How I Use It
Blendspace allows users to choose from different media files: website articles, images, youtube videos, and you can type out or upload content from your own documents or Google drive. Since all content is editable and you can add as many files and descriptions as you want, it's great for any learner! The teacher can create lessons and share them with various classes/students by creating a class and giving students a 'class code.' I used Blendspace in my classroom of 7th graders as a basic introduction to a new unit. The lesson was very student-driven and instead of a teacher lecture of new material, the students were able to discover new ideas by themselves. The students did have to sign in to create an account, but it is pretty easy to understand. I did have a snapshot of the sign in page up for my students, along with the information for the class code, so that it was easier for the students and so they can automatically connect to the teacher's class materials. I did need to do a follow-up lesson afterwards, but Blendspace did allow for some initial student exploration and sparked some interest in the new topic. I also used Blendspace as a review at the end of the unit, where the students were able to explore various materials to prepare for a unit quiz. Students worked in small groups, reviewed the materials, watched videos together, and read and commented upon articles. Afterwards a few students mentioned that they liked being able to work independently better, so they could explore specific items instead of others, or spend more time on articles, but overall many students found it a helpful and mostly engaging resource. I was also able to create a quiz to help them review. Students are also able to comment on each individual file/video, and therefore communicate with each other in real time about what they see online.
Blendspace can also be used by the students to create their own lessons to share or present to others. The template is very easy, straight-forward, and user-friendly. There are several options for content and there is no minimum for what must be created before publication. The site can also be edited even after it is shared with others.
As a teaching tool, Blendspace seamlessly allows teachers to display any type of content through a variety of media types. The videos were a favorite with my students, but I found that it was the first thing the students went to and many did not read all of the articles/documents posted or see some of the photographs provided. In the future, I might limit it to 1-2 videos so that the students have enough time to visit the other files. I really liked that the students were able to comment on to the video, and in the future I would like to add that on to the requirements (and not optional), instead of solely working with their partner or whole-class discussions afterwards.
One thing that both my students and I found frustrating was that once the posted quiz was taken, the students were not able to reset it. The questions stayed marked as correct/incorrect, and they could not re-test later on. I also wish that Blendspace was a little more editable. The titles for each resource were small and not easily read until the box is selected. Even then the text is small and cannot be changed. However, overall, the site was easy to use, mostly interactive and engaging for students, and can be used in a variety of ways.