“I see technology as a great tool that can be a difference-maker, a gap-bridger, a motivator, an enabler, a voice, a problem-solver, and more. There is always more to learn, create and share.” – Dean Vendramin, Canada

Dean Vendramin always knew he wanted to be a teacher. And after nearly 20 years in the classroom, he’s as motivated as ever.

“I have been fortunate to experience amazing moments in my career,” Vendramin says. “And what some may see as ‘simple’ moments still define what I am most proud of. That look in someone’s eye when they ‘get it’ still motivates me.”

Vendramin, who received a Prime Minister’s Teaching Excellence Award, has been recognized locally, provincially, nationally and, with his Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) designation, globally. “It has been humbling to receive recognition,” he says, “but also rewarding to know that your work has made a difference. It’s all those moments you made a difference but may never know that keep the fire burning.”

Technology is what drives Vendramin these days, both its use in the classroom, and as a tool to help teachers improve their craft. (His blog is a great place to learn about his teaching philosophy.)

Vendramin was particularly impressed with the way a certain block-building adventure game transformed some of his less-motivated students.

“In math I have had many students who, although I know they are capable of great things, get disinterested and disengaged,” he tells us. “But when asked to create a project in Minecraft, look out…I have witnessed all sorts of cool and amazing work from students who didn’t show that effort before.”

Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Dean Vendramin.

What inspired you to become an educator?

I have been very fortunate on my journey as an educator. I have always felt this has been my calling. I can remember in elementary school helping others when they were stuck or when we worked on a group assignment. I always felt motivated to try to not only learn for myself, but to also help my peers ‘get it’ too. When I could see that look in someone’s eye that they ‘got it’ and helped them ‘get there,’ that was the hook for me.

Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?

I see technology as a great tool that can be a difference-maker, a gap-bridger, a motivator, an enabler, a voice, a problem solver, and more.  There is always more to learn, create and share.

Still, these things are not possible without best practice, relationship-building, enthusiasm and empathy. When I see a student who may not be motivated by traditional methods shine when given an opportunity using technology, this validates my passion.

Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
There is still an access gap and a disparity between the haves and the have-nots. It’s a challenge that is being addressed but isn’t being solved quick enough.

Motivation and engagement has also been an issue. Unfortunately, we still adhere to and are constricted by an education model that may have worked a hundred years ago, but not today.  Again, progress has been made but there’s still much innovation and work to be done here.

I also see digital citizenship as an important topic to address because many students (and our society as a whole) are not aware of the positive and negative ramifications of their digital footprint (or digital tattoo as I refer to it). Progress has been made here, too, but still needs to be promoted and integrated in the classroom.

In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future? What is your biggest hope for today’s students?

I see students becoming more producers than consumers of content, and more understanding of the world around them. I am excited to see students collaborate and problem-solve, not only on a local, but also a global stage. I see students being able to make more connections and realize that together we are stronger and can move to a more tolerant, caring and empathic society.

I also see more engaging and interactive learning taking place that can motivate more learners.  I hope our students embrace the future with a passion and respect that brings out the best in themselves and the people around them.

About Dean Vendramin
Education Leader

Archbishop M.C. O’Neill Catholic High School

Saskatchewan, Canada

  • Blog URL: weebly.com
  • Birthplace: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Educational background: Ed. (Major Social Studies – Minor Math), B.A. (History), Educational Technology Diploma
  • Website I check every day: Twitter
  • Favorite childhood memory: Christmas with family and playing sports with my buddies (hockey, football, baseball).
  • Favorite book: Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros, and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien.
  • Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Minecraft / Office 365 / Sway
  • What is the best advice you have ever received? Treat others as you would like to be treated and be open to new ideas.
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