Blendspace is an easy-to-use platform for creating multimedia lessons that kids can access online. Using a drag-and-drop interface, you can organize videos, text, links, images, and quizzes into cubes, then organize them to create lessons, or "canvases, " 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. A paid premium account allows students to collaborate with each other on lessons, allows users to record audio, and provides an extra layer of technical support for the school.
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 Blendspace lesson doesn't have any tools to help him or her attempt to learn the content in a new way. With a paid Premium account, users can collaborate on lessons in a Google Docs-like fashion. While this does add a social aspect to the site, you're still locked into creating linear-style lessons based on delivering content. One way to make Blendspace more creation-driven: Require students to use only content they create themselves online.
A few drawbacks: Blendspace's focus 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.
You can use a free Blendspace account to create linear lessons for up to 35 students to guide students through basic content. For instance, a middle school biology teacher could create a canvas 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 canvas, you're also able to add a canvas to your classroom website or to a Learning Management System like Edmodo. Teachers can also ask students to remix canvases or create their own. These canvases 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 canvases available to teachers who may want ideas. With a paid account, you can ask students to collaborate on lessons. Blendspace can be a great addition to the classroom, but it doesn't replace instruction.