About DigSub

Shawn Urban (Dip.Ed., B.Ed., M.Sc., B.Sc.)

Welcome to Digital Substitute, the professional blog of Shawn Urban, a substitute teacher in Alberta, Canada.

About Me

Wordle About Me

I am a writer, ecologist, teacher and learner. I am formally trained as an ecologist (two science degrees) and a Biology, Mathematics and ELA teacher (an education degree and an education diploma), though as a substitute, I teach any subject at any grade level.

I have taught, and tutored, pre-Kindergarten to graduate university students in public and Catholic schools, university and Sylvan Learning.

I love nature and astronomy and have nine years as an ecologist and over 30 years as a writer under my belt. I am an avid writer and have been since I was eleven years old. I have written many poems, short stories and long stories, and have published a few of my shorter works (more on this). My main genre is fantasy and science fiction. I also enjoy mathematical puzzles and creating engaging educational web sites, CDs and games, several of which I have published.

About This Blog

Wordle About This Blog

This blog is my attempt to create independent professional development and a PLN for myself. I intend it to be a medium for me to continue to actively develop my teaching skills and style, to learn more in-depth and to share teaching resources and my thoughts with other teachers.

Since I am trained in Biology, Mathematics and ELA, and I am interested in exploring learning using educational games; open problems; and modern, Web 2.0+, blended and social technology, I will post alternately between these topics. I hope to share resources I create or discover, and PD research and reflections. Learning and growing are my constant objectives.

I also write another blog, Stefras’ Bridge, which focuses on one of my hobbies, science fiction and fantasy writing. And I contribute to Educational Comics, a comics blog published by David Wees.

The material in this blog is my own and does not reflect the views of my colleagues and employer.


2 thoughts on “About DigSub

  1. Interesting bio. I think games based learning is totally underrated and underestimated. I’d like to know more about it myself for use in the English classroom.

    I wish you all the best in your multiple endeavours!

    • Hi Amy,

      Thank you for your interest.

      Games are a tool for teaching. Some are good for introducing or progressively learning subjects; others are good for reviewing them. I will try to introduce examples of each in my posts.

      I personally like games that use subject or topic content as rules or gates for the games. Trivial games seem too contrived and, well, trivial, to me. They generally do not progress learning, but they do review mostly knowledge-level trivia and information well.

      Games in the English classroom? My immediate thought is a mystery game in which part of solving the mystery requires deep formal interpretation of the cover story (or essay or poem or …), its structure and its style.

      I will do some research and maybe I will post a game suited to your interests.

      Good luck,

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