Vince Racanelli: Integrating technology as a natural part of learning

Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Vince Racanelli

Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy
850 Humberwood Boulevard
Toronto, ON M9W 7A6

School telephone: 416-394-4757
School website:


Subjects and grades taught: Math, Science, Language, Social Studies, Arts and Media, Grade 1

At a large K–8 school, Vince Racanelli ensures the success of culturally, racially and academically diverse learners. He also acts as a leader and resource for his fellow educators as they seek to integrate technology into their programs.

Teaching approach

Vince inspires students with engaging hands-on projects, while ensuring they build strong skills. He also meaningfully differentiates instruction through the effective use of technology in various parts of the curriculum.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Integrates technology as a natural part of learning: children adapted a book about supporting peers into a movie as part of the school's focus on character development; each Monday, students recount a plush toy's weekend adventures, illustrating their written stories with photos they took
  • Integrates STEM-based activities with the arts: after reading Where the Wild Things Are, students created individual 3D art pieces, took pictures of them and then recorded their voices describing one special feature of their creations; the whole class also created a papier mâché wild thing
  • Leads after-school robotics clubs to teach project methodology—ask it (What is the problem?); design it (a blueprint); test it (What worked well? What didn't?); solve it; and refine it (What can you do better?)—and writing and presentation skills, all while children build roller coasters and cars
  • Uses technology to engage parents and keep them informed: daily videos and pictures with captions show parents what their children are learning and how that learning is taking place

Outstanding achievements

  • His Grade 1 class won a national online math contest (Math Monkey); not only did the students experience this success but the whole school benefited from the prize, online memberships
  • Volunteered to teach class of all boys when school explored single-gender classrooms; he then designed a learning plan based on their specific learning styles and strengths, and successfully fostered a love of learning in otherwise reluctant readers and unenthusiastic learners
  • Regularly impresses visiting board officials and international delegations with the innovation in his classroom, which has led to additional funding and resources being directed to the school

Rave reviews

"One day [Vince's] students will become engineers, robotics experts, doctors, and scientists. He has given them the building blocks for success in the future but more importantly he has provided them with a love of learning not only with STEM but across all subjects."

School administrators