For my first artifact in the 675 class I chose my digital lesson project. I chose this project because I was very please with how it turned out and I think it will be something I can use in my Earth Science class. This project fits most closely with ISTE educator standard 5: designer; where educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability (ISTE, n.d.). This project was created using Blendspace, a free online program that can be used to create interactive lessons, projects, presentations, and more (Create & Find, n.d.). This was something I had not tried before, and to be honest, was not something I had even thought about before. It was something that was completely new to me and I’m pleased that I was able to move out of my comfort zone and try something new.
One reason I enjoyed creating this project, is because it was very new to me. I like learning about new tools and seeing what they can do. I like to find new ways to teach topics in my classes, rather than using the same old ideas and methods every year. I also really liked that this lesson was all created in one place. Normally, the students have to visit 3 or 4 different websites to get all the information I want them to have. With the digital lesson on Blendspace, everything was in one place. They only had to worry about one website, one login screen. I also really liked the way all the information flows together and makes it very easy for the students to follow along and complete the assignment. Probably my favorite part of this project though, was that it is something that can easily be differentiated. I can add or remove certain pieces of information and make it unique to different students in my classes. According to the institutes on academic diversity, “learning activities may be differentiated on the basis of students’ readiness for learning the specific content or skill, their interests or their preferred ways of learning” (Differentiated Instruction, 2016). With digital lessons, I can create many different versions of the same lesson for all the various needs of my students.
One challenge creating the project, was that I sometimes had a hard time getting certain pieces of information into the program. There is a menu that lets you select options of how to incorporate your information, but it was a little tricky to use and not everything could be added easily. It took me much longer than I would have liked to get some items added to the project. That is time I don’t always have to waste, but I think that with some more practice using Blendspace, I can probably make the process go much smoother and faster.
This particular lesson I created covered plate tectonics, a lesson I spend quite a bit of time on in my Earth Science classes. I can very easily add this lesson into my curriculum and make the topic much more interesting for my students. I would post the link for the project onto my class website, and the students could access it from there. Because Blendspace allows students to log in with their google information, my students don’t have to remember any separate user names or passwords. I also created two separate lessons, one for students who are on target and one for students who are struggling. This will allow me to determine which students should complete which lesson. It allows me to differentiate the lesson much more efficiently this way, and the students should get more out of the lesson.
As I mentioned above, I am very pleased with how this project turned out. It forced me as an educator to learn a new tool and to create something completely different than anything I have used before. I’m looking forward to trying it out with my students and really putting it to the test.
Create & Find Free Multimedia Lessons. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.tes.com/lessons
ISTE Standards FOR EDUCATORS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
What is Differentiated Instruction? (2016, October 07). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from http://differentiationcentral.com/what-is-differentiated-instruction/