Piano With Animoto

This week for EDCT 300 I reviewed the App/ website Animoto which allowed me to create quick, easy videos from saved media on my devices.

This week while I continued my piano journey I documented some aspects to used to create a video. I later used the website Animoto to put it all together into this video.

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone and recorded a few of the pieces I was practicing. Although this was something scary for me, I thought it was important to record the progress I am making as well as not be afraid to make mistakes. I made mistakes throughout the recordings and it reminded me that not everyone is perfect and to keep practicing.

Watching this youtube video helped me feel more confident in my note reading ability and gave me the motivation to record my practices.

I hope to create video documentation of more of my piano learning process.

Animoto The App

Technology is not my strong suit, and in the past when asked to make a video in class it has always been the most stressful thing I have to do. This week I choose to explore the app/ website ‘Animoto’ with the hopes that it would make my video creating experience more enjoyable. 

I started by visiting the website and downloading the app onto my iPhone. On both sites I was prompted to long in with Facebook, google, or apple. Logging in with google allowed me to easily sink my app with the website on my computer. Although both were very similar the website gave me an ‘education’ option whereas the app did not. I was not able to find the difference between and ‘education’ account and a ‘personal’ account. 

After signing in I was immediately overwhelmed and watched a quick YouTube video to walk me through the basis of Animoto. Although the video did offer some great tips for the app/website I was still slightly confused and decided to jump right into creating something. 

I started on my phone, and was impressed with the step by step instruction as soon as I clicked a template. However it was confusing on my iPhone to navigate the templates, select pictures, and move items around. I was easily frustrated and before giving up I decided to try the website version of Animoto.

Similar to the app when I selected a template the website offered step by step instruction on what to do next. If used in the classroom this is a benifical step that will assist students in getting started with their creation.

Example of instruction on the Animoto website.

It was much more clear how to navigate through the templates and ‘blocks’ that are added to create a video on the website. I played around with the app as I created this video of my cat. 

After using Animoto to create a video there are a few things I like and dislike about it. The website is something I would use again however I did not find the app user friendly, maybe with more time it would be better used.

There was a variety of different templates to select from to help structure the video, however the templates could not be altered in the free version. Blocks used to create templates could be added or deleted however the number of pictures per block could not be changed.

Pictures selected could be changed to fill the screen, however it was difficult to move or position the pictures throughout the blocks. I noticed this with the text boxes as well, they were difficult to move or position throughout the block. A watermark is also present with the free version which is important to note in regards to placement of text. Animoto offers aspects like colour, text, and music to personalize videos created which is a beneficial aspect.

Although I found there were not to many aspects that could be done with a free account on Animoto, I found it was a simple way to make a quick video. As there are minimal ways to personalize the videos created, it would not be beneficial for long video creations in the classroom. However this app could be used by students to create short videos to explain their understanding, or aspects of assignments/ activities done. I hope to explore Animoto more with the hopes to find more useful benefits. 

Thankful for My Old Piano Books

Last week I practiced writing notes with the hopes that it will make it easier to read notes. I mentioned in my last blog post, I was able to read most of the notes for the song Happy Birthday. This week I wanted to take the sheet music to the piano and practice playing, starting with Happy Birthday  as I already  had reviewed the notes. Hoping this meant it would go smoothly.

Before I began playing I watched a quick 9 and a half minute video to show which key represented each note. As I watched the video I sat at my piano and labelled the piano keys with sticky notes. I don’t remember a lot from playing piano as a kid, but I do remember my teacher doing something similar to assist in learning to read music. 

The video talked about using mnemonics to help with memorizing notes. This is a strategy that I defiantly think will help me, but also something to keep in mind in the classroom. Sometimes memorization can be easier when there is something to trigger the information, like a mnemonic. The video uses the saying “ every good boy does fine” to remember the line note order E, G, B, D F. This can be transferred into the classroom in any subject area that requires memorization, and can allow creativity as students create their own mnemonics.

After I labelled my piano notes I attempted to play the Happy Birthday a few times. Although it wasn’t horrible I was not happy with how it sounded. I resulted to my old beginner piano books my mom had kept stored away.

After a few hours of practicing the same simple songs, I set a goal to challenge myself to a more difficult song next week.

What Will Happen

As the world evolves, especially right now, online schooling is more prominent than ever. No one can say for sure what the future will hold, when schools will be back in person, or how effective online learning will be in years to come. However as the current pandemic changes our learning ways it is developing the use of technology and communication in varying ways. 

As we collaborated in lecture about this topic some of my colleagues talked about staggered starts for students in the fall, or limiting classroom sizes and daily activities. As the University of Regina announced fall classes will likely remain online, its uncertain to say what will happen in elementary school.

Schools will not look the same as they did before the pandemic. In some cases this will have a large negative impact on the social aspects students experiences at school from social distancing to lack of recess or free time. However this might open the door for more online learning opportunities. Whether in school or at home, the current pandemic has shown us how effective the use of technology can be. With the new knowledge and experience with technology students can receive more meaningful and valuable learning experiences which could change education in the future. 

Notes are Tricky

This week I started looking at sheet music, and familiarizing myself with the main concept of reading sheet music. A fellow classmate , Celine, gave me the advice to check out a website with sheet music. I found lots of great music on this site that gave me motivation to practice my note reading and writing. Celine also mentioned that writing sheet music helps to familiarize yourself with the notes seen. I took her advice and printed 20 pieces of blank sheet music. I found a few videos explaining sheet music, and some basic techniques to reading and drawing music. I started with just drawing notes on the sheets I had printed. The lines however were WAY to small and it was extremely frustrating.

I resulted to flipping the page over and drawing my own lines. I practiced drawing notes up and down the scale. Although it looks easy, I found it difficult to make my notes perfect and they often were not circle. I referred to a site https://takelessons.com/blog/reading-piano-notes/ with an article How to Read Sheet Music in 5 Easy Steps which guided me as I labelled the notes I had drawn. 

After I practiced drawing and labelling my own notes a few times, I printed off a sheet from the site I started this week’s journey on and began labeling the notes. It was a breeze at first but I came across some notes that I had never seen before and totally stumped me. Although I was able to read most of the Happy Birthday song I haven’t tried to play it. That will be next week’s journey. 

My Second Piano Journey

I have always loved the piano. When I was younger I took lessons, however, at a young age, the want to be able to play piano was not the same as wanting to practice for. I was pulled out of lessons and the piano I begged my parents for began collecting dust. Everyone once in a while we would have a visitor who would play it, and every time I wished I was able to.

I thought this learning project would be a great time to pick up where I left off and learn to play some songs. As I sat down on the piano bench I quickly realized I remembered next to nothing and found a beginner piano lesson video on YouTube.

 As I watched this extremely helpful video I soon decided that not only did I want to play I wanted to learn how to read music as well. I continued to watch the second video and found them both very informative, and gave me a great positive start on my learning.

As I continue to learn I hope to lean on other online resources, including free places to get sheet music, and other videos explaining the piano playing process. 

About me and Technology

Hi everyone,

 I’m Meegan and I am currently in my third year of the Elementary Education Program, aiming to graduate after internship in the fall. I have very little knowledge on technology, and hope to learn helpful tips and tricks in EDTC 300 to help with my teaching career. Blogging is also something that is fairly new to me however I am having fun playing with the different setting and personalizing it. My home blog can be found here. Twitter is something that I haven’t been a fan of in the past, however I think this class might change my opinion on it.

Technology in education can help advance students learning and I hope to be able to include it in my future classroom in effective ways. Last semester I had the privilege of exploring micro-bits in ESCI 310. This was something that was new and exciting to me. Although I was only able to program my micro-bit to say ’hello’, I saw how this technology could be benificial and used to teach towards specific curricular outcomes. 

This is the micro-bit I programmed in ESCI 310.