Monday, December 2, 2013

I Wish I Knew This About SmartMusic Rubrics Last Week

I was really excited about the new SmartMusic rubric feature that is available this year in SmartMusic 2013.

Rubrics give students something to aim for.  Rubrics give teachers a framework for their reflection on student work.  A computerized version can be very practical for a guy faced with 250 students' work.

The rubric tool is very flexible.  You can pick the number of categories to evaluate and the number of descriptors for each category.  It will even add points up.  So a couple of clicks on the descriptors and write a quick comment, done. On to the next project.  Nice.

Then the iOS people were wondering why they weren't getting the assignments.  Turns out this feature doesn't work on the iPad.  I knew that it wouldn't work for evaluating work on the iPad, but I do most of my listening on my computer so it was a non-issue for me.  I didn't think it would be  a problem for the kids because they don't fill out the rubric.  It turns out that the on student-side SmartMusic won't send the rubric assignments to the iOS app.  Ouch.

The work-around was to resend the assignment without the rubric.  Because I had some students that used computers and had the assignment in already I kept their work and removed the assignment from the kids that didn't have it in.  Then I removed the second assignment from the kids that did have it done.

I could have told people to ignore the assignment that didn't work, but that is one of those things that bring a lot of phone calls and e-mail with questions...  "Is it really true that Johnny doesn't have to do this line twice?"... I have some parents that are really on top of the homework.

If I had to guess, this may be one of those Flash/iOS problems that will work after they get it worked out in HTML 5.  My million dollar idea for a quick fix would be for SmartMusic not to send the rubric to an iOS device, but do send/receive the assignment.  Not the best solution, because the students won't see the targets of the rubric.  But I wouldn't expect them to fill out the form anyway, that's the teacher's job.

In the meantime, if any of your students will want to do their SmartMusic on their iPad, don't use the rubric feature.

Hopefully, this gets fixed fast.  I really liked the rubric.


Serge Puchinsky said...

I wish I found your blog last month! Thanks for sharing - I'm going through similar issues rolling out SmartMusic in my school. We did not do the school volume purchase plan - students are on their own to either sign up or utilize one of our two practice room accounts. Hoping to convince them to do the volume purchase next year. I also really liked your walkthrough post of the enrollment with the volume purchase - I had students sign up in my lab in the same way - but without the redeem code. Glad to know I'll be able to go through the same process using the volume purchase if we actually get approved for that next year. Glad I found your blog - really enjoy the reading!

Roger Whaley said...

Thank you for your kind words. It is good to get some encouragement at the end of a busy quarter.

How busy are the two practice rooms? I have 5 and the joint was jumping the last couple of days. (There is no time like last minute on a deadline!)

Did a lot of your students do the optional purchase sign-up? Can you estimate a percentage?

The beauty of having kids make their own arrangements is that you don't have to worry much about the finance side. Collecting fees, placing orders, etc.

I would think downside to having kids do their own purchasing is the number of kids that will need to use the school facilities. Especially if your district isn't wealthy.