As I continue to countdown 10 websites for the elementary general music class, I remind you of the following:
- Treat this like a dessert buffet and taste test the ones that interest you. Do not eat them all as they will be too much of a good thing.
- The countdown will end on 1/1/20 and a webinar demonstrating all of the websites will follow soon after.
- This is a good list, but there are more that I did not mention.
- I hope that you find one or two new tools to try in your classroom.
- These can be used in a classroom with one device to a classroom with 1:1 devices.
#8: Tech Tools to Assist the Music Educator and Upper Elementary Student
The music website of this week is https://123apps.com/. I first found this website through the tech guru Tony Vincent. Tony was writing about how to make a QR code that plays your voice. He mentions the website online-voice-recorder.com to make a quick audio recording that can download to your hard drive (or Google Drive if your students are working on a chromebook). I decided to check out the site.
When I researched online-voice-recorder.com, I found out that it was just one portion of a larger website called https://123apps.com/. 123APPS hosts 10 free web apps that run in the browser. I used Chrome browser successfully with these apps. Therefore, these apps can be used by a teacher on their computer/laptop or by a student on a chromebook. A breakdown of the apps are as follows:
When you click on PDF Tools, it brings you to another page full of essential online PDF tools. There are many conversion tools from Word to PDF and PDF to Word doc, as well as excel conversions, jpg conversions, splitting PDFs, and merging PDFs.
This free online app can be used to cut audio tracks right in your browser. This audio edit tool is quick and stable, with over 300 supported file formats, includes fade in and fade out features, and has ringtone quality presets. You can access files directly from your hard drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or a url.
A free online app that can be used to edit multiple audio fragments simultaneously. The app features waveform zooming. Waveform zooming feature allows you to cut audio tracks precisely and makes it easy to handle long tracks. It also allows editing and fades.
A free online app that converts audio files for you. This app supports most formats, processes your files quickly, and does not require any sort of download or installation. The converter works with over 300 different file formats including video formats, converting them to mp3, wav, m4a, flac, ogg, amr, mp2, and more. Just upload the original file, choose your format and quality, and download the output file to your computer or Google Drive.
А free online app you can use to join multiple audio tracks into one. It supports most popular file formats. It also includes crossfades and unlimited tracks.
A free web app that converts video files, allowing you to change the video format, resolution or size right in your browser. You can upload files up to 2Gb in size and the app supports more than 300 video formats, and the number keeps growing. Think Zamzar, but without the limitations of how many items you can upload in one day!
This web app comes in handy when you need to cut a small video file. It does not require installation, and it works in your browser. You can rotate, crop, and edit your videos. Files of up to 500 Mb are supported, and they state that they are about to raise this limit!
This is the app that Tony mentioned in his tweet. Voice Recorder is a convenient and simple online tool that can be used right in your browser. It allows you to record your voice using a microphone and save it as an mp3 file. You can also crop the recording. The app is intuitive as it can automatically edit out silence fragments found at the beginning and the end of your recording.
This online app for recording video and taking pictures right in your browser. This simple app has flexible video and audio settings. It can process your files quickly, and allows you to work with files of any length. The app can record videos of unlimited length. You can save your output video file on your computer or in Google Drive or Dropbox.
Archive Extractor is a small and easy online tool that can extract over 70 types of compressed files, such as 7z, zipx, rar, tar, exe, dmg and much more.
For each app, there is an explanation of one of the following:
- No hidden payments, activation fees, or charges for extra features.
- Our application will always remain free. You don’t have to buy a license or pay for extra features or downloads.
- All our services are free and will always be free. There are no hidden payments or charges for exceeding the quota.
- You don’t have to pay anything. All of the app features are accessible and free of charge. Moreover, you don’t even need to sign up or sign in.
- Safety-They delete your files a few hours after you are done working with them.
Classroomscreen.com was developed by Laurens Koppers from the Netherlands. In his words, “I wanted to use a free and simple tool with all my favorite digiboard widgets to help my students focus more on their work. I could not find such a thing, so I decided to make it myself. And here it is!” This website is excellent. If you need a quick timer, random name chooser, exit poll, or you miss some of those items that the SMART Notebook used to carry, then this website might be what you need.
How Do You Use the Website?
When you connect your device to a projector, or if you airplay your device, you can launch the widget of your choice to display on the screen. You do not need an interactive whiteboard to utilize this app. In it best used on the chrome web browser. Since it is not flash-based, it will work on most devices.
Here is a breakdown of the widgets that are provided on this website:
The ExitPoll is to the far right of the screen and represented by a yellow and green bars and emoji faces. It is challenging to see as it is not apart of the widgets listed on the bottom of the screen. However, it is a very useful tool
Uses: You can type any question you would like to quickly poll at the end of a class into the bar at the top of the ExitPoll screen. When the students leave the classroom, they can click the face on the screen (tablet or laptop work as well) that represents their answer. For example, you could type a question like, “Are you ready to perform that song next time in class?” or a statement like, “I feel good about playing my recorder song today in class”, or an “I can” statement. After the students leave the classroom, you can click on “show results” to see how they felt today in class.
The Language Widget will translate your page into 40+ languages and will let you add other languages.
The Background widget provides you with numerous backgrounds for your screen. It also lets you customize it by uploading your own background image.
The Random Name and Dice widget allows you to copy and paste the names in each of your classes so the widget can randomly pick a student in your class.
Uses: You can save the lists by clicking the save icon. The next time you need the list, you can upload it through the widget.
The dice will roll up to three dice simultaneously.
The Sound Level widget uses the microphone in your device to test the sound level of your room. You can also change the sensitivity of the microphone.
Uses: Are you located next to an area with a lot of sound? This widget can help you prove that the sound level from that area is affecting your teaching.
The QR widget gives you a QR code to immediately access this website from any device.
There are two Drawing widgets. The one with the X allows you to draw on the screen. You can change the width of the drawing tool with the + and – tools. You can erase with the empty circle tool. You can clear the screen by clicking the red x. If you close the Drawing widget and then open it again, the drawing that you left will reappear again on the screen. It will not disappear until you close the tab on the Chrome web browser.
The Drawing widget without the X does pretty much the same thing as the Drawing widget with the X. The biggest difference that I could see was that this widget allows you to upload a .jpg file and draw on top of that jpg file.
The Text widget allows you to type text and paste images into a text box. Like the Drawing widgets, if you close the Text widget, and then reopen it, the previous text will reappear. It will not disappear until you close the tab on the Chrome browser.
The Work Symbol app tells the students when they should be working in silence, whispering to a friend, asking a neighbor for help, or working together in a group.
Uses: There are times when I would like to assess the students on whether or not they understood what I just taught them. I will ask them to explain it to their neighbor. This widget would make that a little more exciting because they could whisper it, tell them in a speaking voice, or find more neighbors to tell.
This widget is a traffic light that you can click to light up red, yellow, or green.
Uses: This is a great tool for music and movement. You can assign a student to be the conductor and when the student presses green, everyone dances vivace. When the student taps yellow, everyone dances largo. When the student taps red, everyone makes a statue that freezes at various levels.
Uses: This tool could be used to show understanding. You could show the QR widget. The students scan the QR widget on their own devices and then click on the traffic light. When you are teaching, you can pause to ask them if they understood what you just explained. Or you could ask them if they are ready to test for their next star on their recorder belt. The light could represent how they are feeling: red-not ready, yellow-will be ready soon, but not yet, and green-ready.
The Timer widget lets you use a stopwatch or a digital timer to time whatever it is you need to time in your classroom.
The Clock widget displays the time in your current time zone. It can display it in military time or regular time.
As stated on the website, you can go into full screen mode. You can also add the website to your iPad home screen by doing the following (you must be in Safari to do this): “Tap the Share button. This is the button immediately to the right of the address bar. You should see “Add to Home Screen” in the second row of buttons. Now you have a ClassroomScreen webapp.” Finally, you can place several widgets on the screen at once. You can close the widget by clicking the “x” located on the widget icon when they widget is being displayed.
#7: Simple and Fun Music Creativity
Incredibox has been a music creativity treasure that has been around for years. Originally flash-based, the website left flash and now has free and paid versions.
Teachers can use incredibox on a device, such as a laptop, chromebook, or iPad (using the iOS app), hooked to a decent pair of speakers, projected onto a screen for the students to see. They can be involved in choosing the style and form of the piece of music that they create together.
The teacher could have the students create a rap or a poem on a topic, such as a rules rap, and then they use a device with incredibox on it to create the background accompaniment to their rap or poem.
In a 1:1 classroom, the teacher could give the students a guided musical creation where they use incredibox to create a piece of music with a certain form.
Incredibox is an app and website that students immediately take to and feel successful in creating music. It is one that they will ask how they can utilize it at home. It is also one where parents and caregivers can get involved in creating music with their children.
Tips with Incredibox: Some educators do not like the shirtless cartoon beatboxers. From what I have heard, there is still a version 1 found here (https://www.incredibox.com/flash/), in the flash version, where they are not shirtless. Incredibox can also get old fast with elementary students. Definitely utilize it, but space it out to have the most positive, musical effect.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com