Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
You can use a free TES Teach with Blendspace account to create linear lessons to guide students through basic content. For instance, a middle school biology teacher could share a lesson about photosynthesis and upload links, images and videos, text, and short quizzes to help build student knowledge. Have students design their own grids to review for a test, curate resources for a passion project, or create presentations to share with their peers. Then mix up the delivery by creating a virtual gallery walk with links to students' projects, giving them an opportunity to provide feedback to their peers via the discussion tool. Looking to differentiate? Create a row of videos, a row of text, and a row of links to interactive tools, and let kids learn according to their preferred option. Alternatively, you can require kids to choose one from each row in order to gain perspective in a variety of ways.
Take advantage of the vast library of resources, including free and paid teacher-created lessons to share with your students (user ratings for different resources are helpful when deciding which content to include). Take the time to add a variety of resources to keep students on track and engaged as they move through the lesson. You can add directions and encourage discussion with the sidebar chat, too; just be sure to monitor student responses for relevance and appropriateness.
Holding students accountable for learning is a bit tricky. Other than the discussion tool, it's tough to know whether or not students are engaging with the resources; students who struggle to learn independently will likely need additional support as they move through the lessons. You'll want to create opportunities for assessment along the way to ensure that students are grasping the material. Blendspace can be a great addition to the classroom, but it doesn't replace instruction.Continue reading Show less
TES Teach with Blendspace is an easy-to-use multimedia lesson creation platform that students can access via website, Chrome app, or iPad app. Using a drag-and-drop gridded interface, teachers can search for and add videos, text, spreadsheets, images, quizzes, and other resources, then organize them to create lessons for their students to complete independently. To reorder content and improve lesson flow, teachers can simply drag and drop boxes within the grid. Teachers can pull content from just about anywhere: YouTube, Google, Flickr, and other online sources, as well as personal computers or cloud drives. Students access lessons via join code, or teachers can embed links into their learning management system (LMS).
Teachers who want to incorporate more blended learning into their classroom will appreciate the ease with which they can create and share lessons in TES Teach with Blendspace. Opportunities to differentiate via choice, learning preference, and level of difficulty are fairly easy to create. A carefully curated lesson has great potential to guide student learning whether kids are working independently as part of a flipped classroom or learning in a classroom setting.
Teachers will need to think carefully about instructional design when creating lessons. It can be tempting and quite easy to just drag a bunch of resources onto a grid and ask students to work independently, but without opportunities to process and reflect on the resources, kids will be left to make sense of the material on their own. The same goes for students: If teachers are asking them to create their own learning grids, they'll need to teach students design principles and information literacy concepts first. Otherwise, they may cobble together online content without considering the audience or learning much about the topic. Also, when students are choosing media, there's no education filter turned on for videos or images, so depending on the search term, inappropriate content may show up on the list of choices. One way to make Blendspace less risky and more creation-driven: Require students to use only content they create themselves online.