Jon Houseman (2007)

housemanAffiliation at the time of the award: University of Ottawa/Université d’Ottawa, Biology.

Citation: Jon Houseman is known to more than 9 million students who have, over fours years, been taught with 1.5 million downloaded images from the BIODIDAC image bank where his digital photos are available to teachers around the world. This tells only a small part of Jon’s story. Jon teaches descriptive biology and he argues that students have become increasingly isolated from a natural world they may no longer be capable of effectively studying. Jon’s digital teaching materials have given his students the chance to understand the discipline and explore the natural world in the lab or online.

Jon’s Digital Zoology, an online digital atlas and textbook includes specimens similar to those the students dissect in the laboratory allowing for easy comparisons and understanding during the lab. His innovate use of digital cameras allows his students to photograph rather than draw the specimens under the microscope. Not just technology, but cutting-edge technology from a man who is an acknowledged leader, as demonstrated by his previous teaching awards.

Jon’s story continues with the ongoing search, not for perfection, but for the next step in the development of a technology that will enhance the quality of student learning. More, Jon’s life work is dedicated to the continuing inter-dependence of what he calls the triad of teacher, learner, and world observed. He also commits to the development of mutual teamwork, building an education community stretching beyond the limits of one laboratory, one university, one province, one country, to reach out and embrace us all.