Using Blendspace In The Classroom
by Rachelle Dene Poth
Ed note: Blendspace has become/is now known as ‘TES Teach’
As I work on integrating more technology into my classroom, I’ve focused on what I thought was an area that could use some improvement, and found that there was a disconnect occurring.
I realized I needed a better way to communicate and collaborate with my students and for them to access help when they needed it and the resources that would help them to be successful. So for me, I started with Celly (a messaging app) and once I felt comfortable, then found ways to use Edmodo as our classroom LMS.
Once I felt like these were having a positive impact on my classroom, which came in the form of solving problems of lost papers, forgotten assignments, and missed learning opportunities due to class absences. I began searching for another way to make some improvements and found a tool called Blendspace.
Change takes time, there is no doubt, but we must persist when we take on any new venture. Sometimes it can take longer than we like because we run into difficulties and roadblocks. In the search for answers to your initial questions, new questions arise, And that is the nature of the game. it becomes an ongoing cycle that helps in the promotion of goal setting and growth as teachers.
How Does Blendspace Fit?
Blendspace is a tool that provides many possibilities and initially I used it as a method of curating resources and flipping my classroom. There are similar tools available, and regardless of which you choose, having one place to keep your resources is a really great idea. So how do you make the decision? How do you know which to rely on?
Looking at sites such as Graphite or EdShelf can help. Reading blogs and participating in Twitter chats are also great ways to find out what others are using and their thoughts. For example, using something like Graphite or EdShelf, you can get a summary of the uses of a web tool, read the reviews and stories about user experiences. Hearing about how other educators are using tools like Blendspace is tremendously helpful when deciding on what tool to integrate into your classroom.
3 Ways To Use Blendspace In The Classroom
1. Flip Your Classroom
I like Blendspace because it really does provide a variety of benefits to me both personally and professionally. It can be used as a way to flip the classroom and to save that vital classroom time for student interactions, engaging activities, or having students work independently while teachers facilitate their activities and provide feedback one-on-one.
Blendspace can be used to create a lesson using the TES Resources tab, then shared with students through their class account or through a direct link. Regardless of how the lesson is shared, students have access to many resources and can learn asynchronously outside of the classroom, on their own schedule, using whatever device they choose.
This means that, in ideal circumstances, learning can take place anywhere at any time. The choice is the students’ and that’s the great thing about technology and the usefulness of tools like Blendspace. It can also be used to store favorite web tools, presentations, or one’s personal work. It makes it easier to share ideas with colleagues, and organized teaching and learning materials with students.
2. Present Student Work In Class
Blendspace is a way to avoid fumbling with flash drives, losing valuable class time opening emails and attachments. All of the student projects can be added by their URL or uploaded into one lesson, given it a title, and in class, only one lesson has to be opened to display the student work for the class to enjoy.
3. Build A Lesson
Building a lesson for any level or discipline is easy with Blendspace. Simply choose your topic and by using the TES Resource tools provided such as Google Search, Educreations, Google Drive, Dropbox, uploads from your computer, and more, you can quickly build a lesson. All it takes is finding the resource and dragging it into place in your lesson.
You can add boxes, move items around, and no matter what you do it is done quickly. It really is a great way to share information, keep track of projects, and so much more. These are just some of the reasons why I am really happy that I found Blendspace and how its use has benefited my classroom. I recommend checking it out if you have not, and letting me know in the comments below what your experience was!