While sifting through my daily 400 Tweets yesterday, looking for anything interesting to help encourage more student engagement, I came across this new platform for presenting materials, BLENDSPACE (formerly known as Edcanvas). I was very impressed by its ease of use, quirkiness, and overall functionality. I will explain below how to use it through some screen shots, and then share with you a grammar lesson I made on another platform, but have now switched the content to Blendspace.
First you need to sign up as either a teacher or student.
Once you have done that it is a case of getting started on making your own canvas for sharing with your students. In fact, there is a short tutorial the platform makers have included, but I didn't even need to open that because they have made it so teacher-friendly to go it alone.
So you click on New Canvas and you are asked to give a title to your project. In this case, Mixed Conditionals, and Men In Black 1,2 & 3. On the right of the platform you have options for searching through all the most common media search tools from Google to YouTube, Flickr and Vimeo. In this case, YouTube is my chosen platform since I am using three movie trailers from the MIB franchise.
After typing in the film title the optioned videos appear. You simply slide the video over onto the canvas, and hey presto, you have the video ready for presenting to students. However, there are rows of three boxes which you can further fill with information or more visuals. So, what better than to make some questions that will get your students to respond to the videos. So, by tapping on the box, the option to write text is activated. You can see that I have prepared questions in mixed conditional forms, so that my students can see how they are written, used as questions and then they are expected to respond using conditionals themselves.
Happy with the questions I realized that I would do well to introduce the activity by an image of each movie trailer. So, back over to the search area I went. Google images comes up automatically, and I typed in Men in Black. All you do is slide the image over to the appropriate box. I decided to switch the video out and place it in the second box, thus leaving the first box empty and available for the picture. I now have my first row of activity stimuli in
2: The video itself
3: The questions I want students to work n and respond to.
In the case of MIB, I have the option to add parts two and three. But, you could add whatever is necessary to complete the activity you have given
Now, that you have your canvas, you can share it across Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo or as an embedded code in your blog. There is also the option to send the link via email, but I think posting it on Edmodo, my class PLN will act as an even more affective option. Now my students have access to it and it is a great add on to my homework paradigm, and one that my students have responded favourably this morning.
I believe that BLENDSPACE is going to become very popular with teachers and students alike. This blog goes out to the awesome developers who posted this yesterday on Twitter. I also want to thank them for their tweet they sent to me where they thanked me for their interest. I guess this post is like a thank you to them, and I really hope you try it out for yourselves.