Scott Hebert

St. John Paul II Catholic School, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada

Scott  Hebert

Scott never much liked school. Despite having good grades and a long list of achievements, he felt that he did well to please other people rather than because he wanted to. After a sports injury derailed his university plans, a teacher he respected gently nudged him into the direction of teaching by making him a peer mentor. During his last year at school he helped run a coding course, and realized he had finally found something he enjoyed doing! He also began to have ideas about changing everything he didn’t like about school by becoming a teacher – a real “light bulb” moment.

Scott began his career immediately out of university as an elementary Physical Education specialist for a school in Calgary, Alberta. The school wanted to revamp its elementary Physical Education program, and in response Scott put emphasis on all the things he felt were often absent in school – fun, collaboration, creativity, innovation and risk taking. The results were spectacular, and he was recognized as a Top 20 Teacher in the province.
However, his subsequent experiences with older children showed him that students often arrive at school full of joy and anticipation but that school, sadly, tends to erode that. In interviews with students about what they disliked in school, three things consistently came up: lack of autonomy, creativity and trust.

To remedy these problems, Scott has become a leading proponent of applying the “gamification” concept (an idea originally used in marketing) to education. In essence, he has experimented with transforming the classroom into a giant, year-long, RPG-style game where students compete with each other to achieve a common goal. He also decided to share his ideas on social media under the hashtag #GameMyClass, and began to get messages from all over the world with teachers following suit and noticing the results. At the same time, he has created resources and tools that are free for everyone, spending countless hours producing a website, editing videos for his YouTube channel, writing blogs, and creating an online community where educators can share ideas. He has now also written two books about pedagogy for the profession. Alongside his work on gamification, Scott also talks to and educates people about mental health, a topic very close to his heart.

From 2013 to present, Scott has been featured in TV interviews and newspaper articles, given TEDx talks, and been interviewed for numerous blogs and podcasts. In 2013, he was awarded the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2015, his programme was selected as the Best Gamification in Education Project globally by the World Gamification Congress. If he won the Global Teacher Prize, it would allow him to release his books as free resources – and attend more conferences to share his ideas without struggling to support the travel costs involved.