Craig Brumwell: Bringing history to life through game-based learning
Year: 2018 – Province: British Columbia
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Kitsilano Secondary School
2706 Trafalgar Street
Vancouver, BC V6K 2J6
Subjects and grades taught: Social Studies 10 and 11, Geography 12, Physical and Health Education 9
Craig Brumwell has been fully integrating technology into his teaching practice for more than a decade. At the same time, he is a lifelong learner with a sense of wonder about the world who models a spirit of exploration, innovation and collaboration with students and teachers alike.
Craig firmly believes that students must be actively engaged in their own learning. To that end, he is committed to fostering a spirit of anticipation and play in his students via game-based learning.
In the Classroom
- Encourages students to be creative knowledge builders and problem solvers: team inquiry projects—on topics such as the fentanyl overdose crisis and the Trans-Mountain Pipeline—are often calls to action among the student body, with team members acting as peer leaders
- Develops game-based learning environments: students examining the changing nature of national security trigger Second World War artifacts on their phones as they move around the school; a First World War game and website include historical inquiry and primary source research activities
- Uses technology to create real-world learning opportunities (and a paperless class): through the political, economic and legal simulation platform The Civic Mirror, students create political parties, conduct elections, buy and trade properties and commodities, and hold a national court
- Lays a solid foundation for learning: students create and maintain a code of conduct for the responsible and appropriate use of technology in class; at the start of the year, senior geography students prepare for group work by studying collaboration strategies and personalities
- Student attendance and achievement are both high, with senior-level class averages regularly surpassing 90 percent, even among vulnerable learners and those not inclined academically
- Grade 12 geography students present at large industry conferences; another group is participating in a university research study on the impacts of climate change on urban forests
- Presenting his game-based approach to other educators is a priority: he walks them through Vancouver to demonstrate his First World War interactive story, and presents at conferences and workshops across Canada and at a U.S. university
- Won both the both the Governor General's and Government of Canada's History Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 2015 for his Second World War mobile game
"What is delightful for us as parents about Mr. Brumwell's approach is that our kids become so engaged in historical and current topics, broadening their interest and ultimately improving their grades in a subject that was traditionally delivered in a didactic and ‘dry' way."
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