5 Edtech Tools for the Blended Learning Classroom
Is Blended Learning a catchphrase that will be replaced or is it a term that will stick around as long as 21st Century Learning? In my opinion, Blended Learning is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Blended Learning is a vague blanket term that encompasses many teaching strategies such as: Personalized Learning, Flipped Learning, Mastery-Based Learning, Station Rotation, Project-Based Learning, Remote or Distance Learning, etc. When you break down these strategies you will notice that they all have popular components of lesson design that are congruous with the focus of the Four C’s of 21st Century Learning (collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication). If you take this a step further, students and teachers tend to gravitate towards these types of lessons over the traditional “sage on the stage” lecture formats.
The purpose of this blog is to talk about 5 websites that will engage students and take your Blended Learning classroom to the next level! These websites are used to help students be more engaged with their learning by strengthening the roots of their content knowledge!
When I taught science for the first twelve years of my career, Blendspace was one of my favorite websites! Basically, think of this website as the ultimate playlist! As a teacher, you make an account and start building a lesson. You will see several boxes that you can drop resources into. The resources can be images, urls, videos, and recordings just to name a few. What is really awesome is you can do a google search for images, videos, and content from inside the site and drag them onto your playlist all within the site!
Pin-up is a very simplistic tool to learn and use. Pinup is a web-based canvas for creating and storing sticky notes. You can customize the sticky-notes by changing the color, size, and location on the canvas. You can add other visuals as well such as a photo, “to-do” list, or a video. Each canvas can also turn into a collaborative canvas by copying a link that you can share with your students or colleagues!
Thinglink is a fantastic tool for annotating images! Simply, upload a picture that you want to annotate onto the thinglink site and then start annotating! You can select from many different types of icons that you can add to your image. Once the icons are placed, you can add a title, text, image, video, and subtitles. I love using thinglink when I make content-based puzzles (more on that in another blog post)!
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The Juice Learning platform brings content-specific current events that are aligned with the standards into your classroom. One amazing feature of this edtech tool is that each current event can be presented to the student at the reading level of that student. The teacher selects the reading level from any of the four reading level options for each student. This tool fits the scope of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Personalized Learning teaching strategies.
BookWidgets is a tool that I stumbled upon recently and featured in GotTechED the Podcast, Episode 103:10 Edtech Swiss Army Knife Tools. BookWidgets allows a teacher to create their own interactive exercises and get near-instant feedback from their students. In the data-driven age of teaching, being able to have access to data is essential in making decisions about how to address misconceptions found in student learning. Teachers have over 40 activities to choose from in order to keep the mini-activities fresh and enjoyable for the students!