Moog Releases Another Outstanding Synth For Your iPad

If you have had ANY contact with the synth world you know immediately about the Moog keyboards. You also have an inclining of the legacy of Bob Moog – His legacy goes back to the starts of the synth world. He got his start in 1954 by building and selling Therimins with his father. In 1963 Bob built his first modular synth. Bob Moog is a legend, his synths are legend and now those of us using iPad for creating music can enjoy THREE Moog apps on our iPad! Animoog was the first professional synth released for iPad and is still one of those apps we go back to constantly! Filtatron came next and just this past week they released Model 15!

Model 15 is the first modular synth created for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch. Not only is it meant as a performance app but for the educational world it is also meant as a tool with which to educate students about modular synthesis.

“Each facet of the Moog Model 15 modular synthesizer has been meticulously recreated in this application to ensure the power and transcendent sound quality of each module remains intact. The character, harmonic complexity and mystique of the Moog Model 15s modules, from the legendary Moog 921–series oscillators and 904A Low Pass Filter, to the coveted 907 Fixed Filter Bank have been painstakingly preserved.”

Even better is the fact that we get MORE than what was originally offered because we are using this on a touch screen interface running modern processors – “Also included are extended features which expand the capabilities of the app beyond the traditional offerings of the hardware Moog Model 15. These include total MIDI integration, assignment for external control, use as a MIDI controller, dedicated Audio Bridge and MIDI Bridge modules, looping recorder module with overdubbing, a master ping-pong delay module and a new extension cabinet that includes additional amplifiers and voltage-controlled reversible attenuators that can be used for effects like ring-modulation.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

What this means in normal words is that this app is a very sweet way to introduce today’s students to the amazing world of modular synthesis without having to spend $10,000 for the hardware synth! I mean, what music department has THAT much money? (And if there is a job opening please let me know because I am interested!)

It also means that the latest music tech is all included giving us all sorts of connectivity. Plus the app is developed using Apple’s latest Metal Technology which gives us an immersive interface that previously was unable to be developed! Of course since this uses Metal that does eliminate older devices that are not 64 bit.

Look at this list of supported music tech – Inter App Audio, Audio Bus, Audio and MIDI Bridge, Ableton Link and MIDI over BlueTooth LE! 3D Touch and the Apple Pencil are even integrated giving us after touch! AudioCopy, AudioPaste and AudioShare are integrated as well!

These sort of technologies all coming together into an already impressive array of available music apps is because of the outstanding developers Moog has working for them. These developers have been on the cutting edge of music technology for years. People like Geert Bevin work there – Geert has also recently been working with Roger Linn (yup, the inventor of the drum machine) on the innovative LinnStrument (go google it!) Geert and the rest of the team are users of iPad music apps. They perform with it, play with it, create with it and enjoy the new possibilities it brings us!

Model 15 comes in at the high end of app pricing at $29.99 but considering that to actually buy the hardware we would have to cough up 10 grand $30 seems like more than a bargain. Once you listen to the sounds coming out of the app you will not be sorry you spent the money either. In fact you will probably find yourself spending more money on the IAP’s of additional sound banks. Even though Model 15 comes with 160 presets you will be wanting more because it’s kind of like a well made Apple pie except non-fattening!

Here is a video introducing you to the app…

New App – Transcribe+ is a winner for musicians and Teachers!

Transcribe+.pngTranscribe+ is a wonderful app for musicians, music teachers, amateurs and professionals alike to help in learning new songs or practice sessions. The app itself is free to download but requires a $4.99 IAP to unlock full access. HURRY!!!! This is a 50% sale at the time and the price will soon go up. I should have brought this app up about 20 days ago but have been a bit busier than normal with having a student teacher. Transcribe+ has even caught Apple’s attention as it has been on their top selling list of apps on the front page of the app store! Congrats to the developer Joe!

As a musician we are always trying to learn that next piece of music. If we are really trying to improve we always have a few pieces at least that are really pushing our level of performance to a new level! Which means we need to do a bunch of listening, rewinding, maybe changing the key of what we are working on and just looping sections many times over. Maybe you are trying to learn a piece of music that there isn’t even sheet music for, which means you are going to want to do all of the above to the nth degree!

“Back in the Day” I had to sit there with one hand on the tape deck and one hand on the keyboard while I transcribed and practiced those parts. That squealing of the tape deck rewinding still ring sin my ears but oh the satisfaction upon success!

Now we have technology to the rescue –

The basic premise is simple – play any non-DRM song in your iTunes library that has been downloaded to your device. While playing the song you can slow the speed down, change the pitch up or down and loop any section.

You can see how nice and clean everything is laid out in the screen shot below. To change the speed you simply drag the speed line left or right (here I’ve got things slowed down to .61 of the original speed . Also you can see below that you are given the ability to drop in markers to help in your jumping around. These markers are saved for every song you work on so don’t fear of loosing them! The loop is on in the screen shot below as well – that is where you see the waveform highlighted. You can drag the left or right boundaries to select the section that you want.

IMG_1018.PNG

In the screenshot below I’ve got the speed and pitch both changed as well as zooming into waveform. In order to change pitch you simply drag up or down on the pitch line.

IMG_1019.PNG

I am sure that this will add a few more features in the future such as maybe having a list of all the markers you have created so that it is easy to jump to a specific spot even if it is not in view. All in all Transcribe+ achieves it’s goal of giving us one more excellent tool to use in learning music!

Dynamic App Design has several other excellent apps available as well… (These both are free to download but require an IAP to actually unlock full features)

Practice+Practice+ – which is a metronome, tuner, recorder and a metronome looper/setlist.

Metronome+.pngMetronome+ – ummmm….. really I think this is just the old version of Practice+

Music Study Apps Part 2 – PracticeLooper

PracticeLooper HeaderFor Part 2 of Music Study Apps, I am going to take a look at an amazing, brand new, app that is going to make anyone’s life easier who has to listen to a piece of music and figure out how to play it by ear. Or anyone who wants to play along with a piece of music and repeat certain sections  over and over.

PracticeLooper SmallPracticeLooper by Signals and Stuff is a brand new app just released January 18, 2015! The price is currently $4.99

PracticeLooper has a wonderfully clean design that is simple, straightforward and to the point! It is beautifully done and works well on iPhones or iPads both.

BASIC PREMISE: The app allows you to load a file from your iTunes, set up looping sections, adjust the pitch of the recording and also adjust the speed of the recording. When adjusting pitch or speed in this app things actually work as expected!

Let’s Dig in….

First step is to load a tune from the iTunes. This is the ONLY time I ever ran into issues with this app. Upon tapping the 8th note/music icon at the bottom of the screen you see a list of the tunes in your iTunes library. Of course if you are using iTunes Match then you need to make sure that the tune you want has actually already been downloaded to your device from within Apple’s Music app. The list I saw though actually included a few tunes that were NOT on my device but NOT all of my tunes – this was the weird part. The way I figure it is there has to be issues with iTunes Match and the way Apple works the music library on my device. I’m pretty sure this is NOT a “bug” in PracticeLooper.

The solution was simple on those weird tunes – jump into the Music app and tap the cloud icon to download it.

From there all was smooth sailing….

OVERVIEW – The waveform loads into the middle of the screen. You see the detailed, large view on top with a smaller overview of the entire track underneath. In that overview you will also see a rectangle indicating what section you are looking at in the larger, detailed waveform. Grab that rectangle and drag it to quickly change the detailed view. Pinch and zoom works as expected.

Hit the play button and off you go.

CHANGING PLAY LOCATION – If you want to jump to a different spot in the music then drag the playhead. If you want to jump right to a different spot in the detail view then simply tapping ABOVE the waveform will jump you to that spot – To figure out where to tap simply think about where the bulb part of the the playhead is at – ABOVE the waveform.

PracticeLooper 2LOOP SETTING – In order to start a loop simply tap the loop icon. Where ever the playhead is at you will see a loop marker drop in. Then you will notice that the loop icon is spinning, indicating that you need to set the end point for the loop. When the playhead gets to the appropriate spot tap the loop icon and your loop has been set! Don’t worry about being too precise as it is easy as pie to adjust the start and stop points. Once your loop is set the detail view will zoom to the loop section (if you don’t like this you can turn it off in the settings but I’m not sure why you would want to)

EDITING LOOP – Simply tap near the little white triangles, on the detailed waveform and drag to adjust the end points of the loop section.

MULTIPLE LOOPS – You can set up as many points to loop as you wish. Each loop section will be a different color.

ENDING THE LOOP – If you are done with the loop then tap the X in the middle of the loop icon. Beware though that this will actually CLEAR the loop. If you want to save it for later use then simply tap ABOVE the detail view outside of the loop section and the tune will continue on.

SPEED and PITCH – The rehearsal starts with adjusting the speed and sometimes the pitch of your loops. Slow practice is vital as we all know! So slow that loop down, rehearse it a zillion times, adjust the speed some more and keep building up speed until eventually you are a pro!

SAVING LOOP SETTINGS – As you open and close tunes the loop setting you have done will stay there and reappear the next time you open that tune! Nice touch!

PracticeLooper MidiMIDI GIVES EVEN MORE OPTIONS! – The fun doesn’t end with the nice clean and easy to figure out interface though! The developers have built in the option to control this app from a MIDI device! That means that you could use this app and hardly even touch your iPad! This is a surprise inclusion to me! A very nice one too! Click the screen shot to the right here to see all the different setting you can control via MIDI.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT – A nice option would be to set a loop, slow the tempo down and then be able to repeat it 10 times with each time slowly increasing in tempo until the original tempo has been reached.

FINAL THOUGHTS – For an initial release this app is a polished, well working app that gives us musicians of today a HUGE leg up from what we used to have to do! I remember wearing out the start and stop buttons on my tape decks in the past, guessing about how far to rewind and hoping that my tape didn’t break!

The developers have a nice video on their website and their website is well done as well. Having a video like this and a well done website is essential to a successful app launch!

This is an essential app for musicians learning someone else music.

Music Study Apps Part 1- notetracks

NoteTracks Header

When we as musicians sit down to figure out and to study a piece of music there has usually been a bunch of paper, pencil and clicking going on. You hit play and start writing down which section is which, taking notes on where the main theme starts, when the chorus comes in, where to start adding, drums, strings, backup vocal….. and the list goes on and on until you have successfully marked up your paper all over the place in scratches and scrawls that you are lucky to read the next day.

With the advent of technology there are more and more apps available every day to give us a hand in our never ending quest to learn that next tune.

Let’s take a look at the Notetracks Smallnotetracks app which was just released December 5, 2014. The app is currently on an introductory sale of $4.99

This app will help ANYONE who has to listen to a piece of music and analyze it. This app could be used by anyone from elementary age up through college and music professionals as well!

Notetracks 1Upon opening the app you will need to create a new project. Upon entering that project you will need to import your recording from the iTunes library or you can import from DropBox as well. If you are using iTunesMatch, as I am, you will obviously have to make sure you have actually downloaded the track from the cloud first form within iTunes. If you haven’t already downloaded the tune from the cloud first you will see that it is grayed out and you will not be able to select it. You can see that I have this very situation going on in the screenshot to the right.

Once you imported your audio file you are then off to work!

ADDING TEXT, SYMBOLS, and DRAWINGS: You will see the waveform below the timeline and the artwork with a nifty volume slider on the left along with a mute option – more on that later. At the top, in the blue toolbar are your transport controls as you would expect and then the options to start adding Text, Symbols, or Drawings to your project. The obvious choices would be that I am sure you will want to type in the form of the piece – Intro, Verse, Chorus along with where different instruments come in.

Notetrack 2At this point I am sure you will start to experience a few of the frustrations that I found in working with this app. It is easy enough to add in one item – you tap the Tools option in the blue menu bar, select Add Text and a new track of information is added below the waveform. the next step is obvious, tap the +, type in the text and there it is! You can even select which color or size it appears as. THEN…. if you are like me you add a few items and you start to realize that if you want to move things around/change colors or sizes… you MUST make sure to DESELECT the previous item! Otherwise you start to change items you did not want to change! In fact sometimes you move or change items that do not even appear to be selected. Once you have played around with the app for about ten minutes you will get the hang of adding, changing, deleting, and moving items around.

HINT – Again, I can not stress this enough – save yourself some frustration when moving items around! Move the item, edit the color, size and placement THEN TAP IT AGAIN TO DESELECT IT!

A nice feature when wanting to add a number of items at the same spot is that if you drag an item downward the track will expand, as you can see to the left where I have 3-4 things stacked up. Another nifty feature when adding Symbols is that you can simply make sure the correct Symbol is already selected, then tap on the timeline wherever you want to add that symbol – skipping the process of tapping the + and making sure the playhead is in the correct spot. This allows you to add for instance a number of Symbols throughout the entire track all at once.

DRAWINGS: as for adding drawings… this is a nifty feature to have, just don’t expect a large drawing space with lots of tools – think basic and you will not be disappointed.

NAVIGATING and EXTRA TOOLS: About now I am sure you will have decided to see how easy it is to move around in your track. If you want to jump to a specific spot in the waveform, like at the 3 minute mark then simply tap there, even while the track is playing. Of course if the track is playing at the one minute mark and you try scrolling to the five mark, putting the playhead out of view, the screen will frustratingly jump back to the playhead – so simply tap the stop button, move to the spot you want. It would be nice if they gave you a few more seconds before the screen jumped back to center the playhead.

Pinch and expand motions work nicely, allowing you to zoom right in close to see the details or expand all the way to see the entire track at once (which of course is going to make all your notes, symbols and drawings a bit clustered)

In the blue toolbar there are some nice features along with a few annoyances. Let’s take a look at these….

LOOPING and MARKERS – If you tap the infinity icon (the sideways 8) you will get a message that the “Loop markers are not set”. Setting loop markers is easy – simply double tap the waveform where you want the first marker and then double tap where you want the second marker. There is still one more step to getting a loop going though you must press and hold on the loop marker number. This will turn the marker blue (Warning, until you actually lift your finger you will not be able to tell that the marker has become blue because the top stays orange – hopefully the developer fixes this). Long press on two markers and now you have a loop going!

If you tap the Location icon you will be able to edit the markers a bit – you are able to delete them or hide them.

Notetracks 3EQ, PITCH and SPEED OPTIONS – If you tap the Slider icon you will see that you have options for adjusting the Pitch, Speed and EQ of the piece. Quite frankly, as far as I am concerned these are not much help. when you adjust the Pitch for instance, the speed changes. When you adjust the Speed then the pitch changes. If you try to tap the – or + icons on the Pitch options they just simply do nothing. Do be aware that it is simple to mess with these options and then reset them – although unless you read the manual, you will probably never figure it out – simply double tap to return to original settings. I am also very unsure about why the original setting for Speed is not in the center.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS:

It is even possible to add in more than one piece of music into the same project. I am not sure why but that feature is there. When you do add a second piece of music you will want to use that mute button on the album art of the first piece – otherwise you end up listening to two pieces of music at once!

BUGS:

  • Sometimes when undoing and redoing actions things do not actually get undone or redone correctly
  • The playhead centering itself constantly is annoying! In fact – just save yourself a bunch of frustration – make sure the playhead is near where you wish to edit, add, and annotate things at!
  • The Rewind button and the FastForward button do not work at all. This in conjunction with the playhead issue is very frustrating after working your way through a piece of music. The solution is to zoom all the way out, tap the timeline at the beginning OR you can tap the timeline at the far left until you make your way back to the start.

SHARING:

What good is all of this work if you have others to share this with and can not get your information out of your iPad and into their hands?

The Export PDF feature gives you a PDF that you can pass along to others. I have included my simple project – Notetracks_Brule Example. I did not finish this one but just used it as an example for you to check out. You can see that it comes in as one ridiculously long PDF page from left to right. You will have to zoom WAY in but after zooming in this is quite useable!

HINT – When exporting your PDF you MUST make sure to have the track zoomed in enough to be able to read all of them text boxes. NoteTracks DOES NOT do this for you. If you are zoomed out and your boxes are all squished up, the PDF will look exactly the same!

There is also a Copy Text option as well allowing you to take all of your text notes and paste them into an email, text app or whatever. This feature of course would be much more useful if there was a way to figure out where in the timeline each note had been placed.

NoteTracks SharingHINT – PAY ATTENTION HERE PEOPLE – The real gem of sharing is hidden away – again, reading the manual to things pays off boys and girls! When you are at the main screen and you tap on the existing projects option you will then see a list of your projects on your iPad. MAGIC PART – Swipe left and you get to the options to the “Open In” button allowing you to share the project via dropbox, email, AirDrop, other apps and the sort. Check out the screen shot to the right

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This app is NOT meant to learn a piece of music by ear, giving you tools like slowing the tempo of the music down but keeping the pitch intact. See Part Two of my Music Study Apps for a tool for THIS sort!

Notetracks is going to prove to be invaluable when trying to figure out the form of a tune, taking notes while listening to it, and then sharing that information with others! I look forward to where this app will go in the future. There are a few issues with what it offers as is but the features that work are very helpful to any musician who has take notes and annotate a piece of music!

I have to do this sort of annotation constantly with my electronic group as we are performing arrangements of every single piece we perform. Not many people write for our instrumentation. NoteTracks is the perfect fit for us in this sort of situation!

Symphony for iPhone – Free! Music Notation App for the palm of your hand!

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 7.56.50 AMOK People! This is a no brainer!

There are a couple of music notation apps available for iPad currently. One of the main choices for anyone seriously looking for a great app has been SymphonyPro Small IconSymphony Pro by Xenon Labs, LLC. This app has been out for a while now and has matured into a wonderful way to work. Now Xenon has released Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 7.56.50 AMSymphony for iPhone  (normally $4.99 and worth every penny of that!) BUT currently it is on a very short sale – it’s a good sale too – FREE!

Unfortunately, Xenon is breaking one of my cardinal rules of selling an app. They really have no web site showing off what the iPhone version is capable of currently. I am sure they are working on one but for now you have to read what is offered to you on the iTunes Store.

Let me highlight a few significant items for music educators:

  1. This app works with Music XML – that means you can start a score here and transfer it to another app like Symphony Pro on iPad, Notion on iPad or even Sibelius/Finale/Notion on desktop!
  2. This app will allow students to pull MIDI files off the internet and put them into notation files! This is a wonderful way to find transcriptions that others have done but are not available in sheet music yet.
  3. You can hook up an external device like a MIDI keyboard and speed up entry of notes!
  4. You can even record in real time!
  5. You have up to 15 instruments, 45 staves and 4 voices per stave at a time to work with!
  6. You can make staves invisible to view only what you want to view at any given time – as you can imagine, this would be very helpful on a smaller screen.
  7. There are chord, lyric and even annotation tools available
  8. After your students are done creating they can use AirPlay to play their masterpiece through AirPlay compatible speakers or an Apple TV (or the AirServer/Reflection apps) – Think about it – NO WIRES!

Can you tell I’m a bit excited about this? 🙂

Symphony Screen Shot

Holderness Media Effects Apps for iPhone Released! (Sale price right now too!)

crystalline_perform_view_iPad_Air_854wOne of the great iOS Music Developers, Holderness Media, has had a suite of effects apps out for iPad for awhile now. The news of the week though is that on Jan 8, 2015, he released four of the apps for iPhone! Now our little iOS friends can take part in the fun alongside the iPad!

This is going to be loads of fun especially since an iPhone6+ has the extra screen space but is still small enough to stick in your pocket! These effects can easily replace a guitarists effects pedals or work alongside of them! (Of course those pedals aren’t going to fit in your pocket very well though!)

stereodesigner_screen_sliders_2048x1536Just look at all the tweak-able controls you get in these apps! X-Y Pads to make fast easy adjustments, then there are the sliders on the next screen that allow even more tweaking, morphing, echoes, swooping and all sorts of fun on the fly! You do not even have to have any idea what you are doing to have fun with controls like these available at your fingertips!

These apps allow you to apply the effects a live input, like a guitar/drum module/keyboard etc… or any app that is AudioBus/InterAppAudio compatible! I’ve included a video at the bottom of this post that will give you a little idea of what is possible with these apps.

It bears mentioning that I fully support Christopher Rice’s (the developer) decision to charge for iPhone versions of these apps. Many people may not like having to pay twice but when you have great developers who love the iOS community and work hard to give us amazing apps, they deserve our financial support! Plus, the are offering amazing deals on the app bundles! Buy the bundle and save a bundle!

Here are the four iPhone apps – Each is $1.99

Echo Pad - HoldernessEcho Pad (This is the only one of the Holderness apps that is actually an universal app. Which means you only have to buy one app that will work on iPad and iPhone)

Crystalline - HoldernessCrystalline mini

Stereo Designer Mini - Holderness MediaStereo Designer Mini

Swoopster Holderness MediaSwoopster Mini

Caramel - Holderness MediaCaramel Mini

Here are the links for the iPad Versions –

Echo Pad - HoldernessEcho Pad  (This is the only one of the Holderness apps that is actually an universal app. Which means you only have to buy one app that will work on iPad and iPhone)

Crystalline - HoldernessCrystalline

Stereo Designer Mini - Holderness MediaStereo Designer

Swoopster Holderness MediaSwoopster

Caramel - Holderness MediaCaramel

Here are links to the bundles –

Holderness Media Bundle – iPhone Bundle ($8.99) – 50% off currently

Holderness Media Bundle – iPad Bundle ($11.99)

 

Caramel YouTube Video – The other apps are kind of self explanatory but Caramel is a much deeper app with some amazing possibilities! Take a Look –

Using An RSS News Reader and Blogs To Give Students Feedback on Assignments

 

Mr Reader Header

Mr Reader largeI have to say that one of the most used apps on my iPad is my RSS news feed app. It is through my RSS news feeds that I can follow an absurd number of websites, blogs, news updates and almost anything on the web that I am interested in. I used to go visit a small handful of sites every day hoping for the latest exciting news about various topics. That list grew too large and RSS is my answer to saving time!

I have settled on using MrReader Small IconMr. Reader (the best $3.99 you will spend in the app store!) finally after trying out about every one that is out there. To the right you see a screenshot of what that looks like when a student has posted their assignment.

Mr Reader ScreenIf you are note familiar with RSS News Feeds let me explain a bit – IF you have a website that is frequently updated then you simply add the address to that website into your RSS news feed. Then whenever there is an update they will show up in your news feed – no need to go check, no need to check to find no update and it when it does show up you will only see a small portion of the article allowing you to quickly skim over things you are not that interested in!

The really exciting part of using RSS news feeds as a teacher is using them to help me teach better! I now have all my 8th-12th grade students posting assignments to WordPress Blogs. We don’t do anything huge usually but as all students are required to write in ALL classes at our school, the blogs help me fulfill that requirement. More importantly it allows me to give immediate feedback as students do their work all without ever touching a pile of papers!

Mr Reader AnnotatedHere is the process…

1)Students create a blog at wordpress.com (free and easy!) They then email the link to their blog and I copy it, then paste it into the Mr. Reader iPad app. I also give it a better name so I know which blog goes with which student and ALSO assign it to the Student Folder. (I made you a nifty little video below so you can see that process as sometimes it is easier to see these things so go watch the video!)

2)I then give them an assignment like – write a reflection on our last concert/rehearsal/guest clinician.

3)They then write the reflection as a blog post on their own time OUTSIDE of rehearsal! I’ve found that most of my students can do it on their own devices – a huge advantage of using WordPress because their are mobile apps kids can download or the blogs can be accessed through most any device that has a web browser.

4)As soon as they post their blog entry I start seeing them show up in Mr. Reader.

5)I then leave comments giving them feedback about their work. Students can choose to post those comments so anyone can see what I have said or they can choose to keep my comments hidden.

6)Last step – enter grade in school grade book. I hardly ever make these worth a ton of points but if they are not in the grade book students don’t have the incentive to get them done usually.

CONCLUSION:
If you want your students to write more, have a place to turn in compositions (they take picture and upload to their blog) or a place where it is easy to pass on feedback to them then this is a no-brainer! The process of getting students signed up for a WordPress takes one day in the computer lab. The process is simple and even 8th grade kids have no trouble doing this with your help of stepping them through it.

Even without having students writing blogs – I can not imagine not using an RSS News Reader to keep up on the days events! Seriously, this app allows me to work through 180 or more website updates every day. Because of the nature of the RSS feed coming through as a summary, it is so easy to skim over what I need to skip and focus on the important news!

VIDEO:

Here is the video I promised…. and as always, if you have questions, please leave me a comment below! (which will then show up in my Mr. Reader news feeds and I will get back to you soon as I can!)

Pixelmator – A real photo editor for your iPad

I suppose it's because I am finishing marching season and I have to go through all the photos I've taken this year, that I am thinking so much about photo apps. Or maybe it's just because Pixelmator is such a game changer of an app.

Pixelmator is a brand new app that we first saw in a demo the day that the iPhone6 was introduced.

If you have ever wanted to edit those pics you have taken but the edit options in Apple Photos just are not enough for you then it's time to move up! Of course maybe if you had an app like Pixelmator, you would find new and exciting ways to manipulate your photos to bring your teaching materials to life?

Filters, effects, adding text, shadows, being able to adjust color, light balance, or drastically improve less then perfect pics with a few taps…. All of this is what Pixelmator is about.

I love the heal tool…. You really have to experience this to believe it. Have an extra person in your pic that you don't want? Brush over them and wa-la, they are gone, replaced by a magic background of what would have been there if they weren't.

This is one more of those apps that has a desktop version to match. The best part is that the iPad version was developed specifically for iPad, not simply adapted to it. This means that everything is optimized for touch. It also means that through iCloud, your pics and their edits can be found both on your iPad as well as your Mac!

Of course since you are going to want to share those amazing pics you have edited with parent of your students, sharing has to be easy. Pixelmator has Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook all covered.

Pixelmator is $4.99

 

Save Time In Front Of Class With LaunchCenter Pro for iPad

Teachers all understand the importance of saving even a few keystrokes, a few seconds, in front of a class of middle students! The more that technology takes a back seat in a lesson plan the better off we all are. If the tech isn't bringing attention to itself but the students learning is front and center then the tech is in the right place.

That means that we must become very comfortable with the tech we are using, we can not be stumbling and fumbling to make things happen. It also means that any shortcut we can use to get technology working faster and smoother is a good idea.

Launch Center Pro for iPad and iPhone has a simple mission statement that fits the above criteria…. “Launch actions, not just apps!” Think about it…. Why do we launch an app in the first place? We launch apps to do things. That means that once the app launches we then start tapping more buttons to do that “thing”.

I message parents frequently but I usually wait until after class…. What if I could speed that task up and send a message faster? Would I communicate even more?

I like to tweet about exciting learning taking place in class but opening the camera, then taking a picture, then opening Twitter to send the tweet is quite a few steps. What if I could do all of that in one step? Would I spread more news about the learning going on in class?

What about taking attendance…. Open Safari, open bookmarks then finally tap the website for school attendance. How about jumping right there?

Well if those sort of thoughts entice you to rethink your use of tech then you need to take a look at Launch Center Pro… There is the iPad version and then the iPhone version.

Here is the first line from their website…., “It’s like speed dial for everyday tasks. Launch Center Pro saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.”