Nicole Stevens is a Music teacher and Campus Innovation Connector for Casis ES.
BLEND is what Austin ISD calls its implementation of the Canvas LMS.
I want to talk about how I consistently use Blend in my classroom with grades 3-5 and how it benefits my students and myself. A lot of teachers have gone away from using Blend after we stopped teaching virtually. However, a good number of teachers have continued to use Blend and have found it to be an excellent tool. I am one of those teachers.
I use Blend in more than one way in my classroom. I do not use Blend for all activities/lessons. However, I use it quite a bit. The first way that I use Blend is for station rotations. I always have a technology station when doing station rotations. One thing I really love about using Blend for station rotations is that I can differentiate for students and incorporate a lot of voice and choice. Although voice and choice can be used with any activity, I find it super simple to do in Blend specifically. I also use Blend in my classroom for practicing music and for students that would like an extra assignment for practice. The benefits for me using Blend are as follows: I can use all of my templates including things from my google drive; the rich content editor allows me to add images, videos and links to internal and external tools; I can leave real-time feedback for my students; I can integrate outside sources like Quaver, YouTube, Chrome Music Lab, and specific websites; There is an ease of grading or I can use SpeedGrader; We can have group discussions and I can see which students have accessed their assignments and when they accessed the assignments.
Blend benefits my students in the following ways: They can access assignments easily inside and outside of school; They can message me when they have a problem; they can access group assignments without having to go to another student’s home; it provides a safe platform or discussions; students know which assignments are graded and how many points they can earn; they can make an audio recording for a playing assignment that I can view in my own time frame and their parents can observe what they are doing. Certainly, there are a lot more advantages for the students and myself, but these are the ones that stand out for my classroom.
My students have become experts on how to use Blend for my assignments. Using Blend for practice assignments and also for extra credit assignments has freed up my class time to do more things. I am able to cover so much more material and add in supplemental material because of the use of Blend. I am so thankful for this tool on a daily basis. My classroom and my teaching are better for the use of Blend as an additional tool in conjunction with my more traditional classroom teaching.