Thursday, August 27, 2009

New year. New version of SmartMusic. Let's go!

The beginning of any school year brings lots of excitement and not just for the kids.
We are just wrapping up our annual Middle School Band Camp Week.
Hard to believe, but we can convince 60 kids to give up a week of their summer vacation and come in for help with their chosen instrument.
Concert Friday! And it should be a good one.
We are doing a little demo of SmartMusic 2010 before the show for interested parents and all of our campers. We invited the parents so they can see what we want kids to be doing with their computers. We are also planning to do this demo during our "Back to School Night" as well.
I think 2010 is a nice upgrade. Big easy to find buttons for common tasks should make it easier for my students and parents to get around in this program.
I think the basics of installing SmartMusic, activating the subscription and registering for class are the main ideas we want to get across to families. Also on the list is the grade book.
Most folks understand the concept of putting in the disc or downloading the program. So the install portion always gets done. The concept of "subscription activation" may be a little different.
SmartMusic works on a subscription basis. You pay your $30 a year. This keeps costs down and makes the job of supporting the software easier (there is only one version active at a time.) When you think about it, we are renting software all the time if you keep up with the updates. Subscribing is a different business model than a lot of software licenses you use, but more honest.
Registering for class. Hmm. I think I am going to try a slightly different approach this year. Last year I had two sections of each level that I taught. A schedule change or a student picking the wrong section made more work for me. I use the same assignments for both sections and one can make assignments for specific students... do I really need to have them in two sections? So, this year, instead of two, I am going with one big section for each grade level. I think this will be less work. We will see.
The SmartMusic Grade Book is more prominent in this version. I like that for a number of reasons. Mostly because I DO LISTEN and COMMENT on EVERY recording. I hope kids and parents take advantage of that and complete the feedback loop by reading what I have to say! If you are planning your year (and what teacher isn't?) allow time at the end of the terms to listen to all those assignments. You will know more about your bands and your parents will know what you are thinking too. Use SmartMusic Grade Book as your communication tool.
New year. New version of SmartMusic. Let's go!

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