Blendspace

Looking for an easy way to incorporate digital media into your classroom? With Blendspace, you can create entire lessons that blend digital and traditional learning in less than five minutes, complete with built-in assessments.

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There are several ways teachers are using Blendspace in the classroom:

  1. Flipping the classroom. Find, aggregate, and share online content, such as videos, images, PDFs, and even Google Docs. Students comment or take notes alongside the content. Flipping the classroom is a concept in its infancy that many teachers are experimenting with, as it provides for more active learning assessment via in-class concept engagement. Check out this infographic for more on theĀ flipped classroom concept.
  2. Student assignments. From building presentations to compiling research for a written topic analysis, Blendspace is useful for facilitating many types of student assignments. Blendspace provides students with opportunities “to practice and demonstrate 21st Century learner skills.”
  3. Differentiated lessons. Personalized learning is critically important in the included classrooms that exist today, yet it’s increasingly difficult to accomplish the level of differentiation that’s actually required to successfully bridge students to the appropriate benchmarks. Blendspace makes it easy to differentiate instruction, allowing you to create customized lessons with student-specific content and individualized assessments in a fraction of the time.

You can also discover and search for other lessons for inspiration and collaborate with other teachers to provide consistent learning experiences. Organize your lessons by class and invite students using a class URL and code.

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The hallmark of Blendspace is the ability to create built-in assessments and track both student participation and achievements. Create your own quizzes, and easily see how much time your students have spent in different sections and pages, as well as how much they’ve joined in the discussion with comments. Another key benefit is that students who miss class can easily catch up by completing Blendspace lessons at home.

Blendspace even enables students to provide feedback via a like/dislike rating system to help you gear future lesson planning to student interests. A help request system lets you easily see areas in which students are struggling, adapt content if needed, and offer individualized support and guidance. And, if you’re on Edmodo, you can share the lessons you create in Blendspace with your Edmodo groups.

Because Blendspace is digital, students can view content at home for reinforcement, or you can use the platform to create more complex and engaging homework assignments. Teachers offer built-in guidance through sidebar comment prompts and/or voice prompts, giving the lessons a more personal feel, even when students aren’t in the classroom. Despite Blendspace’s great design options and lesson-planning functionality, its drag-and-drop interface couldn’t be simpler for even technologically-challenged teachers to master.

One downside is that quizzes offer only multiple-choice response format, which is pretty limited compared to the assessment styles most teachers prefer. That said, the multiple-choice structure does serve as a decent measure of how well students are grasping the material throughout lessons and can provide some insight into concepts which may need to be revisited or reinforced.

This can be helpful in modifying your classroom instruction to more specifically target the most challenging concepts for students, and learning can always be assessed outside of Blendspace using other formats. Another possible workaround to the limitations of the multiple-choice assessment format is to create more advanced assessments, including writing prompts or other open-ended questions in Google Drive and incorporating those documents into your Blendspace lesson (or, as Blendspace calls them, “Canvases”).

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So if you’ve been tossing around the idea of flipping your classroom, looking for ways to bring technology into student projects, or you’re simply looking for better ways to engage students by blending digital tools with traditional classroom instruction, Blendspace is definitely worth checking out. It’s free for teachers to create unlimited classes with up to 35 students, so there’s nothing to lose.

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