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Two TDSB teachers selected for prestigious Google Innovator Program

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

Two Toronto District School Board (TDSB) teachers have been selected to take part in the Google for Education Certified Innovator Program (GCI). Larissa Aradj  from Lord Lansdowne PS and Zélia Capitão-Tavares from McMurrich Junior PS join 36 other innovative teachers from around the world to take part in this one-year professional development opportunity. 

In submissions, applicants were required to include an engaging video showing their vision of being ambassadors for change, and moreover, how to empower other educators and students with innovative digital fluency ideas. The group ultimately selected participated in an intensive three day professional learning academy right here in Toronto in early October, 2016.

Capitão-Tavares’ Google Innovator Project on Social Entrepreneurship will provide teachers a venue in which discussions, sharing of ideas and developing lessons will support students through the design thinking process, the inquiry process, and entrepreneurship. “It is an honour for both myself and students,” said Capitão-Tavares. “We will share our learning journey beyond the classroom walls to support and/or mentor others in being innovators and entrepreneurs.” She shares more about her project via her Twitter account @McMBusinessDay.

Aradj’s Google Innovator Project is called “Spark to Flame EDU” ( She and her partner Chris Webb from Montreal are looking to ignite education and put students in the driver’s seat. Imagine a world where students empower their own learning, where students provide other students and teachers with professional development in cutting edge skills using innovative new methods and in so doing, gaining accreditation in public speaking and problem-solving skills. Their hope is that students with knowledge, passion, and a desire to challenge the current environment in which they learn can revolutionize educational forums and the ways we learn from one another. 

    “When I received the acceptance email for the #TOR16 GCI Academy I was full of emotions,” said Aradj. “I went from being excited, nervous, thrilled, ecstatic and honoured, all in the span of 30 seconds!” She called the intense three-day professional development that followed the best of her 12-year career as an educator.   “Spending three days learning from and with like-minded educators was a rejuvenating experience that I will never forget,” she added. “I took so much out of the opportunity that I can readily apply and share with others around me.”

You can follow their journeys on Twitter: @MrsGeekChic and @ZeliaMCT.

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