Tuesday, October 7, 2014

First SmartMusic Assignment Is Out The Door.

I have my first SmartMusic assignment out the door for all of my students as of last Friday.

Because of the parent-student-teacher happening next week, I made it due this Friday.  I usually schedule these assignments with two weeks' notice, but it is very nice to have something to talk about with parents and students at these conferences.

I am also hoping that the short notice will be better for the first assignment.  In the past, the first one has been the hard one to get kids to turn in.  I'm not sure if that is because two weeks is too long or if there are some things that need to be set up for things to work right.  Getting software installed, an account open and registered for class seems like a lot of work for a middle schooler.  And every middle schooler  knows that there is no time like the future to do that hard work... they will get to it tomorrow (or the day/week/month after that.)

So I am thinking that after conferences there may be a little parent help with the missing assignments.

I do have some tips for making the load lighter on the students:

  • We buy SmartMusic for all of our middle school band students (it is rolled into their class fees.)  This is much easier than counting on families to visit the web site and purchase it on their own.
  • We entered the code for this bulk purchase as a class.  You can do this with any web browser, just visit SmartMusic.com page and follow the "redeem a code" link.
  • We have been doing this for several years.  So we have several classes of kids in the system already.  Instead of having the kids enroll for classes, import those kids into the next class.  That way, they end up in exactly the right class.  It is crazy the number of 6th graders who still think of themselves as 5th graders!
  • Pay special attention to first year kids.  Once they have an account set-up, they will have their information in there for the rest of their career.  I check the beginners' logins to be certain they work. 
  • We do a standard login e-mail address (Google apps for education) and the password is the same as that account.  Trouble-shooting gets easier when you set things up that way.  In the past, most of our login issues were related to email accounts that students no longer had access to or just forgot about.  Something standard helps.
  • Redeem a code doesn't mean they have enrolled in class.  Check the SmartMusic grade book against your class list. Make sure you have them all in there. 
  • Enrolled in class doesn't mean they have redeemed a code.  If you do the bulk purchase, check your active subscriptions against your class list.  If they have redeemed the code, they can login to SmartMusic from any computer that has the program installed.  Get them activated.
  • When kids go home all they should have to do is download SmartMusic from the site and use their login information that is already set up.  That's it.  That's the goal.
It is a little extra work to get this running smoothly.  But I think it is worth it to do the work up front.

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