Review by Mary Beth Hertz, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013

TES Teach with Blendspace

Create multimedia lessons with engaging but not-so-interactive style

Common Sense Says:
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Grades
3-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Design is great, and the option to create lessons that students can view at home is a bonus.

Cons: It focuses mostly on delivering content; there could be more room for interactivity.

Bottom Line: Blendspace allows you to incorporate lots of multimedia resources but can still be confusing for students.

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 create a lesson about photosynthesis and upload images and videos, plus his or her own text, to help build student knowledge. You can also quiz students as they move through material using Blendspace's multiple-choice quiz builder. Using the embed code and share links provided by Blendspace for each lesson, you're also able to add a lesson to your classroom website or to a learning management system like Edmodo or Google Classroom. Teachers can also ask students to remix lessons or create their own. These lessons could be shared with the rest of the class for feedback or for homework review purposes. However, these remixes aren't necessarily a valid form of assessment, as a lesson can be cobbled together from online content without having to know much about the topic. You can make use of the gallery of lessons  available to teachers who may want ideas. Blendspace can be a great addition to the classroom, but it doesn't replace instruction. 

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TES Teach with Blendspace is an easy-to-use platform for creating multimedia lessons that kids can access online (via website, Chrome app, or iPad app). Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can organize videos, text, links, images, and quizzes into cubes, then organize them to create lessons for your students to complete independently. Content can be pulled from YouTube, Google, Flickr, and other online sources, as well as your own computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. There's also a bookmarking tool that lets you add websites to your Blendspace collection.

Students can then move through the content in a linear fashion, responding to prompts in a sidebar comment area or taking quizzes along the way. They can also create their own lessons that can be private or shared, or remix a lesson. With a free teacher account, you can create unlimited classes of up to 35 students. Free school accounts allow for unlimited classes with an unlimited number of students. To join a class, students use a join code that you provide. 

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Videos are often a good match for learners who are interacting with content for the first time or want to revisit a tricky concept, and there are lots of ways to pull from YouTube or create your own video content for kids here. The commenting feature also allows for some limited interaction between students as well as a way to interact with the content. Still, a student who doesn't understand a concept from a TES Teach with Blendspace lesson doesn't have any tools to help him or her attempt to learn the content in a new way. One way to make Blendspace more creation-driven: Require students to use only content they create themselves online. 

A few drawbacks: Blendspace's focus is on direct instruction and sharing of info in a lecture-style format, and quizzes can only be multiple choice.  Also, when students are choosing media, there's no education filter turned on for videos, so depending on the search term, inappropriate videos may show up on the list of choices.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

The use of video will engage many learners and the commenting feature allows for interaction with content. Still, learning is very linear. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Kids get an opportunity to learn through watching videos, reading text, and taking multiple-choice quizzes. However, the teaching and learning style can be overly linear & lecture-centric.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

The site has community forums and a knowledgebase to address most user needs.


Common Sense Reviewer
Mary Beth Hertz Classroom teacher

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