This post includes the slide deck and links to resources from the “AudioBiography” workshop as part of the Center for Progressive Education Conference 2018 in San Francisco. Follow my posts on Twitter at @eh48 or on Instragram @soundteaching for further insights!
We all do it once in a while.
"I'm taking a vacay here" or "a long weekend there" and "I need to disconnect from tech" for a few days (or weeks). What is it that makes technology sometimes feel all-consuming, a slow soul-suck that wants to hang on like a giant lake leech?
It started with Facebook.
A game-changer that shifted society's way of communicating and connecting. A powerful engine of youth-driven tech bliss, which then seeped into the everyday lives of their parents and grandparents. What started as a "cool new way of learning about one another and re-connecting with past friends," turned into a massive engine of artifacts, fragments, political/social movement, rhetorical questions and un-prompted answers. A new single super-highway that evolved into a metropolis. What if you don't want to "live" in a metropolis? #suckstobeyou
Then came mobile apps and quick-firing fingertips that don't want to lose their mobile momentum. Like the invention of the microwave and the need for quick, cheap food (due to world war craziness), we have again as a society followed the wave of innovative bliss. "This is something we have NEVER experienced before. Let's check it out, yo!" There's nothing wrong with being a curious, ever-learning society with growth mindsets and such, but we do need to understand one thing:
Curiosity does not equal conviction.
We enjoy these toys that seem self-evident. But, not all tech is created with an equal objective. We must be aware of WHY we have this thing or that app. WHY was it created, and to whom is it relevant? Some of us still use microwaves to cook everything, but others choose to cook the majority of their food using an oven or stove top. Not because they don't believe the microwave is a useful technology, but that they like to cook with their own two hands and eat food that is more naturally grown. It doesn't make one person better than the other, but we all have a different version of what is RELEVANT in our lives. With a greater density of technology options, it becomes so much more important to answer the question: What do I really NEED to make my life more fulfilling?
I go in phases myself. Sometimes, I truly want to create things. I am an ARTIST, after all, and often get the urge to compose music, write poetry or blog! Sometimes this requires paper and more often a laptop/iPad/iPhone. Frankly, a lot of technology out there makes it more efficient to create art. Plain and simple. I can put a digital music arrangement together on my laptop much quicker than recording each part live into an 8-track or whatevs. I can convey my own thoughts so much faster by typing rather than writing on paper. However, I still have moments where I truly want to journal and/or draw in an actual journal on nice paper with a nice pen. Because I was not put on this earth to use technology. I was put here to be me, whatever that means.
Let's get back to the original question: why do we disconnect (from technology)?
We disconnect from technology (and other things, frankly) to create a balance between your own drive and the motivations of innovation. As humans, we need to be self-paced. We need to control how we see the world and at what speed. Sometimes this means really diving into something new, that really intrigues us and fits into our "speed" at the time. Other times, we need to lay back, go back to first gear, ignore the microwave and re-connect with the analog properties of the everyday world. It's pretty beautiful, actually. Beautiful that we have that choice.
Don't feel ashamed if you have to touch the "disconnect dial" once in a while. We are blood-pumping, breathing human machines that need some analog TLC on the occasion that our innovation-brain needs a vacation. #longsentence #importantsentence
Why do YOU disconnect? Comments below. #hollaatyogirl
We ALL know how frustrating technology can be, am I right?
Believe me, I've been working in the educational technology industry for 5+ years, the technology training industry for 5+ years, the technology support industry for over 5 years and the corporate A/V industry for a year. Sometimes it still happens. The RAGE.
Don't worry, I don't show it to other innocent humans. But it still happens, and it's all perspective.
Summer tech. work is INTENSE. It's a lot about making lists upon lists and always aware of deadlines upon deadlines. It's also about what can wait until mid-September? Good skills to have, though. Being able to tell a heap of work that "you ain't worthy of the beginnings of my year, yo. Wait in line like the rest. You second best."
New iPads are LEGIT to setup. So fancy and nice and...they require DEP scoping, yo.
We got over 100 new iPads this year to replace older ones in the line-up. Cool. Don't forget to scope 55 of them (manually) to the correct DEP pre-stage enrollment group in JAMF (based on the graduation year) and leave the rest for the other general enrollment group. Cool. No biggity.
Let's make sure each Lower School classroom gets the same model of iPad...no easy feat. Did some math and some magic and we GOOD. However, 3/4 through wiping all LS iPads and setting them up in Active Directory bindings, they stop "checking in" with our JAMF database. WTF.
Then, our printer policies stop pushing out and pretend like there's no driver in the freaking driver's seat. #ERRRRRG
I called my buddies at JAMF support (super cool and helpful peeps). They on it. I had to send multiple Terminal commands via our MySQL Database to dig deep. It's still an open case. I get the feeling these issues are related. If this shiz doesn't get sorted in a week, ain't no one getting a computer that can print (I think).
...you know what?
I am a human using non-human tools in a human world. I need to remind myself that my humanity is more important than the inner-workings of a human-made metal machine that doesn't know how to order an Americano from an indy coffee shop.
There's always a solution stemming from a creative human brain. Always.
The bottom line is that you should never completely trust in a techno workflow and that you are strong enough to design the solution, with or without the techno.
Chill nights be tight. There's something so right About a dream that's real, With so much appeal.
All it takes is patience In what may conspire. A path that only some faith will inspire.
Keep leading me higher And higher. This pain will lead me to fire.
Another "iPad Collection Season" at Hillbrook just wrapped itself up in a nice bow.
We used a different strategy this year (compared to previous years): collect 4 grade levels of iPads in 1.5 days instead of 1.5 weeks. It seemed a bit daunting at first, since it takes a lot of energy to guide multiple groups of students through the collection process, in addition to hauling said iPads from one side of campus to another after collection (with only two of us collecting). It was worth it, however, to have a faster timeline and more efficient process. Ultimately, it gave students a longer period of time with their iPads, which helps when teachers are still assigning final projects and assignments that are dependent on the use of an iPad.
If you are curious about the process we use for iPad Collection (in middle school), check it out below:
- In the fall, when iPads are deployed, have students create an empty folder titled, "2018 Work." They can upload items here throughout the year if desired. This isn't exactly what we for "student portfolios," but it's a way for students to quickly keep things that are important to them.
- Starting 1-2 weeks before iPad collection: have advisors/teachers guide students through uploading any content they want to keep for next year to the "2018 Work" folder mentioned above. Here are the general instructions we give students for this process.
- Have advisors/teachers remind students to: have their name and grade level CLEARLY visible on their case, remove any decorations from their case, locate and bring their charger + cable and bring their iPads fully charged on collection day.
- (Optional) Make a special announcement to the whole school mentioning all important items from step 3. BONUS: do this in character, calling yourself "Collector Gadget" and using a thick east coast accent and improvised routine (I have done this two years in a row!). Feel free to make up your own character ;)
- Gather a BUNCH of milk crates/rolling carts and label them by grade level. Have at least one bin solely for collecting chargers. Grab some electronic spray cleaner and some micro-fiber cloths as well.
- Create a spreadsheet listing all students, separated into tabs by grade level. Make columns for "iPad," "Charging block," "Charging cable" and comments. This will be crucial for keeping track of missing items or broken screens.
- On collection day: go through these steps with students. It helps to teach them how to properly tie their charging cable. Also, it helps to setup a "cleaning station" for wiping their screens.
- Use your spreadsheet to check off items as they are turned in. It took us about 20-25 minutes per group of 20 students (give or take) with two and sometimes one person checking in.
That's about it!
I am usually the only Tech person here most of the summer, so it's important to me to have iPads as organized as possible before the school year officially ends. This summer, I will fix broken iPads, swap out cases, update our MDM inventory and profiles, rotate iPads in or out of inventory and get ready for another rockin' school year!
What do you do at YOUR school for iPad collection? Comment below!
I am sure many of us in this situation of consistent glitchy-ness would continue to use the site indefinitely, no matter how frustrating (assuming it is a useful site otherwise). In these two situations, I decided I did not want to sit there and let these seemingly obvious glitches keep swimming down the stream of internet subconsciousness we all float upon (some of the time).
I wanted to be an advocate for change!
So, in both scenarios, I contacted the support team for the site (by phone if possible) and explained that nothing was immediately wrong on my end, but I wanted to bring to their attention a glitch that I had experienced many times and that they should know about it!
Both companies were extremely helpful and pleased that I was actually going out of my way to help a company become better.
Now, I am not trying to boast or make myself look like a better human being than everyone else. I simply want to spread the word that it's very gratifying to know that your observations, quick communication and few minutes of time can not only help a company improve their user experience but can spread positive and proactive thinking across industries.
So, go find some glitches!
Hey guys! The Hillbrook Art Show 2018 is about to wrap up. It's been quite the artistic year over here and I wanted to share with you some personal experiences with 6th grade Sound Art.
As I mentioned in a previous post or two, I have been teaching a new 6th grade art class focusing on SOUND. It's been a very fun and eye-opening experience for both the students and myself (being my first time teaching a class of my own outside of percussion ensemble) as a new medium for self expression and storytelling.
We created several small projects over the course of the class (I had 4 groups of 6th-grade students that rotated between 4 art classes throughout the year):
- Sound Reflections (Listening for five minutes to a sound artifact and either writing or drawing their interpretation/story based on their connection with it.)
- Soundscapes with LoopyHD (Students made observations in the form of writing and audio recording of sounds that encompass the area around them. They then recreated the sounds they previously heard by recording new sounds in the LoopyHD app.)
- Short Videos with Foley Sound Effects (Students got to meet and see a cool demo by a working Foley professional! They also created their own 30-45 second video clips (or grabbed a licensed one from Vimeo) and recorded all of the sounds themselves!
- AudioBiography Final Projects (Based on a chosen personal "theme," students composed their own audio (including Foley sound effects) to help embody that theme or idea. A visual element was required in addition to sound. Students used GarageBand, LoopyHD and iMaschine as primary audio creation tools and chose between iMove, Padlet, Thinglink or Scratch + MakeyMakey for their final presentation medium. Check out all of the awesome student projects below (be ready for some interesting variety):
Quarter 1: bit.ly/2ILnZRQ
Quarter 2: bit.ly/2rHMOoe
Quarter 3: bit.ly/2IlMguk
Quarter 4: bit.ly/2II2CB8
For the Art Show this year, I made sure to take 360-degree images of each class. Then, I uploaded either links to or the actual project to a hot spot under their picture. I setup two iMacs at a table with links to the AudioBiographies (and other projects) already open in several tabs (on Thinglink). I also laid out several pairs of headphones with headphone splitters so visitors could listen simultaneously (great way to connect with others in an abstract way!).
All in all, this has been a fun and challenging year of stretching and discovering what students can create with sound. Can't wait to teach this again next year!
#fyi I am always available for more information about any of the above-mentioned projects or any other thoughts or questions you may have.
To connect with Hillbrook teachers about audio-integrated projects we have done or are in the process of doing, fill out this form. We would love to talk to you and provide more information about these projects!
Description from our "Audio App-titude" session at CUE 2018:
"Is music just for music class? Is sound something you hear, but never write about? Incorporating a multi-sensory experience is instrumental in designing a more differentiated learning environment. This session will highlight a few audio apps and tools that can bring a new level of engagement to the (non-music) classroom. "
What makes me second-guess everything that I see?
The answer is not in what makes it you or me,
But it is troubling when I forget to breathe.
To feel claustrophobic beyond belief
Is like listening to your own blinking heart beat.
It is not as if there is no hope.
Only a sense of being out of scope.
I do not feel helpless or out of touch.
My inner strength feels very robust.
The pot hole inside is gaining ground.
What I really need is to feel profound.
What can I do to fill the hole?
All of my elements will be in control.
I need you there to see this through,
For what comes from your journey is in me too.
Digital Tools Used/Mentioned:
- Loopy HD (iPad)
- iMovie (iPad)
- GarageBand (iPad)
- iMaschine (iPad)
- Padlet Backpack (iPad)
- Thinglink (Web)
- Scratch (Mac/Web)
- Final Sound Project Guidelines
- Loopy HD Info
- Loopy HD Tips
- iMaschine Info
- GarageBand for iOS Guide
- Foley Sound Recording Video
- Cue SF Home Page
|(Click on image for presentation slides.)|
GarageBand (All-around "home base" for audio production)
iMaschine (Cool digital drum machine/looper)
LoopyHD (Basic live recording and looping)
Thinglink (Regular and 360 images + audio tags)
Padlet (Padlet Backpack is great for schools)
Link to Free Sound Effects Site! (Good one)
MakeyMakey Sound Board Project!
Below are the resources I shared in my two CUE Tip sessions during CUE 2017!
P.S. Don't forget to enjoy #cue17 and #rockitout.
CUE Tip: Own Your Tech!
CUE Tip: The "Pied" Piper
Created by yours truly as troubleshooting tool for teachers/students.
Template for creating your own Google Doc resource guide.
Create your own interactive troubleshooting guide!
Mirroring app for MacOS/Windows for Airplay from an iOS device to a laptop.
Use for creating sketches/illustrations of your classroom setup.
Use for creating organized notes/images/tags of setup-related resources.
It means doing some things manually
and a few a day late. It means breaking things
And putting others away.
Let's all be a little quieter today.
That was a poem to set the right mood. Yes, my job is primarily focused on technology. Or, should I say that my job DESCRIPTION is focused on it. We all work each day to fulfill certain expectations that are imposed on us due to goals set by either a third party or by your own awesome growth mindset. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. However, how often do you take a step back and realize that "hey, I'm human. I have needs. I get hungry. I get sad. I get angry. I get confused, I get... I feel... I need..." I get. I feel. I need. These characteristics carry forward into the translations of our daily work. We fill voids that lack empathy and bring perspective to a binary conversation. We make the water cooler COOLER. Our job descriptions don't include these very valid human characteristics and perspectives. They are based on expected actions, activities and results (nothing wrong with it, though).
Go ahead and take a snapshot of today in your mind. Pick any time that sticks out. What were you thinking? What were you planning? What conversations did you have?? How much of that was in your job description?
All I am saying is that there is a reason they hire humans and not robots. We could be automatonic or automa--NOT.
Don't exist to check the boxes.
Exist to persist,
Even if a dash or dot gets missed.
Sometimes being analog is okay.
It's tough to face the screams in play.
The people lied, they bend and sway.
It's tough to really know the way.
If all the Earth were blue and gray.
If all the truth was out of play.
If wisest minds were kept at bay.
A blinded ship will ride the waves.
Who am I to pitch my voice?
Who am I to make a choice?
Who am I to be aware?
Of all the pain that's caused by fear.
Heaviness may be inside.
Helplessness may make you cry.
We are more than fear and lies.
Keep the faith, we will not die.
You are one to reckon with.
ACTION changes those who sit.
Happiness begins with wit.
Never be the one to quit.