Lee Martin: Empowering students and changing the world through technology
Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario
Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM
Central French Immersion Public School
10 Livingston Avenue
Grimsby, ON L3M 1K7
Subjects and grades taught: Language, Math, Science, Arts, Social Studies, Makerspace, grade 3
A transformational educator, Lee Martin creates community in his classroom (the room 107 Family is the "best class") and then ensures his students have access to powerful tools to support their ideas. He also pushes himself and his learning further to better support students. And, he won't hesitate to drive a car full of student-collected bottled water to a community in need, or be inspired by a trip to the North to partner with a school there.
Lee challenges his students to be the best version of themselves they can be, as global citizens, problems solvers, critical thinkers and mathematicians. First, he earns their trust and then engages them with uncommon creativity, including regularly dressing up in character—everyone from Samuel de Champlain to Elsa from Frozen—to bring subjects to life.
STEM in the Classroom
- Develops responsible digital citizens: students learn the core skills of digital literacy, including critical thinking and proper online behaviour; using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a focus, students solve real problems for real people, and defend their approach
- Embraces hands-on, multi-sensory learning: through the Minimakers program, students explore 3D design and printing, traditional hand tools, measuring and cooking (and math), and circuitry
- Provides extra support so children excel in math: a Jedi-costumed Lee takes students seeking extra help in math to the planet Port-able to revisit difficult concepts in Star Wars-themed lessons
- Introduced coding—and the possibilities it presents—both to his young learners and fellow educators; he and his students now make presentations about coding across the country; Lee went on to found Canada's largest coding conference for children
- Founded Computers4Change, a charity through which he brought advanced technology to his school and is now providing technology to low-income families across the school board to support their children's exceptionalities, and purchasing STEM resources for schools and communities throughout Canada, including a northern Ontario First Nation
- Acted as consultant to a publisher for educational materials related to digital literacy, integration of information technologies and digital citizenship
"I saw my son blossom and for the first time enjoy school and be excited to attend every day. … Lee Martin gave our son the confidence that he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to and started him on a great path in his education."
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