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iPad Lesson: Spanish

Sixth grade Spanish has turned a new leaf in learning with today’s in-class lesson!  Featured apps in use DRAGON DICTATION, TURBO COLLAGE, and EVERNOTE with website

This week’s iPad in the classroom lesson had students taking iPad2’s around the library take first take pictures of activities they both like and don’t like to do.  Using TurboCollage, the students label the activity pictures using their Spanish verb vocabulary.  The collage is then put into Evernote where they typed sentences in Spanish about the activities they chose.  After that, they used Dragon Dictation to practice their own pronunciation of their sentences before recording in Evernote to send in to their teacher.

This lesson is so incredible in a myriad of ways that engages the student right from the beginning with the use of the iPad2 to take pictures rather than get started with the educational apps for the lesson.  Students are eager to help each other out with posing for pictures in shots of writing homework or cleaning trash from the ground.  Integrating the iPad2’s Safari browser to use also gave the students a quick and easy way to type in English words that translate to Spanish with audio clips aiding in pronunciation.  Really a very cool lesson that hit on so many great topics of content.  Woot for another great technology integration!

Music 4 the Classroom

On October 6, 2011 I had the joy of joining Lisa Johnson and Yolanda Barker on their Appy Hour radio blog to talk about some of the ways iPad music apps can make their way into classrooms.  With both free and paid music productions apps, we explored and tested these programs and boasted their benefits on the air for listeners.   Here is the link for the radio show and while you’re there, you should definitely check out the other shows as well!

Music 4 the Classroom

Garage Band, Beatwave, Barrel Tones, Virtuoso Piano Free, LoopJ, MadPad HD, and Six Strings
Here are the apps and my take on each one. Naturally, you can explore various ways to integrate music into classes that spread across all content areas but surely will appeal to those looking for multimedia integration.
GarageBand ($4.99) is part of Apple’s iLife suite that is now available on the iPad. This app by far is most bang for the buck with an all inclusive offering of virtual instruments, effects, multi-track recording functions and sharing/exporting.  The program makes great use of the iPad’s touching ability by allowing you to bend strings on the guitars, or beat the drum kits as you find timing and rhythm.
   Beatwave (Free) is a great introduction app to using pre-recorded sound loops to make music.  The app does have pay-for additional content but you can get so much done just having students and users learn how sound-on-sound layers work to make harmony or chaos with infinite possibilities.  Everyone should have this app on their iPad just try it for themselves.
Barrel Tones (Free) is a no frills drum app that gives you a simple play along track selection to finger beat in what sounds right in timing.  You can choose between a couple different background tracks but the challenge is learning how to use different pieces of the drum kit to sound harmonious with the play along. Great for introductions to timing and music production.
  Virtuoso Piano (Free) gives the user a great introduction to piano with the ability to toggle between showing or not showing each key notation on the piano keys. An extra cool feature is being able to split screen your iPad so two users can collaborate playing along with each other in Duette mode. 
  LoopJ (Free) is a true interactive looping environment for the users who really want to take their sound production and mixing to the next level. The graphic interface is stunningly beautiful with bright colors that manage not to feel overwhelming or busy once you’ve gone through a few turns with the features.  The learning curve is not very steep once you begin to play with each function and instrument.  This app also has additional content you can pay for to add features like recording for saving project files rather than just experimenting.
  MadPad HD ($2.99) is a totally awesome app that wants you to record sound bites from everyday life so that it can arrange a matrix of collage clips ready to touch.  When you touch each block, you’ll get the sound output of what you recorded and where the fun begins is making music that utilizes these sounds. Think of the performances by the touring group ‘STOMP’ and how they mash up broom sweeps and trash can hits to form the percussive harmony of bass and treble to form music. Definitely worth the low price tag and endless in-class opportunities for production and learning.
  6 Strings ($6.99) is an incredible touch-to-play app that lets you turn your iPad sideways and string virtual guitars/instruments of the electric, classic, acoustic, steel, mandolin, banjo and steel drum variety.  Learning how to play the guitar has never been more intuitive with chord arrangements built into the instrument so that performances are virtually guaranteed to sound good.  You can pluck individual strings or strum up and down without the stress that strings can put on fingers.  This is great for young learners in a classroom as well as seasoned players.

The applications of sound production in classes really begins to take off by having limitless lessons that could include sound editor, mixer, producer, musician, technician, etc. as roles for students to take on in projects.  I look forward to the next batch of music apps that can help you curb your “app-etite for instruction” as it has me. 

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