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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
Hello educators and welcome to Teacher Tips. This week we're exploring Blendspace which is an online lesson planning tool that allows you to quickly pull digital resources from all over the web to create lessons. You can then share those lessons with your students. The best part, it integrates a bunch of digital resources packed with free videos, graphics, images, and documents that can help save you time in preparing lesson content for your students. In this video, we're going to create a quick lesson plan from scratch. Then in the next video, we'll explore how to use pre-prepared lessons by other Blendspace users.
Let's go ahead and get started. Here in my web browser, I've already navigated to blendspace.com and logged in to my Blendspace account. Creating an account is free and takes only a few minutes. You can also log in using your existing Google or Facebook account. To get started, I'm going to go ahead and click on New Lesson in the upper left-hand corner. As my new lesson's created, the first step is to go ahead and give a title to your lesson, or your canvas. I'm going to create a simple lesson for my students that they can use as a resource as we explore Trick Art in the classroom. So I'll go ahead and call this canvas Exploring Trick Art.
I'll click OK, and I can now see at the top of the canvas, the name has been updated. Before we start adding resources to this lesson, let's go ahead and explore the Blendspace layout. Here at the top, I've got a basic navigation menu where I can choose from pre-defined Templates or Themes. I can use the Play button to preview how my lesson looks, and I can even Print my lesson. You'll also notice that Blendspace automatically saves your work as you move throughout it. That way in case your laptop battery dies, any changes you've made to your lesson plan will be automatically added. The middle of the page, or the canvas area is where the actual lesson is built.
At the top we have a title and simply clicking on the title will allow you to change it at any time. Directly below the title, we have a variety of blocks, each block will make up one component of your lesson. To add components to a block, all I have to do is find the components on the right-hand side navigation and simply drag them over. I can also click to add text to a block or even add a quiz directly inside of Blendspace. Here on the right-hand side in the resource browser, we have the opportunity to search for lesson materials. These lesson materials are pulled from a variety of sources around the internet including things like YouTube, Google, Educreations, even web addresses.
We can upload our own media or files or we can select files from Dropbox or Google Drive. And if I've bookmarked pages on the Internet, I can also pull those bookmarks directly into my lessons. I'm going to go ahead and add some resources to our Exploring Trick Art lesson, and I'm just going to start by searching for the word Art. The default search is in YouTube. And, I can see in YouTube, the third video down is Trick Art on Paper. And this could be a great way to build some engagement from our students around the ideas of Trick Art. I'm simply going to click on this video, hold down my mouse, and drag it over to the first block.
When I release, I can now see that that video has been added to the first section of this particular lesson. As I head to the next resource which is Google, here I'd like to find an image that students can look at to be inspired about Trick Art. In the third column down, there's a great image I think my students would enjoy, and I'm going to go ahead and drag it over, so my students can review that image as part of this lesson. The last thing I'd like to add as a resource, is a website. I'm simply going to click on the Insert Webpage button. I have a web address already copied into my clipboard, and I'll paste it with the keyboard shortcut of Cmd+V, or Ctrl+V on the PC.
I'll then hit Enter, and Blendspace is going to automatically go out to the web and find that website. I can see that it's a link for a Trick Art Museum, and I'm going to make this web link available to my students as part of this lesson. Once again, I'll simply click on the resource and drag it over to the block where I'd like it. So at this point, we have a video, an image, and a website, as resources for students to use as we're exploring Trick Art. If I wanted to, I could upload a document or an assignment. I could also choose to add quizzes or text in this lesson, as well. Once I've got my lesson completely finished, it's now time to share with our students.
Clicking the Share button in the upper right-hand corner brings up a variety of options. The first option is, I can simply copy and paste that link and send it out to my students. Directly from inside Blendshare, I can also send this to Edmoto, Twitter, get the code to embedded on my own website. I can Email the link, send it to Facebook, or even create a QR code that students can scan with their mobile device. Let's quickly take a look at how this lesson will appear for our students. I'm going to copy the lesson link using the keyboard shortcut of Cmd+C or Ctrl+C on the PC, open up a new tab in my web browser and then paste it in.
Here, I can quickly see how the lesson will appear to students. As student go to the link, they have the opportunity now to interact with the various blocks that we've created in the lesson. Students can also then send it to their own Edmoto, tweet the lesson, or add it through a variety social media. In addition to your student's access in this lesson, this particular lesson is now part of the Blendspace community, so other teachers can find it and use it. In the next video, we'll talk about how we can find another teacher's resources, adapt it for our own classroom and save time as we continue to lesson plan using Blendspace.
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