Saturday, December 11, 2010

Promethean Training Web site

Yes, I know I keep saying I will blog more but then school started and my new semester at Boise. Enough said.

Fall semester I took EDTECH 554 - Managing Technology Integration in Schools. The class is winding down and I thought I'd post a link to one of my projects. The final project for the class was to plan a professional development opportunity and the topic I chose was Promethean Training. My district has invested in Promethean Boards and Learning Response System devices and even the most experienced of us has only had Promethean technology available in our classrooms for a bit over a year. I participated in some training sessions in fall, 2009 then got a board in spring, 2010. Meeting a variety of training needs seems to be a commonplace issue, so I developed a series of training modules that would be appropriate for individuals with quite varying degrees of prior experience and training. Should you use any of the training modules, I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts about them. As always, I hope they prove to be useful to someone, someday, somewhere!

Here is the link:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Web site!

My Boise classes are over, for a few weeks at least, and I've started working on two new Web sites. I used Weebly for the first time this summer, for a thematic unit project for my technology integration class, and decided to use it for two Taekwondo Web sites I'm creating - one for my children's Taekwondo Master, and the other for my son's coach.

Weebly is a very intuitive tool and using the two column element allows you to get a bit fancy with layout. For the most part, I stuck with the standard elements, but I did change CSS to add my own banner and match the colors of the blue stripe and title text to the banner. If you know CSS, it's easy to modify and if you don't, you've got plenty of options. I used the free version of Weebly for my thematic unit and Master Chang is using the pay version. With the pay version you have your own domain name - a definite plus for a business Web site and at $34/year it is very reasonably priced. If you're an experienced Dreamweaver user, Weebly probably will be too limiting for you, but for everyone else, Weeby is a great option to look at if you're considering putting together a Web site.

The first of the two sites is 95% finished, we're just waiting for some bios and pictures of instructors. Here is the link: The other site will be for the Morton Grove location and will have a similar site structure and some common text.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting Stereo Sound in GarageBand

I had a question come in from my YouTube channel and thought I'd put the answer here. When recording vocals, sound was coming out of the left speaker only but he wanted stereo. Here are my suggestions for troubleshooting:

First, check your microphone. If it's not a stereo mic, it can't record in stereo (use both L and R speakers). If you're not sure if it's a stereo mic, click on the Real Instruments tab then look at the bottom where it says "input source." If it is a stereo mic, you will see something like "Stereo 1/2 ..." 

If you have a stereo mic, but you're not getting stereo sound, then the problem is likely (hopefully!) your track pan. The track pan determines how much of the sound goes to the left and how much to the right. When the track pan is pointing to the 12-o'clock position, you will get equal amounts of sound to both sides.

Track pan all the way left sends sound to the left speaker only. Place your mouse cursor over the little button and rotate the dial to the desired location.

If track pan is at center/up and you're still getting sound only from the left speaker, check the speakers (make sure it's this song, not the equipment). If the speakers are fine (you played a different song in GarageBand and got sound from both sides) and the track pan is all the way up, we resort to drastic measures. Try copying and pasting the audio into a new track. For this track, set the pan all the way to the right. This would be a cheating way of getting stereo, but just might give you the sound you're looking for.

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tech Integration Tips

Yes, I know I keep saying that I'm going to blog more regularly, then I get caught up in my Boise Classes. Just for fun, here is a link to graphics I created this summer for EDTECH 506 - Instructional Message Design. Feel free to use anything you want. Like the other content I have created for my EdTech classes, these will live on the Boise State server until after I finish my degree program. I only have four more classes to go, but none are offered in the summer, so that means two more years. At some point between now and then I will move them to my non-Boise Web site. And now, on to the real topic for this post.

A friend is interviewing for an elementary music teaching position and I put together a few tips, should the topic of technology integration come up in the interview. Here they are ...

Share what you’ve done and what you want to do:
  • What technology are you comfortable with for personal and professional use?
  • Check out NETS for Teachers to see where you fit on the continuum.
  • What technology (equipment, software, online) was available in your previous position? How did you use it?
  • What technologies are you familiar with that were NOT available in your previous position? Discussion with other music teachers, workshop topics, etc. may have given you a peek into other possibilities.

Take advantage of free online tools. Consider:
  • Curriculum - Determine what curricular goals and objectives need support then choose the most effective tool. Considering tech tools first (choosing a new fun thing then trying to find an educational application for it) is putting the cart before the horse.
  • Terms of Use – Some sites are only for those 13 and older.
  • Platform - Online, free download, Mac/Windows.
  • Privacy - No personal information! Some online tools need e-mail accounts for each user/student.
  • Tracking - Some allow teachers to set up “classes” and track student progress.
  • Logistics - One computer w/projector vs. mobile lab vs. computer lab/separate location. Balance benefits of tech with impact on class time, but remember that there will be fewer bumps farther down the road.
  • Integrating technology in the music classroom is about much more than just music tools. Many tech tools that are part of the “regular” classroom (blogs, wikis, for example) apply to any subject area.

Benefits of technology use in the classroom:
  • More possibilities for differentiation of instruction.
  • Illinois Learning Standards - Goal 26A: Understand the processes, traditional tools and modern technologies used in the arts.
  • Multiple Intelligences – Flexible means of interacting with content and expressing understanding.
  • Authentic Learning – Use of tools that are commonly used by practicing musicians/composers. For example, computer-based composition instead of pencil and paper.
  • Global Connections (Illinois Goal 27):
    - National Geographic World Music
    - Putumayo Kids
    - World Music Network
    - YouTube (safety features: create own channel, use safe mode, embed player)
    - (for YouTube videos only, allows editing of in/out points, masks all
    content except the video itself).

Professional Development Opportunities:
  • Many districts offer training for specific equipment (interactive whiteboard, for example) and tools (district-hosted Web sites and blogs).
  • Find people/groups to follow – See what others are doing and think about applications to your own classroom. When you find someone you like, see who they are following.
  • Blog/Website/Wiki: Carol Broos (lives in Gurnee, teaches in Northfield - Golden Apple Recipient, frequent presenter at tech and music conferences, lots of links to follow)
  • Blog: High Techpectations (Lucy Grey)
  • Blog: Educating Educators (general tech for teachers)
  • Organization: Technology Institute for Music Educators (TI:ME, resources, conference, newsletters, classes)
  • Online tutorials for specific software/tools (example: GarageBand)
  • Workshops, conferences and classes (TI:ME offers specific, sequential training)
  • Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom
    - 2008
    - TI:ME / Hal Leonard publication
    - Detailed lesson plans
    - If I could only buy one book, it would be this one
  • Technology Guide for Music Educators
    - 2006
    - TI:ME / Thomson Course Technology
    - Very helpful if you are working with hardware – covers types of equipment and set-up
    - Does not include newer technologies (iPod, open source/free tools).
  • YouTube in Music Education
    - 2009
    - Thomas Rudolph and James Frankel / Hal Leonard
    - The majority of the book deals with consuming YouTube content (creating an account and channel, etc.) but there is also useful information about creating and posting videos (including a great section on copyright).
  • Music Technology Workbook: Key Concepts and Practical Projects
    - 2008
    - Paul Middleton and Steven Gurevitz / Focal Press
    - A great deal more technical than the books listed above.
    - Mostly MIDI with some info on recording and mixing. Most appropriate for advanced middle school or high school MIDI Music Labs. I would suggest reading this only for those working in an advanced composition lab situation.