level. Understanding that parents want to see their children compete, Mr. Ablett also created a robotics competition in Gladstone, which students dubbed The Gladstone Open.
  • And his teaching doesn't stop there. Mr. Ablett also hosts robotics professional development courses for teachers from across British Columbia.

Rave reviews

"Mr. Ablett's hands-off approach to teaching, coupled with his subtle hints, encouraged me to actively think about ways to solve my problems, and was perfect for developing thinking and problem-solving skills. In Mr. Ablett's classroom, I felt free to express myself and to move about as I pleased, something that I would not be comfortable doing in other classes."

Former student

"Mr. Ablett taught me the most important skill of engineering: problem solving. I changed my thinking from simply 'It does not work' to 'Why doesn't it work?' Now I am in my fourth year of engineering. Without this set of problem solving skills, I could not have made it this far."

Former student

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