Innovation in Geography Teaching Award
2018 Recipient - Breanna Heels
|Photo: Ontario College of Teachers |
Educator, adventurer, mentor and advocate, Breanna Heels’ innovative educational practice is informed and energized by the philosophy of “think globally, act locally.” She challenges her students both to adopt the world as their classroom and, at the same time, to understand their own community. She fosters the geographer in every student by creating the spatial context that links local activities with worldwide endeavours in the environmental stewardship of the earth.
Her students’ geographic education is often taught while hiking and snowshoeing along the Bruce Trail, learning to explore through geocaching activities, making quinzees or yurt camping at Bruce Peninsula National Park, where they learn about forestry, geology and Indigenous history. Inside the classroom, her students have become tech experts, doing Mystery Skypes, taking part in Google Hangouts, using National Geographic teaching resources, and exploring with Google Cardboard virtual reality. Her teaching adventures take students beyond the classroom walls and around the world through her “Global Citizen Project,” where teachers and students come together to work collaboratively towards the UN Global Goals.
Through the design and delivery of geographic education programs linked to international organizations such as the United Nations, Breanna Heels is unquestionably a master teacher and a leader in innovation.