Tech Tool of the Month: TES Blendspace Part 1

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TES Blendspace allows you to create interactive online lessons. Perfect for blended learning, flipped learning, or traditional instruction, this tool offers suggested resources based on your topic. You also have the option to search all of Blendspace’s resources (shared by other educators). You can create your own lessons and activities or upload files/resources from YouTube, Google Images, Flickr, a web page, Google Drive, Dropbox, and others. The resources appear in a grid on your screen, and students can work at their own pace through the activities. 


Applying the Triple E Framework

The Triple E Framework, created by Dr. Liz Kolb, is built on the belief that “effective technology integration begins with good instructional strategies and not fancy tools.” Dr. Kolb wrote a book on the topic: Learning First, Technology Second. Technology can be used to Engage in learning goals, Enhance learning goals, or Extend learning goals. We can use this framework to decipher why we are using specific tools in the classroom. Here is a rubric we can use to evaluate TES Blendspace (and any others) using the Triple E Framework. Use the rubric as you decide if a tool is a good fit with your learning goals and why you should (or shouldn’t) use the technology tool in the lesson. 

  • Engage in learning goals: The students are more focused on the task because they are engaged in the online activities as they work at their own pace through the activities and have the information “in chunks.” The chunking allows them to feel accomplished as they complete each of the tasks. TES Blendspace has no extra distractions or advertisements to divert students’ attention from the content and activities. The activities also have a note and comment area on the left side of the screen for students to take notes and interact to stay engaged.
  • Enhance learning goals: TES Blendspace allows teachers to scaffold the learning, making it easier to understand concepts and ideas. Students use technology to make connections. Activities are not isolated in workbooks or stand-alone; they all connect to a common theme (for example, this one is all about Shakespeare). TES Blendspace allows teachers (or students) to create paths for learning. There is a choice available if some students need specific areas for review or acceleration. Students have the choice to select where to go. The variety of activities available to incorporate at TES Blendspace allows for critical thinking and creativity that is enhanced by the technology tools (videos, slideshows, online quizzes, and others).
  • Extend learning goals: Dr. Kolb describes extended learning as an opportunity for students to learn outside of their typical school day, connect and collaborate outside of the regular school day, and as a bridge between the school day and real-life experiences. TES Blendspace could be used for flipped or blended learning. The activities could be completed outside of the classroom. Students could collaborate outside of the school day, depending on which activities you are using. For example, if you are sharing a Padlet or Google Doc, students could collaborate on the document. TES Blendspace allows you to insert any web page onto the grid, so it would be easy to add your own Padlets. You can also use the search option to search for Padlets that are already available within the TES Blendspace resources. Students could also work collaboratively in class, working in small groups would be a very purposeful choice, as fewer devices would be required, and students could help each other through the steps of the assignment. The independent learning and activities required when using TES Blendspace can help students to build skills used in everyday lives outside of the classroom environment. We are preparing our students for a world that doesn’t exist yet; however, most jobs do require independent motivation and activities. TES Blendspace and the activities will also help to prepare students for learning beyond the classroom, as they will likely need to use digital tools and follow a designed plan in their future employment and personal life. 


SAMR Connection

The SAMR Model, by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, suggests that technology implementation has four levels. We can use this model as a guideline to analyze how we are incorporating technology tools in the classroom. Depending on how you are using TES Blendspace, it could be connected to various levels on the SAMR Model. 

  • Modification: The level of modification allows us to make the activity something that is more integrated with technology, meaning the activity could not even be done without technology. For example, if students are doing a research project, TES Blendspace allows students to curate their resources and ideas onto the grids. This could even be a collaborative group research project, as other group members could also add to the grid. 
  • Redefinition: The highest level of SAMR could be reached by sharing students’ final projects and offering feedback to others. Once the TES Blendspace grids are created, have groups share the URLs to the projects with the class. Redefinition is easily achieved with TES Blendspace since nearly every page (not the online quizzes) offers the option to leave comments or notes. Students could leave feedback directly on the page. The teacher may want to require groups (or individuals) to leave comments on a specific number of activities. Consider criteria including leaving a positive comment, a suggestion on how to improve, and a question about the activity or content. 

Don’t miss Part 2 of the Tech Tool of the Month: TES Blendspace. We will discuss how to use the tool and provide classroom use ideas. In the meantime, let us know in the comment section below how you have used TES Blendspace in your education setting. 

About the author: Melissa Henning

Melissa Henning is the Educational Content Manager for Source for Learning, the non-profit parent company of TeachersFirst. She has over 16 years of experience in education. Melissa is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences.

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