Benjamin Kelly: Students become content creators and global citizens

Year: 2018 – Province: New Brunswick

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Benjamin Kelly

Caledonia Regional High School
35 School Lane
Hillsborough, NB E4H 3B8

School telephone: 506-734-3710
School website:
Twitter : @BBTNB

Subjects and grades taught: Math 10–12, Technology/Trades 6–10, Digital Productions 12, Computer Science 11, Career Explorations 12, Virtual Co-op Education 12

Benjamin Kelly makes it his mission to deliver unparalleled global opportunities in STEM education for students in grades 6–12 that can be—and, indeed, are—globally replicated. With exceptional success in securing funding through grants, he has made it possible for his small rural school to have province-leading technology on site.

Teaching approach

Students sail the 7Cs in Ben's classes, learning about collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity, character, citizenship and computational thinking. He then stresses the importance of creating their own content not just consuming others'.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Encourages students to respond to real-world situations: one student designed an anti-bullying flag now flown at schools across the country; another coded an app to support his Syrian classmates; a group created an app to help students get out of dangerous situation at graduation time
  • Connects STEM education to the skilled trades: students test skyscraper designs in simulated earthquakes, and design and build tiny houses; one student group developed a device to provide supplementary heating to Canadian homes in winter
  • Opens labs at lunch to give students who are bussed—about 90 percent of the school population—time and opportunities to collaborate on projects and get to know one another in a safe space
  • Connects students from around the globe in projects inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including developing solutions to meet the goals in villages around the world, producing music tracks, and writing and illustrating a children's book

Outstanding achievements

  • Developed pioneering K–12 drone program, a model for similar programs around North America: students create films using drone footage and practise delivering first aid during disasters
  • Spearheading government initiative to make New Brunswick a leader in cybersecurity education
  • Named a Global Distinguished Educator by Microsoft, Apple and Minecraft
  • Named Innovative Design Lead (formerly STEM lead) at his school and New Brunswick's Inspirational STEM Teacher of the Year for 2017

Rave reviews

"He has helped transform our school's image and impact on student learning while giving as much of himself to our district, province and worldwide education in STEM and beyond."