Making the Homework Experience Better with Mobile Phones and Apps!

At our last concert I actually remembered to record the bands! This sounds funny coming from someone like me who uses tech so much but it is hard for me to remember to do this when I am conducting. What I do that does work is make this a students job.

After recording the concert then I uploaded the pieces to SoundCloud. If you have never used SoundCloud in your class you need to! It is awesome! Fast, easy and quick for me the teacher to upload recordings to is one reason. Another reason is that the students can then leave comments on those recordings. Those comments go inline – so if at :30 seconds into the piece we missed being prepared for an entrance a student can click on the waveform at :30 seconds and leave a comment. That comment will then popup at the appropriate time while others are listening back. Instantly the kids are writing – gasp! They are evaluating – higher order thinking. They are communicating with each other and me. It’s all good stuff! Plus the students start to realize that they have a world wide audience they are potentially performing for! Of course we could make these recordings more private. Here is a screen shot of one of our songs… you can see the little boxes under the waveform – those are their comments.

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In conjunction with this homework assignment I also had the students sign up to follow me on Celly. This is from their website…

logo“Celly believes small messages change the world
so we built a place where 140 characters – builds movements, inspires learning, levels playing fields & promotes free speech

we call this place a cell

A cell is a mobile social network that works with any mobile phone or device. Members can join instantly with one text and exchange group messages, polls, reminders, and web alerts.”
What this allows me to do is send out messages to my class all at one time. You kind of have to go read their web site to get a better picture. Here is one reason I love using this service… In schools, students and teachers can communicate freely with Celly while keeping phone numbers private. Group messages can be moderated by one or more curators to keep conversations on-topic and friendly.
So tonight I sent out a reminder to my students that they were supposed to have their comments/evaluations of our concert (on SoundCloud) done by the morning. the reason I sent this message is because I knew that only a few had actually done this homework because of my ability to check to see who had left comments on SoundCloud. The response to the Celly message was outstanding! Within 10 minutes this is what my iPad screen looked like!
I love the fact that SoundCloud pops me over a message letting me know someone is making a comment on one of my pieces! I like that the kids are evaluating themselves and I love the fact that this is so easy to keep track of who has done it and who hasn’t!
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