WHAT ARE INSTRUCTIONAL PLAYLISTS? Instructional playlists are effective tools that provide students with a sequence of resources and activities to complete. Instructional playlists can be designed for a class period, a unit, an entire semester, and any combination in between. Content can be included for one subject area or formatted as a multi-disciplinary learning opportunity.
Instructional playlists help move students through a series of learning objectives and experiences, and they can be used in synchronous or asynchronous learning environments. Students have the opportunity to work through their playlists at their own pace, supporting student voices and choices. Using playlists allows the teacher the chance to work one-on-one with a student, with small groups, and offer technology support as needed.
Specific content can be created to match the learning needs of individual students. Playlists are most often delivered through a digital modality, and are sent to each student individually. This allows for true differentiation as playlists can be tailored to each student's unique goals. Instructional playlists can be broken into small tasks, and this can help to offer students a sense of accomplishment and success along the way. Checking in with students consistently, as they work independently, can help as they manage their individual goals. Student learning paths and playlists can be adjusted as needed.
Playlists can be organized through many approaches, and with the use of some worthwhile technology-based resources. You might consider the use of Google or Microsoft-based resources, or some of these technology tools:
- Slides - Slides is a superb site to create and share powerful presentations, and can be a fantastic resource with playlists. Edit and store your Slides presentations online. Presentations are viewable on desktops and mobile devices.
- Wakelet - Create, curate, and share web content with Wakelet. Save online links, including articles, videos, tweets, and more then organize them into collections called wakes. Share collections with a personalized link or use the embed code to embed anywhere online.
- Symbaloo - Symbaloo provides an organized way to share with your learners through the use of "tiles". Create, find, and share visually appealing Webmixes (web-based screens of link "tiles") to share web resources. Find the "Tour" (a green tile with a red circle) to learn more about Symbaloo EDU or begin exploring color-coded links on your own. Choose the EDU Tools WebMix to find links to classroom resources for social networking, video and image tools, remote teaching, and much more. Other WebMixes designed specifically for educators include widgets for classroom use, educational headlines, and much more.
- Blendspace - Blendspace is another great resource for playlists, and it allows you to create an interactive online lesson or collection. You can search for resources, upload Office files, PDFs, images, and embed codes for videos, YouTube, and Internet links. This tool also can connect with your Google Drive or Dropbox account. Simply share the link for your finished space with anyone to view.
- Formative - Formative offers real time feedback, and is a great tool to use for playlists. You can use tests and quizzes or upload a document to Formative for students to annotate. Enter questions that require a variety of answers including true/false, text answers, or student drawings. It will even mark answers for you! Setup a marking key and view instant data on who is correct. Students can create an account to get access to the materials you create. The site works on all devices and integrates with Google Classroom. Formative is aligned to many standards including Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and many other common standards.
- Nearpod - Technology integration is made easy, and this valuable resource can be helpful for utilizing with playlists. Use this free slide-based multimedia app to put lessons and other material on any web browser OR iOs and Android devices. Build your playlist using templates or create your own.
Additionally, if needed, students can use paper and pencil playlists. You might consider starting this way with young learners so you can guide them face-to-face in understanding how a playlist works. The needs of your students and the resources they have access to will also help to guide your decisions upon how your playlists should be set up in the most effective manner.
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Consider using a simple planning template. Think about point values for each activity and the desired pace as you plan. Download this sample to get started.