Thursday, October 2, 2014

SmartMusic Enrollment Time!

(Background: At my middle school we are requiring everyone to have an account and we are paying for it with a student fee so students can access SmartMusic anywhere and not just on our practice room computers.  Talk to your SmartMusic rep for pricing as it is possible to lower the cost to families by buying in bulk.)

It is enrollment time for SmartMusic.  And all of our kids have been assigned Chromebooks.  You would think that is a combination that just doesn't work.  And you would be right.  SmartMusic doesn't run on the Chromebooks.

But "Redeem a Code"does.  If want to be sure that your students have activated their accounts so they can login to SmartMusic everywhere, the Chromebook can help.  Have your class fire up their web browser and go to the SmartMusic web site and follow the "Redeem a Code" link.  If they have had an account there in the past, they login as an existing customer.  New customers can start their account there too.

Some tips:

  • We were surprised by how many students do not know how to e-mail their parents.  Have a list of parent e-mail addresses handy.
  • Do have the kids do this exactly together.  Field by field.
  • Do have the kids use the save and save changes buttons.  We did have a hiccup with our internet service at one point and I was able to put the finishing touches on the data entry after the kids left.  Having something started will save you time and "cleaning up" the account entry will save time from the next class meeting.  I'm not sure how kids got around the save buttons, but there were a couple of cases of there was no information saved about their account.  Pretty sure those students missed a button or were waaaay behind.
  • If you have a projector, use it to show them how to fill this out.
  • Do walk around and look at kids screens.  That may mean getting some help because being up front working at the computer and in back watching the kids' devices is not possible.  Maybe you should pick a kid to fill his out on screen while you coach from the back of the room.
  • We use the school's street address for kids that don't know their own address when filling account info out. (I know!  Where do you live should be something in every kid's head.) This can be on the whiteboard before class starts.
  • We use the student's e-mail and have a consistent password figured out for the kids to use.  Our login is very much like their Google Apps For Education login.  This helps with trouble-shooting should something come up.
I know a bunch of that could have been written by Captain Obvious.  Hopefully, these tips are good reminders on how to teach with technology.  

Don't worry about cutting the parents out of the loop on this account.  MakeMusic will send them an e-mail informing them about the account if the kids are under 14.

This is the first year we have done this "Redeem a Code" thing as a class project.  You could just send some directions home, but I think this is the way to go.  You will know that things are set-up and ready to go for that first assignment!

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