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“My name is Stephen Jennings, I work for the Durham Catholic District School Board and the Continuing Education. I teach everything from religion to philosophy, law, history, English.

Since Brightspace (through Ontario’s VLE) has come along, the tools that I use most often are the video note, not only for leaving instructions for my students on the lesson that is coming up for the day or maybe the unit, but also giving individual, rich feedback to each and every student individually so the when they log in and to get their feedback on how they’re doing on assignments, it’s very personal and it keeps my students around a lot longer.

Brightspace was a game changer for me as far as teaching. I don’t have to carry textbooks and I don’t have to carry around loose leaf paper for my students’ assignments. Everything is there in a digital area for me to carry with an iPad and respond to my students.

Most of my students are adults and for many of them, technology is a huge fear factor and I found that Brightspace, once they’re immersed into it, it’s a game changer for them as well. It really turns them on to education, they feel that they are way more savvy with technology than they were at the very beginning, and certainly I don’t think they would go back to carrying textbooks.

Brightspace has allowed my students to work on flexible time also outside of a regular classroom, which is really important for an adult educator. My students have other responsibilities outside of school, but it allows them to access the content, the material, and the teacher in a much more fluid manner when they’re not attending on a day-to-day basis.

One of the benefits that I have from using the [VLE] D2L or the Brightspace technology was for example, today when I’m at a conference and I was able to conduct a marking for my students while in between breaks, leaving them all personal feedback, it allows me to connect with my students on a different level, it allows it to be much more personalized for them and therefore they’re more engaged and their willing to take a little bit more of a risk because they feel that there’s somebody in there supporting them 24/7.

My favorite tool is the video note, obviously. I leave it in the morning for every class. I talk about units upfront, but my students can ask me questions back via the video note tool … D2L has another chat or an email option, so they can connect with me and I can leave them video notes. I also do it not only for the pre-class, but as giving them back rich feedback.

I think that every school should be using Brightspace. Every teacher should be using Brightspace and the D2L aspect will engage your students and they will have way more success than you can imagine.”

More about Brightspace in the Virtual Learning Environment
The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a dynamic learning platform, powered by D2L’s Brightspace. The VLE is provided by the Ministry of Education at no cost to Ontario publicly-funded teachers. Ontario’s VLE includes digital portfolios, assignments, rubrics, lessons linked to curriculum expectations, quizzes, and much more! To learn more or to access the VLE, please visit our website.

Category: Ontario Educator