Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More FileMaker and the Band Director (Containers and Imports)

I love pictures, audio files and movies.

Pictures because they help me make documents warmer and more personalized.  They make it possible for a sub to take attendance quickly and report back to me more accurately if the class list I left has pictures.

Audio is what we use as an authentic product in band.  Probably a few other places in the building as well.

Ditto for movies of concert performances.

Before I learned FileMaker, it was very hard to keep track of these types of media and associate them with a student.  Using a FileMaker container field, tying a student and the work together is much easier.

Parent/Student/Teacher conferences are coming up soon, so I was updating my file of 250 or so students with their pictures.  There are some tricks that I would like to pass along that speed this process up a lot.  With a little imagination and some clever file naming this process will work with audio, video and anything else Quicktime can read.

First set up a field to receive the picture.  For FileMaker 12, go to File-Manage-Database and define a field.  Be sure the type of field selected is "Container."  You will also want student information on your layout as well... name and student id number.  Containers aren't searchable, but that isn't really a worry because this is a look at kid's work.  Find the kid and find the work.

Putting pictures into the container could be a go one record at a time and insert the picture and repeat 250 times process.  But that would take too long.  FileMaker will let you import a whole folder of records at a time and the picture files I was working with were identified with the student id number!  Follow the File- Import Records- Folder and follow the steps there.  Set the import up with the id number as the match field and point the picture to your container and 15 seconds later you are done.

There are some choices to make as you do this.  One is the store reference only option.  It takes up less disk space, but if the file ever gets moved to another directory there may be problems.

I bet you have already figured out that if you label other types of files with the student id you can pop them in a folder and do basically the same process.

If you have a media file that goes to several students (say a group project) find your group and insert the file into one container.  Then "command-equal sign" to insert it into the other student containers.

Using FileMaker for media files will save you from fumbling around at conferences.  Try it out!

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