“Miss Thibeault! I Have to Tell You Something!”

I hear that a lot lately. It is not limited to bad jokes, either.

I have been teaching Career Ed since September, and every term (half semester) I get a new class. I’m currently teaching my third Career class. I have to say, third time’s a charm!

I started my first class out with wordpress blogs, but my students found them confusing, and I had a hard time finding/orchastrating them. I was actually quite surprised at how difficult my students found it, as I was expecting them to have a better grasp of the technology than I did.

In my second go around, I moved over to Weebly (and completely overhauled my course). This solved a few problems for me. Firstly, it allowed me to create the usernames and passwords for my students, which solved the “Miss Thibeault! I don’t know my username or password” problem. Secondly, it had a better drag-and-drop-style interface that my students liked using. Once their sites were up and running, things went really smoothly. Lastly, it also let me move my class websites to one location. Previously, I’d been using wikispaces, but weebly seems to make more sense. I now have several pages that I use to keep track of daily work, as well as other classes. I’m still developing my site, but it is certainly user-friendly.

Now I’m on my third batch of Career 9 students. I reorganized my course even more than I did, and I also booked into the computer lab. I am trying to run this class without paper. I goofed and printed out a course outline on the first day, so I am on a mission to not printout another thing. We’ve even done tests without paper!

What is really inspiring about this though is the ownership this third class has over their sites. I give them their assignments, and they quite often do not have homework. However, a handful of students go home and post their own stuff on their sites. I now get a report from excited students the next class (it usually goes something like “Miss Thibeault! Did you read my blog last night??!?!?! I posted about this really cool thing! [Insert explanation almost word-for-word of what they posted]). I usually haven’t had a chance to check out their blogs the night before, but I always make a point of stopping what I’m doing to go see what they’ve been up to.

On of my students is into video games and animation. He asked me what my favourite animation program was. I really can’t say I’ve ever animated, so I told me all about his favourite sites. He and a partner used xtranormal for a presentation (they made it in under half an hour). He did a review on his site about the pros and cons. I have to say, it is pretty cool.

These conversations really drive how we are learning in the class. For instance, his xtranormal presentation got me thinking about how we can use that sort of technology in a productive, meaningful way. We are now going to be doing a mini-project recreating a video I have about resumes and interviews. I bought the video at Dollarama, but the quality is, well, AWFUL. What can you expect from a $2 movie? The information, however, is invaluable. I think I’ll split my class into small groups and get them to remake parts of the film (condensed), then splice them together to make one awesome video!

I am so grateful for my very engaged class. They are certainly making my job a ton of fun, easier, and more creative!

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