Making a change

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I'm going to share some brainstorming I'm doing as I prepare for the upcoming semester.

I've decided to make a shift in my class. I've spent a lot of time trying to make sure my students understand the basics of many types of software - a lot of them being part of the Adobe Creative Suite. As the semesters go by, most students "get" Photoshop, sort of understand Illustrator and struggle with the basics of Flash. I demand they learn a blog tool, a blog writing style and build their own online portfolio website.

My long term goal with my class is to send my students out into the journalism world with a thought process that instantly thinks about the many ways you can tell a story and share with your audience. If there's a very visual story, I want them to default to shooting video and images with their phones and sharing it on Twitter and/or Facebook while also using their professional grade cameras to share the story on the air and more edited versions online. I want them to want to send a short web story via email to the newsroom so there's enough information to post as soon as the information is confirmed. I want them to feel comfortable writing for the web and telling a story outside the standard broadcast package. I want my students to think in a flexible manner. I'm starting to think I need to spend more time on that flexible thought process and less on the software.

One of my colleagues started using to train students on software and I decided that I'd give that a try as well. This coming semester, I'm asking my students to take part in five different courses on the site that focus on Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash. The one thing I have decided on is how I will gauge their learning experience with the website training.

I am not a fan of babysitting my students - I want them to learn and get everything they can from my class, but I understand each person has different expectations and needs from their education. I want each person to at least walk away knowing there are many tools that can help enhance and improve their journalistic adventures. Not every person will leave with a thorough understanding of all of those tools. But I want them to think about it and ask for help if they have a great idea on how to tell a story.  I do need to find ways to assess how each student benefits (or doesn't benefit) from using Any ideas are welcome!!

BTW - I'm adding the new Twitter "Tweet Button" to this post for the fun of it (and to see how it looks)