Monday, October 12, 2015

Google Classroom and iPads in a Music Classroom

I love being out in schools and hearing how teachers are using the technology they have available in their classrooms and it's even more exciting when it comes from a non-core subject teacher.

In one of our schools in out region we have a music teacher, Jordan Bremrose at Ione Community School, where students have one to one iPads. She reached out to figure out a workflow for using the pdfs in Google Classroom of music note activities that she uses in her classes.

As with any technology little glitches were occurring along the way.  We had to make sure students were logged into their network filter which was a common issue because Google Classroom would load and refresh even without logging onto the network but when they tried to open the PDF it wasn't viewable.   Next we worked through how to make the pdf open in another app.  This was an issue if the students were logging into Google Classroom through the browser and not in the app on the iPad.  

For pdf annotating we used TinyPDF.  It was free, highly rated, and very easy to use - just remind students they can zoom in and out when tying to draw notes on the staff with their big fingers! Then the last major step how to send it back to classroom or drive so that they could turn it in.   Lots of steps to us, but for the kids, they worked together and quickly figured it out.

While visiting, Jordan also shared that students turn in practice videos to Google Classroom.  Older students are allowed to take their iPads home and students are encouraged to record themselves practicing and upload them for homework.  This way Jordan can listen to students practice, as well as students being able to listen and watch themselves play.  As I left that day, we had a brief discussion on mp3 recorders on the iPad as well for auditions and other assignments.  

It's encouraging to see teachers embrace and think of new ways of using the tools they are provided with.

Using Common Sense Media to find Reviewed Apps

Common Sense Media has long been the go to for the K-12 Scope and Sequence for digital citizenship and so much more but often we forget about some of the other great features!

As a parent or a teacher it's important that we find quality apps to add to our devices in the classroom.  Using Common Sense Media's Review page, use search options to find and read about apps, websites, book, movies, and more.  I often find myself searching through the lists and being reminded of some great sites that I may have overlooked!

Choose options and see the ratings and level of learning (if choosing an educational app).

Read a brief overview and view screenshots before downloading it for yourself to check out.  

So if you are looking to refresh some options on your classroom devices, spend sometime checking out this resource!