One of the challenges of teaching science to sixth graders is that many of the most common lab procedures and processes are new to them. Everything from identifying constants and variables to using lab equipment properly can lead to a slew of questions and slow groups to a steady crawl.
That’s why I started tinkering with Blendspace — a digital tool that makes it possible for users to create a landing page filled with content that users can consume. I figured that if I could point students to one site that could answer all of their questions, lab time would be more manageable for me and more productive for my kids.
Need to see a sample of Blendspace in action? Check out this one, covering important information for a lab we are currently completing:
Each tile on the Blendspace represents a piece of content that will help students to successfully complete their lab. Students can work through the space in order from beginning to end by hitting the “Play” button at the top of the screen OR they can click on the icons in the bottom right hand corner of each tile to explore individual resources answering specific questions.
Creating my Blendspace was a breeze.
After planning out all the content that I thought my students would need in order to successfully complete our lab, I sat behind my cell phone camera to record and upload my videos directly to YouTube. Adding those same videos to Blendspace tiles was a one-click process. The other content — links to online tutorials or videos, links to individual Google Docs, text-based slides sharing directions and/or information — were just as easy to add.
Putting this Blendspace together — recording videos, organizing content, adding tiles, making a short link with Bitly — probably took about 90 minutes from start to finish. That’s TOTALLY worth it if it helps students to answer their own questions during our labs AND if I plan to use the same lab in future years. Better yet, my Blendspace will help other teachers on my learning team who are teaching the same lab — saving everyone a ton of time and energy.
I see potential in Blendspace because it’s a tool that solves a specific problem for me.
Providing students with recorded directions and organized sets of materials for every lab promotes independence and frees me up to interact more meaningfully with the kids in my classroom.
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