So, I’m also a music teacher and wanted to share some of the amazing apps that I’ve come across to save other music teachers who are interested in the iPads some time and money.
1). Garageband: Garageband is an app that can be used to play, record, produce, mix, edit and share musical creations. It was recently made available for free on the app store. Definitely worth playing around with if you are a music teacher or enjoy playing music. Single handedly the best app of it’s kind that I’ve found on the app store.
2). Musicnotes: This is a companion to the musicnotes.com website that you can purchase sheet music from. They have everything from Classical music to Katy Perry’s latest pop single available for purchase and download. Once purchased from the website you can download the music to any iDevice. A great way for kids to extend their lessons in school by learning songs that they want to learn at home.
3). Vocal Warm-Up for Singers or Choir: This is a great K-6 app that I use at the beginning of class to let students warm up their vocal chords before we start singing. There are 5 sets of warm-ups to choose from. Each set includes a physical warm-up, breath awareness, then five minutes worth of mid-range warm-ups per set. Each activity is also accompanied by a vocalist and piano. I honestly use this everyday with my younger music classes.
Pearson eText - Tired of lugging around multiple heavy textbooks and teacher resources? Or scanning in pages from your textbooks in order to make your SMARTNotebook lessons look great? Well… The fine folks at Pearson have made a number of their resources available for digital use via computer web-browser and iPad. They have made it super easy to get and use on both platforms. For iPad: 1) Download the App from the App Store https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pearson-etext/id410315894?mt=8 and 2) Contact Pearson in order to purchase whatever licence it is that you would like http://www.pearsoned.ca/school/product/pearsonetext/purchase/index.html Once you have your licence, you’re ready for business. Wifi/internet is a must for using the eText initially. However, once you have wifi access you can download specific units for offline use on the iPad! I’m super excited about this one!
Socrative - Socrative is a student clicker response system that can be used for quizzes. There is a teacher app and a student app for most iPad and android devices. Not enough devices to go around? Well the quizzes can also be accessed via any web enabled computer. With the teacher app, you have the ability to create and edit a variety of different kinds of quizzes. I use this app a lot for exit cards, review and other quick formative assessments in math. My favorite feature is that once all of the kids have finished the quiz, socrative gives you the choice to e-mail yourself an excel spreadsheet with the information collected for quick and easy reference. One of my most used apps in the classroom to date. http://www.socrative.com/
CloudOn – Until Microsoft comes out with a fully functioning version of Office for the iPad, CloudOn will rein supreme. Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents can all be easily created and edited on the go with this amazing cloud storage friendly app. The interface looks a lot like the 2007 version of Office. CloudOn uses Box, Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive to access and edit your documents from the cloud. Personally, I use this one to make changes or tweaks to my digital day plans as needed on the fly. The only real snag is that the app doesn’t store the files locally. This means you must have a solid wifi connection to access, create or edit your documents and that occasionally there is a little bit of a lag when typing. http://site.cloudon.com/
Documents to Go (Docs to Go) - Docs to Go uses a very simple interface for working on the basics in terms of creating and editing MS office documents. This app doesn’t have all the bells and whistles in terms of customizing your document but what it does do is give you the option to save a document locally. This means that you can work on the document at anytime with or without a wifi internet connection. So until Microsoft comes out with their office suite that let’s you do all of the above, I will be using both of these apps for different purposes and based on wifi accessibility. In my opinion, you can’t have one without the other. I would ideally like CloudOn’s interface with Docs to Go’s ability to save documents right to the iPad. http://www.dataviz.com/dtg_home.html
Garageband – Garageband is one of the most exciting music apps available for the iPad and a must have for any iPad friendly music teacher! With this app you can play, create, record, and edit music.There are virtual instrument sets (Smart Keyboard, Smart Guitar, Smart Strings, Smart Bass and Smart Drums) that can be accessed as well as some real instrument options. Guitar Amps, drums, the sampler and keyboards can be used with real instruments with the help of adapters like Jam, iRig or even the iPad Photo card adapter that enables you to plug midi keyboards directly into the iPad. If this isn’t already enough, there is also an audio recorder that can be used to record simple vocals or other live sounds and instruments. The app enables you to play, record and edit up to 8 tracks as well as change tones, sounds and effects within each instrument set. My words can not do this app justice. This app has become a student favorite, allowing new musicians to sound like seasoned veterans in no time. Check out the following video to see a few of the features that garageband has to offer.
Notability – I’ve wasted a lot of money purchasing and trying out various note taking apps. So let me save you some time and a little bit of money. Notability is by far the best and most reliable note-taking app that I’ve found to date. Notability powerfully integrates handwriting, PDF annotation, picture importing, typing, and recording. It has the best writing interface I have found in an app. My issue with other note-taking apps has been that the writing is too crude and bulky… only letting you fit a few words per line and not much on a full page. Notability uses a special enlarged “zoom window” so that you can write easily. Everything from this window then shrinks down so that you can fit a large amount of text on a each line and page. I have seen a couple of other apps with a similar feature but at this point, notability does it the best in my opinion.
Here is some more info about Notability’s features straight from the iTunes App Store page.
** Full-featured Handwriting **
Stunning retina ink makes capturing ideas easy and awesome. Notability’s zoom window helps you quickly and clearly draw every detail, while the palm rest protects your notes from unwanted marks. Your notes should be as unique as you are, so choose your favorite style pen and paper to create beautiful notes.
** PDF Annotation **
The same tools that help you take beautiful notes in Notability equip you to annotate PDFs: handwrite, type, and record. Then share these annotations through email or a cloud service. Bookmark important pages and easily find annotations.
** Advanced Word-Processing **
Features like styling, outlining, text boxes, and spell check are the perfect tools to get the job done quickly and accurately. Other tools like bullets, bold, italic, underline, font presets, cursor controls, and more, seamlessly integrate to help you create rich notes.
** Linked Audio Recording **
Audio recordings automatically link to your notes, so go ahead and take notes with confidence. While reviewing your notes, just tap a word to hear what was said at that moment. Use the recording feature to capture your own voice for memos, presentations, or speech practice.
** Auto-sync **
Work with confidence: with Notability’s auto-sync, your notes are always backed up in the cloud. Choose your favorite cloud service: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box or WebDAV.
** Media Insertion **
Enhance your notes by adding pictures from your photo library or from the iPad camera. Insert web clips, figures, and drawings to compliment your notes. Crop, resize, and draw on images to make them perfect.
** Library Organization **
Your ideas and notes are incredibly important to you, so Notability makes it simple to organize, protect and share this information. Import notes, PDFs, and RTFs from the cloud or web. Also, import .doc, .ppt, and .xls files as PDFs using Google Drive.
Printer Pro -I have spent more time and money than I’d like to admit testing out various iDevice printing apps. In my opinion Printer Pro is by far the best one I’ve found thus far. To my understanding there are three ways to print using Printer Pro:
Straight to a wifi enabled printer.
Remotely through a computer to it’s attached printer as the document appears on the iPad or
Remotely through a computer to it’s attached printer but also using the documents default software (eg. it will actually open microsoft word on your computer and print the document as it would appear there).
Option 3 seems to work the best from what I’ve seen. If you are planning to use option 2 or 3 you will need to download Printer Pro Desktop for your computer. They also have a Lite Version of the app so you can test it out and make sure it works with your printers and computers appropriately before purchasing the pro version.
Reflector - Reflector is an app that has been around for a while but with the latest updates I wanted to give it the spotlight once again. The latest updates have added substantial stability in terms of wirelessly mirroring your iDevice’s screen, movements and audio to a laptop or desktop computer. This is not an app that you will find in Apple’s App Store since it is actually a desktop app (for your computer) but you can find it directly at www.reflectorapp.com. Why is this something you would want to use in your classroom? Here’s a couple reasons…
This makes your iDevice a mobile document camera so you can capture work samples for peer assessment, discussion and instant feedback.
You can display photos, websites, music, documents, videos, apps, games, presentations, screencasts and any other teacher or student generated product made on the iDevice. This involves having a projector hooked up to your computer (which a lot of teachers already have with their SMARTboard set ups).
You are not confined to the length of cables… you can walk around the room freely or you can pass the iDevice around the room for student interaction and engagement.
Since the update I will go as far as to say that the app works flawlessly! Make sure that you have a strong wireless signal, download the app, and you should be good to go! They also offer a free limited time trial of the app if you aren’t sold and wan to test it out first. Well worth the $15.00 that it costs!
Knowmia Teach - I know what you’re thinking… “Another whiteboard app… really!?” Well I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this one combines all of the best features from apps like Explain Everything, Smart Notebook, EduCreations, and Board Cam into one easy to use app. If you are not completely happy with any one of the apps listed previously… I would recommend trying this one out. It’s laid out a lot like notebook/powerpoint/keynote but has the ability to record annotations along with your presentations. It also has the ability to insert a personal video recording of yourself into the presentation as well which is pretty cool. Create an account at Knowmia.com and convert your presentations to videos that can be viewed later and embeded. The only downfall I’ve noticed is that it can be a little glitchy from time to time. I’ve already deleted all of the other whiteboard apps that I own and replaced them with Teach. Watch the video and read what Knowmia has to say about their app below.
TAKEN FROM KNOWMIA’s WEBSITE:
Knowmia Teach is a new free lesson planning and recording tool for teachers. It helps you create short video lessons on any subject and publish them on Knowmia.com so your students and the public can find them. Knowmia Teach makes it easy to bring in visual aids from multiple sources, organize them in steps (like slides in a presentation) and use your own voice and fingers to bring your lesson to life. You can design each step in the lesson, record illustrations as you draw them, and create sophisticated animation sequences with a simple stroke of a finger. We also give you the ability to describe your lesson in a way that makes it simple for any student who is interested in the subject to find your video.
Main features include:
★ Build your lesson out of smaller steps (like slides) so it’s easy to manage and organize your lesson
★ Create each step of your lesson on a separate whiteboard so you can seamlessly introduce new concepts
★ Record everything that you do on the whiteboard as well as your voice and video to create the lesson step-by-step
★ Use the shape tool to quickly draw common shapes
★ Type text with any font/size directly on the whiteboard
★ Import images, graphics or video clips from the iPad’s media library and built-in camera – or paste in any image of your own
★ Draw freely with multiple pen widths and a highlighter mode
★ Use the pointer tool to attract attention to anything on the whiteboard while recording it
★ Publish the complete lesson to Knowmia.com with a touch of a button
Dropbox - I recently decided to start using dropbox with my grade 7/8 students so that they can submit assignments via the web instead of having to lug around usb sticks and hard copies. I created two dropbox accounts 1) for me, my personal account and 2). a generic account for the kids. A really cool feature about dropbox that you can access from the website is that you can “share folders” with other users. So I created a class folder “Mr. Kelly’s Class” and shared it with the student dropbox account. Students can now submit assignments directly to me from the comfort of their own homes or even mobile devices. One better… I can type my descriptive feedback and suggestions for improvement directly on their assignment… which then they can access from any computer with internet access at anytime. Ideally giving them additional opportunity to use the feedback given to further improve their work without the mass murder of trees. This idea and concept is old news for those using Google Docs but I found that it was a lot easier to set up. 2 accounts does the trick as long as the students using it are trust worthy and responsible. All in all I’m pretty excited to see how this goes.
Areas of concern: Students have the ability to access and delete other student’s work (This can potentially be done both by accident and on purpose).