How I Use It
Blendspace is honestly my favorite go-to tech tool. As a computer teacher, I have used it to curate entire units for each grade level. For example, I've created a 3rd grade unit on Microsoft Word. Thanks to the drag-and-drop ease of Blendspace's interface, that unit includes videos, diagrams, interactive websites, games, worksheets that can be printed, screencasts, and assessments that I've created!
You start with what looks like a blank tic-tac-toe grid. On the right of your screen are a variety of sources from which you can pull content. (YouTube, Google, Flickr, Gooru, etc.) You literally just type keywords in and the search function finds materials for you! Once you preview the materials (and I strongly advise that), you can just drag them over and populate those empty boxes.
I always start with the final assessment or benchmark in mind. Once I have a list of what I want the students to be able to do or know, I populate the Blendspace with resources that I find or already have. An example of this is when I helped teachers to create the 4th grade Science Unit. We took their benchmark exam and each of the 5 of us took certain questions. We used the handy search tool in Blendspace to look for interesting ways to cover the content, and then embedded those in the blank boxes. Often, one video or interactive game covered many of the learning objectives, so the Blendspace can really vary in length and complexity.
Speaking of complexity, Blendspace is an excellent way to differentiate! You can include enrichment activities near the end for those students who are ready for more, and the fact that students can work through the activities/lessons at their own pace and on their own time makes Blendspace the perfect way for your needier students to have all the opportunity they need to access/review content!
Additionally, Blendspace has a huge database of Blendspaces created by other users! You can easily copy these to your own dashboard and then edit them to make them your own. Their FAQ section is phenomenal, as is their response time on Twitter.
I must admit, I've not really taken advantage of one of their most popular features - creating a class. As a computer teacher who sees over 500 students, I generally just make the link available to students. However, teachers in my district love Blendspace for the analytics that are provided when they set up their own class of students. In this way, students log in and may take embedded Blendspace quizzes. All of the results from those quizzes are beautifully displayed in analytic charts.
Some of our teachers have considered using Blendspace to create an entire marking period worth of teaching resources!
I really do believe that Blendspace is an awesome tool for creating full multimedia units. I recommend that teams of teachers work together to curate resources for their subject, theme, or department. These curated Blendspaces can then be updated as needed, and they really facilitate team development of a well-developed shared resources.
Quite honestly, Blendspace is the tool I recommend to others most often.