Bill Belsey -Biography
Bill Belsey’s teaching career has included living and working with the Inuit of Canada’s Arctic for nearly twenty years, where he introduced the very first computer in the Canadian Arctic at Kreterklerk School (sic) in (then) Eskimo Point, NWT.
While teaching in Rankin Inlet in the 1990s, Mr. Belsey and his students created this presentation to honour the Inuit miners of the North Rankin Nickel Mine from the 1950s.
Mr. Belsey taught his Inuit students how to code using a programming language called LOGO, created especially for children by Dr. Seymour Papert and his team at the world-famous M.I.T. Media Lab.
In 1984, Mr. Belsey worked with his Classroom Assistant, Barbara Beveridge, to develop the first Inuktitut words to describe computer technology.
In the early 1990’s he also helped to bring the Internet to the community of Rankin Inlet and established the very first Community Access Centre in the Canadian Arctic called “Igalaaq” (Inuktitut for window) at the Leo Ussak School. This pioneering work was honoured with the Royal Bank and Conference Board of Canada’s National Partners in Education Award.
In 1997 Mr. Belsey was invited to work with Dr. Seymour Papert and Nicholas Negroponte at the world-famous M.I.T. Media Lab to work on issues re. the innovative use of ICTs to support teaching and learning.
Bill Belsey with Dr. Nicholas Negroponte at M.I.T.
He was asked by CIDA, the Canadian International Development Agency and the World Bank to present his thoughts and his work at the Global Knowledge ’97 conference in Toronto on the topic of “Universal Access to Information and Communication Technologies”. At this conference, former World Bank President, Mr. James Wolfenson, praised the impact of this work. He has also been an advisor to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the U.S. Peace corps. His pioneering work has been featured at an exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization as one of Canada’s “Global Heroes”.
Mr. Belsey is a winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Technology. He is also a recipient of the Royal Bank Fellowship from the Mathematics, Science and Technology Group at Queen’s University and the Roy C. Hill Fellowship for Innovations in Education. He has been named as a finalist for the annual Canadian New Media “Educator of the Year” Award. He has also been chosen to be a recipient of the prestigious CANARIE IWAY Awards (IWAY is short for Information Highway). These awards honour Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to Canada’s world-recognized information society – celebrating innovators behind Canada’s advanced broadband development and use.
From 1999 until 2003, he was a Senior Educational Advisor for Canada’s SchoolNet and was Coordinator for Canada’s National Network of Innovative Schools (NIS).
Mr. Belsey is an author and photographer, among other published works, he wrote and did the photography for “An Arctic Community” with Bobbie Kalman of Crabtree Publishing.
For nearly a decade, Mr. Belsey was the volunteer Executive Director for iEARN-Canada, the Canadian chapter of iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, see www.iearn.org. iEARN is the world’s largest and most-experienced K-12 professional learning community with over three million members in over 120 countries who share the vision of “Connecting Youth and Making a Difference” by working on international collaborative projects using information and communications technologies.
Mr. Belsey created the award-winning www.childsoldiers.org, that helped to raise global awareness about the issue of child soldiers with stories, artwork and multimedia exposés from youth who have been affected by war. he has since donated this domain to Senator and (retired) Canadian General Romeo Dallaire so that he could continue his work on this important issue.
Mr. Belsey and his students collaborated with Palestinian students in Jerusalem and Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan to address the question, “How do you see peace?” Their online collaboration can be viewed online at www.seeingpeace.net.
Mr. Belsey and his grade five students collaborated with High School teacher Tommie Hamaluba and his students at Gabarone Secondary School in Gabarone, Botswana to collaborate and create www.net4nets.net, a project that serves to raise awareness about the issue of Malaria and its affects on children. Mr. Belsey’s students raised funds to purchase mosquito bednets for families in Botswana that were later delivered by their partner students at Gabarone Secondary School.
In 1999 he created the Generations Can Connect project in honour of the United Nations International Year of Older Persons.
National Public Radio Interview -The Infinite Mind: Generations CANConnect
He was asked by the Federal Government to lead the Timecapsule2000 Project.
He is the founder and President of Bullying.org, an internationally nationally recognized educational organization that is dedicated to the prevention of bullying through education and awareness.
One of his projects, www.bullying.org, was honoured with the Cable and Wireless ChildNet Award, which goes to projects that make the Internet a better and safer place for children. This project was also named as a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Awards, an award that has been called the Nobel Prize of the Information Technology (IT) world.
www.bullying.org has hosted millions of visitors and contributors and is often listed as one of the top bullying-referenced Web sites in the world.
Mr. Belsey also created www.cyberbullying.ca, thought by many to be the first Web site in the world to address the issue of cyberbullying. He is often cited as the first person to use the word and define the behaviour “cyberbullying”.
In 2002, Mr. Belsey conceived of, and helps to coordinate Canada’s annual National Bullying Awareness Week, see www.bullyingawarenessweek.org
The National Bullying Awareness Week campaign, created in partnership with Family Channel, was honoured as the best national promotional campaign by the Canadian Public Relations Society’s annual conference in Calgary in June 2005.
In September 2007 Mr. Belsey created and launched Canada’s very first online courses and Webinars about bullying and cyberbullying for parents and educators at www.bullyingcourse.com. Mr. Belsey has created a partnership with Colombia’s CES University. As a result of this collaboration, his “E101 –An Introduction to Bullying for Educators” online course will be offered to educators around the world in Spanish.
In 2003, Mr. Belsey worked with (then) Mayor Judy Stewart and the Town Council of Cochrane, Alberta to declare Cochrane as Canada’s first community, Striving to Be, Bully-free”.
In 2004, Mr. Belsey was honoured as Cochrane, Alberta’s “Ambassador of the Year”.
In June 2005, Mr. Belsey was also asked to share his work about bullying and cyberbullying with the United Nations International Research Study on Violence and Children in Bangkok.
Mr. Belsey was interviewed by the late Peter Gzowksi on CBC Radio’s national “Morningside” radio show. CBC Radio’s Michael Enright interviewed Mr. Belsey about Technology, Innovation and Learning. He has also appeared numerous times on the CTV and CBC National News. He has been a consultant to “The Dr. Phil Show”, ABC News 20/20 with Diane Sawyer, CNN –Anderson Cooper AC360. His print interviews have appeared in Parenting Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and the Christian Science Monitor. In an interview with Mr. Belsey on CBC TV’s “The National”, Peter Mansbridge referred to www.bullying.org as “One of the best Web sites in the world for children”.
In May 2006, Mr. Belsey received Canada’s National Technology Innovations Award from The Learning Partnership and his presentation “Change the World 101” was given the “Conference Award” as the most outstanding work presented during the entire gathering.
In October 2006, Mr. Belsey was named as a Fellow of the World Technology Network in the Education category at a gala event at San Francisco’s City Hall. At this same ceremony, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was inducted as a Fellow in the Environment category and Tim Burners-Lee, one of the co-creators of the World Wide Web, was honoured in the Internet category.
In November 2007 he was nominated for the YMCA Peace Medal.
In 2010, Mr. Belsey was the keynote speaker at conferences on Bullying in Medellin, Colombia.
In 2010, Mr. Belsey was the keynote speaker at Australia’s annual National Conference on Bullying.
Bill Belsey Presents to the Senate Human Rights Committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
In December 2011 he was asked to give testimony about bullying and cyberbullying to the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Senate. At the end of this testimony, Mr. Belsey encouraged the committee to listen to his students, months later they heeded this advice and Mr. Belsey’s grade eight Language Arts class submitted the position papers they had written about the topic of cyberbullying as testimony via video conference, the first young people ever to do so before a committee of the Canadian Government!
In 2012, Canadian Television -CTV, recognized him as an “Inspiring Albertan”.
Mr. Belsey’s Social Studies class was chosen to host a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony at Springbank Middle School.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. (Photo by Bill Belsey)
In 2012, Mr. Belsey was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal which honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.
In June 2015, Mr. Belsey was chosen as the “Teacher of the Year” by the Alberta Teachers’ Association Educational Technology Council.
This award was named after Alberta educator Edna Dach.
Mr. Belsey can be seen hiking in his backyard of the Rocky Mountains, sometimes with his students and friend, Ravens End author, Ben Gadd.
Mr. Belsey now lives in Cochrane, Alberta, with his wife, Helene (also a teacher), and two teenage children. He currently teaches at Springbank Middle School for the Rockyview School Division. To check out his students’ innovative work, do a Google search for “Canada’s Coolest Class” then click on “I’m feeling lucky”, you will be directed to www.coolclass.ca.
Mr. Belsey is a much sought-after speaker and presenter on the topics of bullying, cyberbullying, cyberparenting, technology integration, innovation, community development and global education. He has presented at many conferences across Canada and around the world.
If you are interested in having Mr. Belsey present to your organization or at your conference, he is represented by the National Speakers’ Bureau.