37 Blended Learning Resources You Can Use Tomorrow

by Dr. Justin Marquis
Remixing the curriculum – compiling resources from a variety of sources such as free online texts, proprietary information from publishers, and self-created media such as podcasts – is starting to push its way into K-12 and higher education. Get ahead of the curve with these tips for remixing your own online course materials.
Gathering the Ingredients Before Remixing Like any course development process, there is a good deal of research that goes into remixing the contents of a new or existing class curriculum. Beyond your own knowledge and expertise, providing high-quality resources for your students is the key to a successful class. This is just as true for a course which relies heavily or exclusively on free online resources. There is no need to dive right into the deep end though.
Consider including a small selection of remixed materials at first and expand each time you teach the class. Start shopping early and evaluate materials you find with the same eye towards fulfilling or supporting your course objectives that you would normally use. Where you look for these materials will depend on the content of your course, but some general places to start searching for learning resources, free texts, and videos are:
Free Courseware
Free Online Texts
Video Resources
Remember, as will all sources from the Internet, you will want to confirm the validity of each one that you choose to include in a class. To a large extent, there is no easy way to tell how credible a source that you find online is. Use your professional judgment when choosing.
Choosing the Right Blender Once you have determined the content of your course, you will need to figure out a vehicle for delivering it to your students – or, to use the metaphor in question, mix all the ingredients together. This can, of course be done using a traditional LMS platform such as Blackboard or Moodle, but while those platforms are generally robust enough to do the job, neither one will do the job elegantly and seamlessly. There are several new options available that might just help you put together a killer curriculum that is as good looking as it is informative. These options range from text-based, to process-based instructions, and visual representations. Play with them to see which one suits your content, teaching style, and students’ level of self-directedness.
  • MentorMob – This robust new platform allows you to create “learning playlists” of resources that can lead your students through an entire process – either a single lesson, or the entire course.
  • Pearltrees – This Firefox extension allows you to capture content from the Web and graphically organize it into meaningful patterns. It also has a nice option to create collaborative trees which form a sort of hybrid semantic map.
  • Delicious – One of the first curation sites, Delicious, allows users to collect web-based resources into stacks which can be shared within the community and added to by others.
  • Scoop.it – This curation program allows users to create and share their own themed magazines designed around a given topic.
  • Storify – Storify is used by many journalists. It has a powerful drag and drop interface to allow users to search multiple social networks and pull pieces from different sources into one place and add their own text to tie it all together.
  • Bundlr – Bundlr combines elements from several other tools to allow users to “clip” specific content from multiple sources and visually organize it in new ways.
  • REDUX – This video-based site allows users to create their own channels which combine Internet videos to create unique collections.
  • Bagtheweb – This program allows the collection of information into “bags” which can then be linked together into larger networks, including the “bags” that others have assembled.
  • Paper.li – Based on the newspaper metaphor, Paper.li allows users to assemble their curated content into virtual newspapers that include social media information as well as traditional website clips and media.
  • iBook Author or iTunesU – If you are interested in creating course content that your students can download and access on a portable device, these two offerings from Apple might do the trick. They both have limitations, like needing to use a Mac computer to create an iBook, but they are both elegant and can handle a range of multimedia add-ons to your curriculum.
  • Pinterest – While not much used for education at the moment, this new social interest sharing site allows you to create message boards containing a variety of content that you “pin” from around the Web. Though new, it certainly has some educational potential.
  • EDpuzzle is a very simple tool that walks teachers through the video lesson creation process, with only a few limitations. With this solution a teacher can make the most of the video assets he or she has access to, plus everything the Internet has to offer. It is also an easy enough experience that you can quickly create individualized video lessons for different students and their particular needs or areas of interest. Edpuzzle Resource
Putting It All Together No doubt you will want to supplement the materials that you find for free online with offerings from your favorite textbook publisher or that you create yourself, such as video podcast of your lectures. Generally speaking, these resources can be combined into most of the formats above (Apple, for instance, has agreements with the major textbook publishers already in place). If you are creating your own media, aim for a universally accepted format such as PDF for text, Jpeg for graphics, or Flash for video or animation. Hosting any videos that you create on YouTube or Vimeo will make integrating them into your remix very straightforward. Always verify with your institution that your plan is acceptable, as some have more stringent rules about content than others.
Specific instructions for creating projects using each of the tools mentioned above are beyond the scope of this blog, but information about using each is available online, either through the site associated with the program or on YouTube. Don’t hesitate to mix and match either. Using a site like MentorMob to collect your resources allows you to embed the playlist that you create on another website or right into your LMS.

Top 10 Sites/Apps for a Flipped Classroom

external image flipped.jpg
A "Flipped Classroom" is a classroom that uses class time to do activities/lessons (guided by the teacher) and "homework" time for guided instruction, usually through video. Basically, it turns a classroom upside down: the learning of a topic is done at home and then the applied practice or work is done at school. With Mobile Learning and BYOD becoming more mainstream, "Flipped Classroom" models are happening more and more, leading me to create my list of favorite tools for "flipping a classroom." For an excellent info-graphic on what a "Flipped Classroom" is click here.
This list is in alphabetical order. I will not be including Khan Academy in this list due to the assumption that a "Flipped Classroom" and Kahn Academy go hand-in-hand.

  1. Top 10 Sites and Apps for a Flipped Classroom

  2. 9Slides - A wonderful way for teachers to create an interactive/guided presentation for their students flipped learning.
  3. Answer Pad - The ultimate assessment tool for teachers to use with their mobile devices or browser to gauge student's learning.
  4. Ask3 - A fantastic iPad app for turning your iPad into a recordable whiteboard. This allows for a teacher to create guided lessons (by adding text/drawing/narration) that students can view at home. Students can then use the app in class to answer each other questions before asking the teacher, while teachers can use it to assess student's learning.
  5. BoomWriter - An excellent innovative site that allows students engage their creativity by completing chapters of a book/story and then having other students vote on which one should be included in the finished product. Once a book/story is completed a trade paperback copy can be ordered, turning students into published writers.
  6. Educreations - A terrific iPad app that is very similar to Ask3 as it turns the iPad into a recordable whiteboard. However, teachers can not only create a guided lessons, but also post them on the web for their students to view at home for flipped learning.edupuzzle.jpg
  7. EDpuzzle is a very simple tool that walks teachers through the video lesson creation process, with only a few limitations. With this solution a teacher can make the most of the video assets he or she has access to, plus everything the Internet has to offer. It is also an easy enough experience that you can quickly create individualized video lessons for different students and their particular needs or areas of interest. Edpuzzle Resource
  8. GoClass - A wonderful iPad/web tool that allows educators to create lessons and then assess students learning in real-time. Also, students can view the lessons at home on their mobile devices and learn at their own pace.
  9. Knowmia - One of the most popular sites/apps for creating and searching for video lessons for students. Simply put, Knowmia is one of the best and easiest ways to flip a classroom.
  10. Math File Folder Games - A great site/company for educational iOS Math games that can be used to create 21st Century "Math Centers". This is a great way to use educational apps to reinforce flipped learning.
  11. MentorMob - A fantastic site for educators to create guided learning playlists that students can use at home for self learning. One of the best sites around for creating a flipped classroom.
  12. Nearpod - A terrific all-in-one solution for mobile devices in education. Teachers can use it to create engaging lessons that students can do from home.