Monday, October 31, 2011

Got My Homework Done. Thanks SmartMusic Inbox!

Times have changed.  In this case for the better.

Over the weekend, my daughter was scheduled to try-out for a volleyball team in a neighboring town.  She was scheduled for a three hour try-out.  Normally, Sunday is a BIG homework day for me.  Once the football game gets to the second half, I usually listen to student recordings and write comments on them for the kids to read later.  Back a few years ago missing that work time would be a big deal.

Yesterday, I still listened to the recordings and my teenager made it to the try-out.

Heading out the door, I grabbed the iPad, some headphones and my cell phone.  When we got there, I grabbed a bench and tethered the iPad to my phone and launched SmartMusic Inbox.  I listened to the recordings, did my scores and comments and was done with plenty of time to spare.

Times have changed.  A couple of years ago, this kind of access to student work would have been limited to a hard-wired internet-connected computer.  A couple of years before that, I would have been tied down to a bunch of tapes and a tape player and writing notes on paper.  Tape and paper would be way too much to deal with for all but really special projects.  Now I can get to my homework virtually anywhere I can get a cell signal.  Kids get decent feedback too.

Times have changed.

Some notes on this tech set-up:

We have an unlimited data plan with T-Mobile.  According to Sprint, it gets throttled, but I haven't noticed or it doesn't get slowed enough to make trouble with SmartMusic Inbox.  I was a little worried that I wouldn't get a signal out in farm country Minnesota, but that turned out to be a non-issue.

SmartMusic Inbox is an iPhone formatted app on the iOS side of things.  It plays well on the iPad, but maybe it could be formatted to fit the iPad real estate without going a pixel-ey.

I use the iPad over the iPod when I can because I am better at typing on that "keyboard" and it has freakishly long battery life.  Wouldn't want to run out of juice.

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