Monday, March 17, 2014

Using Blendspace with Nonfiction Books (formerly Edcanvas)






Recently, our media center students used Blendspace to showcase their knowledge on a nonfiction book they recently read.  Blendspace is a free educational tool for teachers and students.  Teachers register with their email address and receive a class code for their students to use.  This makes it much easier to assess student projects using Blendspace because you can access all of the presentations under your teacher login once students register (with the class code) and join your class.



What is Blendspace?  Blendspace is a presentation/curation tool that stores various type of texts and media files in a modular format.


One of the things I really like about Blendspace is the ability to easily search, access, drag, and drop content within the Blendspace application itself.  It has a great toolbar that accesses Google image and web, Flickr, and YouTube videos.  Blendspace users also can access Google Drive and upload their own files. Additional options include linking to other webpages.  Students have the ability to annotate resources by adding comments (either by recording their own audio file or by typing in notes or comments).  There's even a thumbs-up "Like" that can be added to Blendspace tiles.



My media center students enjoyed using Blendspace.  I like giving them the capability to create a presentation that can include several different types of media and text (audio, text, pictures, website links, video, ppt. slides, etc).  This projects supports CCSS in its emphasis on including different text types and digital media to represent information on the same topic.  Students are analyzing the content and subject of their nonfiction books and curating different types of resources that relate to their nonfiction reading.


Personally, Blendspace interface seems to me a bit boring.  I would enjoy seeing more interactive elements as you play the presentation.  The students, however, really seemed to enjoy it.

One of our students, who frequently doesn't complete assignments, loved working on his Blendspace!  We all know technology can be a great motivator.  This student, however, even seemed reluctant to work on a music video using Animoto.

Why did Blendspace, specifically, appeal to him?  I am not exactly sure.....

BUT it definitely convinces me that it is also a worthwhile educational tool to use with secondary students.


You can find Blendspace projects completed by our students below:


Check out the lesson American Indian Mythology on Blendspace: