Mistakes Schools Can Make Implementing the Use of iPads (my comments on an article written by Tom Daccord)

tablet-ABC-on-desk-400x265I was sent a link to this fantastic article (click on the title below) on implementing iPad’s in Schools and the mistakes schools/teachers can make.

5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them) By on September 27, 2012@edtechteacher

Tom highlights these as the 5 critical mistakes made

  1. Focusing on content apps
  2. lack of teacher preparation in classroom management of iPads
  3. treating the iPad as a computer and expecting it to serve as a laptop
  4. treating iPads as multi-user devices
  5. failure to communicate a compelling answer to “why iPads”

I would have to say that in my experience working in 2 different schools implementing the use of iPad’s as both one-to-one devices and mutlti-use/class sets these are definitely some of the areas we have had to think about, experience and work though ourselves in trying to work out the most effective and efficient use of this new technology. As I myself make mistakes in using this new teaching methodology, as any person does when implementing new things, I am constantly learning what works and what doesn’t. This I will share with you along the way.

In my own music classroom I have come to realise that focusing on using only music apps is not the way to go to efficiently use this technology. As you will see with a lot of my posts so far, I use many other apps that are not content specific. While content apps can be a great resource for teaching specific knowledge, combining these with the use of other apps opens up the use of iPad’s to be more inquiry based learning.

As an author/web app developer myself, I am actually working at the moment on a content specific music app (The interactive Music Room: Book 4) hopefully it will be ready for distribution early 2013. As I create each lesson in the app I am constantly aware of allowing the activities to be as open to creativity as possible, not locking students into a black & white, right or wrong answer, thus not limiting the students when creating & composing.

I would say that the more research & PD I have done has definitely helped me to become more confident in using iPad’s. I have also found that I need to be an expert on how an iPad works to problem solve & fix issues with student’s iPads, for example understanding how settings can impact on the ability to use apps.

I definitely advocate for the use of one-to-one iPads in the classroom, however the implementation is not as easy as 1,2,3. If you are thinking of going down this path I would definitely encourage you to read this article and share it with your colleagues.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Combining Garage Band & iMovie in the Music Classroom

midi keyboard setupOn a student free day last year my son inspired me to combine Garage Band and iMovie as a fun way to fill a rainy day spent inside.

It started off as any normal day teaching Oscar his piano lesson until he decided he wanted to record the song he was practicing ‘Icecream’ in Music for Little Mozarts Book 2 (we have a KeyControl 49 XT MIDI controller keyboard attached to my iPad though a camera connection kit and played through the Apple App Garage Band) .

So we had a few practices and then hit record, thankfully for a 6 year old he has a pretty good understanding and grasp of beat because it took only 2 to trys and we had a recording of him playing the melody we were happy with.

I then taught him how to add himself singing the song with the audio recorder and then showed him how to add loops in.  I can not claim to have helped him choose because as any mother of a 6 year old will tell you, you are not allowed to offer suggestions… “MUUUUMMMM I can do it myself!”

This is the result of what he composed: oscar garage band song

  • Classical Grand Oscar played & recorded himself on the keyboard
  • Kit & Elec Guitar are loops he chose fom Garage band library
  • The Audio Recorder is him singing

Now he was quite chuffed with his result but oh no it wasn’t finished there… now we had to do the music video so I sent him to to organise his props & dressups and to practice performing, by now his little sister, Natalia, had joined in the fun and Oscar decided she was to be his backup singer.

I filmed them performing and then Oscar helped me design his music video using iMovie and this is the result

*The Icecream Rap by Oscar

(*he wanted to call his arrangement “The Icecream Rap”. The original is ‘Icecream’ from Music for Little Mozarts by Barden, Kowalchyk & Lancaster (c) MCMXCIX Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.).

I have just started a project similar to this in my music classroom this week and it is working really well.  I won’t show you the outcome as I don’t want to post images of my students online and you get the idea from what Oscar & I did. The project is based on Bushfire Press’s Music Room: a developmental classroom music program, Book 6 Module 3 Pacific Harmonies Lesson 4.

I have split my Year 6/7 class (of 18) into 2 groups, one is creating video & still shots for the opening credits of a Hawaiian movie using iMovie, the 2nd group will record the background music in Garage Band. They will be using a backing track supplied by Bushfire Press and then adding their own recordings; a glockenspiel harmony, bongo beat and instrumental/non-instrumental sound effects and maybe some loops already available in Garage Band.

This is part of their IB PYP Unit of Inquiry into performance and will be shown at their end of year concert. What is fantastic about this is that all students are actively engaged in a project and those that are not all that enthusiastic about music are enjoying being part of the project in another way.

I hope this inspires you to not only use Garage Band in your music classroom but combine it with iMovie to broaden the classroom experience.

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Teach to transform!

Cheryl