Spark Learning Lab
Professional development for educators | A bolt of inspiration

Spark Learning Lab

One of the best online educator-focused professional learning programs for just $5

Spark Learning Lab (formerly known as SHIFTLab) is a flexible digital professional development (PD) program designed for teachers and informal educators that unlocks science-based tools and training to enhance teaching methods and skills in and out of the classroom. Registrants will unleash potential by engaging in live sessions with a network of professionals that disrupt the status quo.

Join a family therapist and education researcher, or classroom design expert. Muse with a materials expert or digital learning guru and dive into topics including how to manage uncertain times, boosting learning spaces and mental health for students, inspiring storytelling techniques, and more. Level-up your online teacher training with one, two, or seven sessions!

Spark is grateful for Fluor and NSERC's generous support making it possible to offer these digital learning opportunities.


  • $5 per session

Spark Member Price

  • Spark members enjoy 20% off

Do you identify as an Indigenous educator?

Indigenous educators or educators who work with indigenous youth are eligible to participate free of charge. Please contact [email protected] for more details.

Stay connected

Follow Spark Learning Lab on Instagram and Twitter for the latest trends, announcements, and more!

Digital Sessions

  • February 23, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Resiliency & Mental Health for Students

Guest Speaker: Dr. Michael Ungar – Founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University


This session will explore how teachers can best help families and schools provide kids with what they need to grow up well and experience the right amount of challenge.

As both a family therapist and a world-renowned researcher on resilience, Michael Ungar has noticed that many children are not being given the opportunities to develop the normal coping strategies they need for independent lives. Though the stats tell us that children today are safer than ever before in history, parents and educators are hesitant to give them what Michael has called ‘the risk-taker’s advantage.’

This session WILL NOT be recorded due to academic integrity.

  • March 9, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Importance of Place and Space

Guest Speaker: Wanda Dalla Costa – Institute Professor, The Design School, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University

Michelle Ranger – System Principal, Indigenous Education - Calgary Board of Education


Learn the four forms of knowledge in Indigenous communities and gain insight on how Dalla Costa and Ranger incorporates the needs of community into design. In this session, both speakers will tap into their experiences with the Niitsitapi Learning Centre, a Calgary Board of Education.

This session WILL NOT be recorded due to academic integrity.

  • March 23, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Reflective Practice

Guest Speaker: Casey Eagle Speaker with Kori Czuy


Engage with the skill of reflective practice and its importance in educational pedagogy.

Kainai Elder Casey Eagle Speaker will lead this session from Nosehill Park, reconnecting with stories from the land. Learning from the land prompts us to become reflective, learning from our past to propel us forward in a good way. Similarly, this process can prompt reflection of ourselves and our teaching practices, to learn and move forward. Kori Czuy, Ph.D, Indigenous Engagement Specialist at Spark, will support Casey with this session.

This session WILL NOT be recorded due to academic integrity.

  • April 13, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Experiential Learning in Classroom Spaces

Guest Speaker: Erin Klein - Award-winning Educator, National Keynote Speaker, Author


Think big! Explore how to modify classroom space to encourage creativity, integrate technology, and ensure that students take an active role in their learning.

This session will be recorded for all registrants.

  • April 27, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Inspired by Materials

Guest Speaker: Jed Dearybury – Educator, Author, Illustrator


Research shows that all students, young/old, black/white, rich/poor, benefit from the arts and creativity in the classroom. It is time for all teaching to reflect that. Let’s putaway the textbooks for hands-on, engaging, creative, arts infused lessons filled with play. Any subject, any grade, this professional development session includes brainstorming ideas, growing creativity, and play-infused learning. During this session, you will learn some unique ways to bring creativity and the arts into every lesson you teach using repurposed, recycled materials.

This session will be recorded for all registrants.

  • May 11, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Designing Impactful Digital Spaces

Guest Speaker: Dr. Robert Dillon – Author, Speaker, Educator


This session explores the research and practice surrounding the intentional design of digital spaces for students, and how we can maximize engagement, interest, and access through design.

As more learning blends between face-to-face inquiry and digital exploration, it is essential to design for optimal user experience. Be prepared to leave the session with practical ideas and resources that you can use to support the needs of all students in the digital learning space.

This session will be recorded for all registrants.

  • June 15, 2021
  • 4PM - 5:30PM (MST)

Learning Through Narrative

Guest Speaker: Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt – Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary


Explore the use of media, and other aesthetic expressions, as catalysts for transformative learning within difficult learning environments.

Dr. Poitras Pratt’s research concentrates on the multiple ways in which transformative learning can be invoked within classrooms and at the community level through experiential learning and creative imaginings. In her 2019 Routledge Press publication, Digital Storytelling in Indigenous Education: A Decolonizing Journey for a Métis Community, Yvonne ethnographically explores the process and potential of digital storytelling to revitalize oral traditions and foster intergenerational learning within Métis communities.

This session will be recorded for all registrants.


Speaker Bios

    • Dr. Michael Ungar | Founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhouse University

      Michael Ungar, Ph.D. is the founder and Director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University. His ground-breaking work as a family therapist and resilience researcher is recognized around the world, with much of that work focused on the resilience of marginalized children and families, and adult populations experiencing mental health challenges at home and in the workplace. Dr. Ungar has provided consultation and training to Fortune 500 companies like Unilever and Cigna, NGOs such as Save The Children and the Red Cross, and educational institutions and government agencies on five continents.

      He is routinely called upon by thought leaders such as the Boston Consulting Group and Canvas8. His work emphasizes how to use the theory of resilience to increase both individual and institutional agility during crises, with numerous organizations having adopted his concept of resilience as a negotiated process that enhances wellbeing and social responsibility.

      Dr. Ungar is the author of 16 books for lay and professional audiences, and over 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. These include Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success, a book for adults experiencing stress at work and at home, and I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Teens Need from their Parents. His blog, Nurturing Resilience, can be read on Psychology

    • Wanda Dalla Costa | Institute Professor, The Design School, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University

      Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, OAA, AAA, LEED A.P. is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation. She is also a mom, a practicing architect and a professor. Dalla Costa was honored in 2019 by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, added to the YBCA 100, a list which celebrates people, organizations, and movements shifting culture through ideas, their art, and their activism.

      At Arizona State University, she is the director and founder of the Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program, which brings together tribal community members, industry and a multidisciplinary team of ASU students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities. Her teaching and research is focused on Indigenous ways of knowing and being, co-design methodologies, sustainable design, and the resiliency of vernacular architectures.

      In terms of her practice, Dalla Costa was the first, First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. Her firm, Tawaw Architectural Collective ( is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Recent projects include the Indigenous embassy in Ottawa, an Indigenous urban early learning center in Saskatoon and a tribal college in Alberta. Dalla

      Costa was also invited to the 2018 Venice Biennale, world festival in architecture, as part of Unceded, where she joined 18 Indigenous architects from across Turtle Island, to share an Indigenous vision of the future. Dalla Costa holds a Master of Design Research in City Design from SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Calgary.

    • Michelle Ranger | Principal of School Improvement – Indigenous Education at the Calgary Board of Education (CBE)

      Michelle Ranger’s homeland is St. Laurent, Manitoba. She is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and is currently the System Principal of School Improvement – Indigenous Education at the Calgary Board of Education (CBE). Michelle has been described as an innovative, relational and compassionate leader who has devoted her career to Indigenous education in urban settings. Michelle was the first principal of Niitsitapi Learning Centre, an early-years Indigenous holistic and communal learning centre and is currently co-leading the Indigenous Education Strategy within the CBE. Over her 20-year career Michelle has supported Indigenous student success and well-being through her roles as teacher and leader through innovative and wise practices.

    • Casey Eaglespeaker, Sorrel Horse | Respected Elder from the Kainai First Nation

      Casey Eagle Speaker, Sorrel Horse, is a respected Elder from the Kainai First Nation. He works with Hull Services, Alberta Health Services, St. Mary’s University, Alberta University of the Arts, Calgary Foundation, and numerous other organizations and corporations to weave in Indigenous ways of knowing, culture, and ceremony. The Spark Science Centre is humbled and honoured to have Casey as a member of their Advisory Circle, helping guide their journey towards reconciliaction by weaving in and highlighting the significance of Indigenous Science in all aspects of the Science Centre.

    • Kori Czuy | Ph.D, Indigenous Engagement Specialist

      Kori Czuy, Cree/Métis/Polish, is the Indigenous Engagement Specialist at the Spark Science Centre. Casey and Kori have worked together on numerous occasions, including with her PhD, where Casey supported and guided the research of bringing value and depth mathematics within Indigenous stories and ways of knowing. Kori will support Casey in the "How Do You Know What You Know" session.

    • Erin Klein | Award-Winning Educator, National Keynote Speaker, Author, Mother

      Erin Klein is an award-winning educator, national keynote speaker, author, and mother who has been twice selected to serve on the Scholastic, Inc. Top Teaching Team based in New York.

      Her recent publication, Amazing Grades, was a collaboration with experts from 13 countries around the world. She travels the country speaking about the power of student voice, how meaningful technology integration can enhance learning experiences, and the impact classroom design has on today’s learner.

      She is certified in Brain Gym, Educational Kinesiology, and has studied under consultants from The Center for Effective Learning to understand how design affects cognition and learning. Klein serves as a classroom design consultant and creative partner for the publishing company, Carson-Dellosa.

    • Jed Dearybury | Educator, Author, Illustrator

      Jed Dearybury began his education career in 2001. During his 13-year early childhood classroom tenure, Jed received numerous awards. He was featured in GQ Magazine as Male Leader of the Year, met President Obama as the South Carolina honoree of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and was named as a top 5 finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year because of his passion, love, and success in education.

      Since leaving 2nd grade classroom in 2015, he has been leading professional development across the country, as well as training the next generation of educators through his work and teaching in Higher Ed, teaching children’s lit, creativity and play for Early Childhood, and Fine Arts in the Elementary Classroom. In August 2019, he started his own education consulting business, LLC, where he is the Director of Creativity and Innovation.

      He published his first book,The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages, co-written with Dr. Julie P. Jones, in June of 2020, thus adding author and illustrator to his list of educational credits. His next book,Courageous Classroom, is due out July 2021. His mission: Equip, Encourage, Empower the teaching profession using creativity, laughter, and hands-on fun!

    • Dr. Robert Dillon | Author, Speaker, Educator, Lifelong Learner

      Dr. Robert Dillon is an author, speaker, educator, and lifelong learner. His twenty plus years in education has seen him serve kids and families as a teacher, principal, technology director, and innovation leader. His primary focus is working to bring synergy to instructional design, technology infusion, and learning space design. He believes that in this synergy is the educational gold that students need to be successful citizens in a modern world. He works through an equity lens and looks to bring excellence to every classroom. For this work, he has been honored by Common Sense Media, The Center for Green Schools, the dSchool at Stanford University, the Buck Institute for Education, and Future Ready Schools.

      Dr. Dillon has had the opportunity to work with teachers and leaders throughout the country, and he continues to speak at local, regional, and national conferences. Dr. Dillon is the co-founder of ConnectEDLearning, a Saint Louis non-profit dedicated to affordable, quality professional learning for teachers. He is the author of five books on intentional design in learning. He is supported in his work by his wife and two amazing daughters.

    • Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt | Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

      Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt is a tenured Associate Professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary. She was promoted to Director, Indigenous Education, atWerklundin 2018. As a post-secondary educator, she is passionate about education and the possibilities it brings to learners across their lifetime. As a Metis scholar, she is especially committed to ensuring Indigenous truths and perspectives are brought into classrooms.

“An amazing, MUST-DO, personal and teaching practice altering experience that allows you to feel and be creatively confident”

Former Participant

“A great environment to be uncomfortable, develop new skills, experience being a learner, and improve your teaching practice.”

Former Participant

“Design Thinking is a way of thinking and doing that empowers our students with what they need to be innovators, creators, collaborators, critical thinkers and risk-takers in our society. Nobody knows how design thinking can be transformative in education better than the dedicated team of educators at Telus Spark.”

Former Participant

“It's a chance to learn to think fluidly, brainstorm rapidly, and generate ideas that you can really make. You're pushed to think, act, and collaborate quickly and when mistakes arise, which they do, you build on them and learn.”

Former Participant

Spark Learning Lab FAQs

Tap into your Eureka moment!

Subscribe to Spark's Educator emails for the latest updates on upcoming events, discounts and more!

Subscribe Register for Session