Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Getting the students to do the bulk of the work in school is the goal, isn’t it? When planning a lesson, we need to ask ourselves two questions, “What is the teacher doing?” and “What is the student doing?” If the teacher is working harder than the students, then we are going home too tired. Wouldn’t it make an interesting study or action research project to observe classroom time when students and/or teachers are working? If you were to observe a teacher lecturing, presenting or modeling the whole class period while the students are listening or maybe taking notes, the teacher is doing the majority of the work. If the students are reading, researching, rewriting, rephrasing, consuming information, collaborating about what they learned and creating something with their findings, they are doing the work. With more and more school districts offering BYOD or getting devices for their students, it’s critically important to teach differently. Students need us to help them use those devices for lifelong learning. This “tuesdays” is a glimpse into a way students can display what they have learned after researching, listening, collaborating and putting their ideas into a unique format.

A creative website

Blendspace, formally known as Educanvas, is a FREE place on the web for students and teachers to organize and share information on the web, measure student understanding and track student progress in real time.  Teachers are using Blendspace to “flip” their classroom, for student space to upload projects for project-based learning and giving different students opportunities and modes of learning. It is absolutely FREE for a single teacher with unlimited number of classes with up to 35 students in a class. It will even hold up to 100 active lessons. It becomes even more powerful at the school level (still FREE) with unlimited hosting for all teachers and students and even admin accounts to help with implementation.  If you choose to jump up to the Premium version, there are a few sweet (worth the money) features:
  • Voice commands
  • Google Docs style collaboration
  • Private webinar training

An image to share.
Sand sculpture at Manatee Elementary

A proverb

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

An encouragement

If you are looking for a convenient way to host student work in a graphically beautiful way, or to present your lessons for them, Blendspace is a definitely option. I encourage you to try it out for your school. Be a beta tester and if you get excited about it with your students, it will become contagious. Once there are a group of teachers at a school using Blendspace, sharing is maximized. As I observe many teachers attempting to “flip” their classrooms, they have no real way of monitoring if the students have watched the lesson. In Blendspace, there is a lesson tracker that affords your students the ability to make comments, ask questions and track which students in your classes have viewed your lessons. They can even give “thumbs up” to their favorite resources you have provided. If you are going to do all the work of recording your lessons, why not put them up in a place that will give you insight into whether the students are actually getting anything out of all your work. In fact, create lessons that require that they do the work! Isn’t that what teaching and learning is all about?

How do you do that?

How do you use Blendspace? First, you need to create an account. (what a surprise!) Don't forget, it really is FREE. Once you get into your account, Blendspace provides a 30 second tutorial on how to begin a lesson. It’s amazing and very encouraging. I chose Multiplication Tables as my topic and I was able to search with a panel on the right for videos on the web from You Tube, Teacher Tube or any web format. You can even upload your own videos or other digital files. It’s pretty amazing.  This is my first lesson made in about 10 minutes. Just think how good it would be if I actually storyboarded it and took my time! Be sure to watch the video about multiplication with your hands. If you prefer to check it out on your Smartphone or tablet, just scan this QR code.  What a cool site. I could definitely get into this!

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

1 comment:

Rebekah Richey said...

I love reading this and it makes me so want to get involved when life is a little slower...