I’ve always been trying to find ways to get students more involved outside of the classroom in creating music. In reading all of the information about “Flipping the Classroom” I’ve been intrigued about how to make this happen within a Band setting. Of course, since we we are working on composing a piece a week for the remainder of the school year there are many details to discuss with the students. Seeings as how I am pushing the kids to compose outside of the class it stands to reason that maybe I could give feedback outside of the class as well! So I figured I may as well try it!
I’ve seen and played with many different to make videos explaining everything (pun intended) I was observing in the students compositions but I finally decided to work with the “Explain Everything” app. There were several very important reasons I chose this app..
First of all I fully appreciate the fact that this app does not tie me into some companies attempt to become “The Next Big Thing”. Explain Everything allows me to create my content and upload to where ever I wish – I stay in control of my content!
Secondly I knew that I was going to be importing PDF scans of the students work into the app so this capability was a must. The next part of making use of the PDF’s was that I would be drawing/highlighting/annotating/pointing out details on the PDF’s. I knew that at times I would of course want to simply draw my own material from scratch as well. The app I picked had to be able to handle all of those situations easily.
Thirdly I really like the flexibility Explain Everything gives me to record my own voice, draw, animate and layout materials on an endless canvas.
Fourth I knew that I would have files, pictures, PDF’s and movies scattered all over the place that I would be pulling into these movies. Explain Everything allows me to easily pull in file from my camera roll, iTunes, DropBox, Box, Google Drive, Evernote, SkyDrive and evenWebDave servers!
Lastly was the need to be able to share these movies with my students. The app makes it simple to export my creations to YouTube and a few other places as well (look at the list from where you can pull media in from).
THE PROCESS -
So I set to work to try this out – Here’s what I did. I took a handful of student compositions to the scanner and created PDFs. Those PDF’s then got uploaded to DropBox (This was I can use them other ways as well). Then I opened the Explain Everything app, imported the PDF’s and watched as slides were created for each page of the PDF. Once loaded I set to work erasing students names. Then I started the recording of my voice and writing/annotating over top of their PDF’s. The timeline allowed me to backup and re-do any section I was not happy with. After that process was done I took the project and exported it to my camera roll as a movie. This took a little while – during which I checked my twitter feed and chatted with a new friend in WI who is recording a Turkish Fusion band! How fun right?….. back to the post though…. Once the exported movie was in my camera roll I used iMovie to spruce things up a bit more. I added some background music and a few titles (I could probably have done the titles in Explain Everything but I used iMove. I had to find where each section started to split the movie up in order to add the titles but that did not take very long. Then I uploaded the movie to YouTube from iMovie (Which I could have just simply uploaded the movie from within the Explain Everything app but like I said… I wanted things to be a bit fancier.)
Last step was to link to the movie from my classroom blog. From there the students can watch the video right from the blog post or open it in YouTube – (By the way… If you have an iPad and do not use the YouTube app currently I would really like to know why! The YouTube app is a very slick app! I love the way they allow you to load one video then pull it down to the corner and search other videos while that first one is still playing! I fully appreciate that YouTube now has playlists as well – MANDATORY for classroom viewing of Youtube!)
THE OUTCOME -
A quick, fun way for me to give feedback to the students that they can incorporate into their work WITHOUT taking class time to do so. The feedback I give is nothing confusing so I doubt any student will have questions but if they do then they could ask those question via email, twitter or during class.
Quibbles with EXPLAIN EVERYTHING APP -
I would like to be able to add background music and the titles from within the app – I probably can but just haven’t figured it out yet. Since I knew how to do it easily from within iMovie I chose that route for now.
THE VERDICT -
I will be doing more of these movies and I think you should too! My only wish is that I could put an iPad in every students hands so THEY were the ones creating the videos! Go but the app and get busy having fun creating videos for your students – thats my suggestion -
THE FINAL PRODUCT -
Almost forgot – Here are the two videos I created….
First one -
Second one -
and now… Bed, because that early morning gym time is not going to be fun as it is!