Playlists for Learning

by Jean Tower

learning playlist

There are tools that make it very easy to create playlists for learning. You may think of music when I say playlist, but it is also a concept of creating set of resources for a lesson or unit. You can use the tools I describe here – BlendSpace and Symbaloo – to share access to your set of digital resources (playlist). I suggest using them to curate digital content of all types, including material you find and material you create.

Blendspace

“Blendspace is a free web tool for teachers to collect resources in one place to form a bundled, interactive lesson for students or colleagues.”

Blendspace allows you to compile electric and various media resources in one place. It makes sharing resources online very easy. Each resource type has an icon. Students click on the resource and interact with it. It could be a form to complete or a link to a discussion with expectations to contribute, or it might simply be something to watch, read, listen to. If you want them to go through the resources in a certain order the “next” arrow moves them through the material in the prescribed sequence.

To get started, go to https://www.tes.com/ and create an account. You start a new lesson and then title it and start adding your content to the spots on the grid. You can add content to each tile in the BlendSpace. Content can be a video,  a web page, or a document from Google Drive, to name a few.

Here is a sample BlendSpace Lesson that I created based on the activities that I led my department through during a recent Department Meeting.

Digital Tools and Student Data Privacy

I can keep that blend of content, edit it later, or delete it. I can keep it private or share it. I can add other BlendSpace playlists on different topics. Right now I am creating a BlendSpace for flipped classroom professional development. I am becoming a big fan of BlendSpace.

Symbaloo

“Symbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web. You have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. With an account you can access your bookmarks from everywhere with any device and share your online resources with others.”

I have used Symbaloo for years and have found it handy to create a portal for myself. I have only recently begun experimenting with it as a learning playlist tool.

To get started, go to https://www.symbaloo.com/ and create an account.

It is pretty self explanatory how to get started.

I have one set of links (that they call a “webmix” and I think of as a playlist) that is for my own launch site for work. It contains lots of links I use every day and it is organized and color coded.

You can create more playlist by clicking on the + tab, and you can name them appropriately.

You could have playlist based on topic or lesson – here are a few examples:

Grade 8 Social Studies

Digital Citizenship

Elementary Math

You could set up a playlist for each class you teach and then simply add or edit the links to reflect the current lesson. You could link to google docs where they should enter their work, for example. Once you have your set or playlist ready to share, you click on the icon to share at the top of the screen, give it a name and a description and choose to share publicly or privately. I have not reviewed Terms of Service so I am not advocating here for students to create symbaloo accounts – only for teachers.

I definitely recommend trying these tools out for creating your own Playlists for Learning.

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