Pivoting in a pandemic world: Using digital tools to teach genetics and genomics

Genome BC Geneskool™ supports educators by connecting gr. 9-12 students to cutting edge genetic research. COVID-19 has reshaped our program; forcing us to adapt our collection of hands-on workshops from an in-person delivery model to online learning, and to create new ways for students to engage with Geneskool volunteers. This workshop will showcase four ways in which Geneskool is utilizing technology to increase access to quality genetics outreach during the pandemic:

1. Learn how to use the free downloadable resources from www.genomebc.ca in conjunction with our educator webinar series to bring Geneskool into the classroom, using the Rare Genetics Diseases workshop as an example.

2. Learn how formative assessment tools (e.g. Kahoot!, Quizizz) can be used as a fun way to either introduce or reflect on Geneskool workshops, while also exposing students to our volunteers and to STEM career options.

3. *New Activity* Try out a role play activity that asks students to discuss the societal impacts, risks and rewards of genomic technology applications from a variety of perspectives.

4. *New Activity* Explore the online datasets and tools genomic epidemiologists in BC use to understand how COVID-19 spreads. Solve a simulated outbreak scenario by building a phylogenetic tree.

Alignment to the curriculum and core competencies of each content piece will also be discussed.

To Bring/Important Notes

A computer, and a phone or secondary screen (optional)


2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

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  • Genome BC
    Alex Chattwood

    Alex Chattwood works with volunteer scientists to support the formal education system through Genome BC’s Geneskool program. Alex believes in an inquiry-based approach to learning and works to provide engaging hands-on activities that build students’ scientific thinking and communication skills. Seeing people learn is Alex’s favourite thing and learning how people learn is his hobby. Alex holds a PhD in genetics from the University of Manchester, UK, and moved into education after working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of British Columbia. Leaving behind his slime mold research wasn’t easy, but Alex learned a great deal about science communication and education after a combined 3 years with TELUS World of Science Edmonton and Science World British Columbia. In 2015, Alex participated in the Banff Science Communication program. He also volunteers as a co-editor for Science Borealis.

  • Genome BC
    Connie Leung

    Connie Leung strives to educate and increase genomic and genetic literacy across the province with Geneskool programming. She collaborates with educators, volunteers, students, and GBC staff to do so. One of her favorite things about Geneskool is seeing the excitement from students when they make connections with their learning. Prior to working at Genome BC, Connie worked with Let’s Talk Science and Science World, educating students about research methods, and curriculum topics in STEM. She has over 10 years of experience teaching chemistry, anatomy, neuroanatomy, and physiology at the university. She holds a BSc in Microbiology from UBC Okanagan, and a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology studying diabetes, obesity, and genetics from UBC Vancouver.