Ep. 31: Tips For Teachers and Seared Salmon

In this episode, I sit go over 3 tips for teachers now that we are back into the swing of things. I also give a couple of digital tools to help you organize your workflow, and life! Happy belated International Podcast Day and thank you to Sarah Thomas for the shoutout that day. All music in this episode was produced using Soundtrap. Check it out for yourself and tweet your thoughts using #Soundtrapitis and #EdTechBites

For a 3 month trial of Nearpod, go to nearpod.com/redeem and use promo code “NP-Gabriel”.

If you’d like to purchase WeVideo For Education, email John Kline (johnk@wevideo.com) and mention that you heard it on EdTech Bites for 10% off a classroom license, 15% off a school license, or 25% off a district license.

Lastly, The EdTech Bites Podcast is now on Patreon. If you’d like to support the podcast by becoming a patron, check out patreon.com/edtechbites.

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Buen Provecho!

My Thoughts, Views, And Predictions On Soundtrap

STEAM schools are popping up left and right. In fact, many STEM schools are now incorporating the “A” into their curriculum and rebranding themselves as STEAM. In all fairness, they should as statistics show that the arts play a huge roll in our lives and help make up the whole child. With this being said, creation of the arts comes in many shapes and forms. One of my favorites is music and audio production. For those of you podcasters, music producers, writers, composers, teachers, or anyone interested in audio creation, Soundtrap is the perfect tool to handle all of these needs. Not only that, it is about to be used by educators and content creators like never before!

For those of you who do not know (or haven’t figured it out yet), Soundtrap is an all in one virtual music studio that can interface with USB instruments, microphones, and USB mixers. The best way to describe it is as follows: If Garageband and Audacity had a baby, and then that baby grew up, met Google Docs, and if they had a baby together, they would name it Soundtrap!

There is a track timeline equipped with pan tools, mute track function, and a whole load of other things you can do within the tracks.

Soundtrap Tracks

In addition, there are also tools to create your own music, loops, and tools that are very reminiscent of Garageband and Audacity. There’s also a collaborate feature which allows for podcasts, music creation, voice overs, and all endless EDU possibilities!

Soundtrap Options

My upcoming episodes of The EdTech Bites Podcast will be recorded and edited solely using Soundtrap and not Audacity, which is my go-to for podcast editing. I’m going all in with this tool and I plan on utilizing all of the bells and whistles that this amazing program has to offer. I’ve already began importing audio clips and recording segments such as my call to action using my Audio Technica 2100 microphone and Soundtrap. I must say that the audio that I have recorded and edited is professional and up to par with what I normally get from Audacity. There is one piece that Soundtrap has to offer that none of the others do, it’s completely cloud-based. This is an absolute game changer for the industry. The fact that I can begin on my work laptop, continue on my home desktop, and upload other audio clips from my son’s Chromebook, makes Soundtrap second-to-none in my book. In addition, I can send my audio file to my guest before hand and they can then record their segment on the same cloud-based file without having to be on the same machine, in the same room, or even worse, having to send audio files back and forth. So here’s what I’m getting to…

Soundtrap WILL revolutionize how creators create and collaborate. Without a doubt, many veteran podcasters and up and coming podcasters WILL choose Soundtrap as their means to record, produce and collaborate. If you listened to my latest podcast episode with Dr. Monica Burns, I made a prediction in that episode that I still believe because I will help make that prediction true. I predicted that Soundtrap WILL become the next big edtech tool, just like Flipgrid was and still is for 2018. The educator community with a HUGE boost from folks like Claudio Zavala Jr. and his #singasong movement catapulted Flipgrid beyond what anyone could have imagined and even birthed the #FlipGridFever. With this being said, here is what the I am making the “unofficial” hashtag for Soundtrap, #Soundtrapitis! (Get it?! Flipgrid has a Fever and Soundtrap has an itis?! Eh, eh!) I have caught #Soundtrapitis and there is no known cure yet. Not only have I caught this, it is contagious and will cause a major disruption to the educator community. But I’m not alone, at some point, someone in your district, building, or hallway will eventually catch it. My question to you is this: When #Soundtrapitis finally hits you in your classroom, home studio, or makerspace, what will you do with it?

“Integrating” Technology

What’s up folks?! It’s officially 2018 and educational technology is booming at an alarming rate. In other words, there are options available to teachers, students, and parents that didn’t exist just 10 years ago. Apps, web tools, and devices that are now becoming faster, smaller, and less expensive. Students no longer need to view a screen from 30 feet away to see the content being presented to them (Thank you Nearpod and Google Cast for EDU). Students can reflect on a topic or question from the privacy of their own home with their own personal device (Thank you Recap and Flipgrid). Peer collaboration and feedback can be done from any internet-enabled device from anywhere in the world (Thank you GSuite and PeerGrade). Anyone can create a professional video to be seen by a global audience with a Smartphone and free web tools (Thank you WeVideo, YouTube, and SoundTrap). Professional development is now at our fingertips on demand with podcasts (Thank you House of EdTech, The EdTech Take Out, Cult Of Pedagogy, and all other educational podcasters). With all of these tools at our disposal, if someone was to walk into a random classroom in any school district in any state, student devices would probably be used to consume and not focus on the 4 C’s.

Why is this? Is the term “Integrating” too broad? Do schools and districts not teach what these look like in the classroom? Do school district network block many of these tools because of what they can “possibly” bring? What are the “possibilities” that these tools can bring to a classroom? Authentic experiences. That’s what they can bring.

Sure, someone who wants to use these tools for the Dark Side will do so. That’s where classroom management comes into play but that’s another topic for another day.

Integrating technology means students are creating content for others to view, evaluate, and possibly augment. Integrating looks like students using classroom and personal devices to create videos to be used in student-created lessons for virtual presentations. Students are not in rows but in pods around the room. The teacher is not teaching whole group rather, facilitating and working with small groups to check progress. The class is a bit louder than a “stand and deliver” environment because students are engaging with each other, collaborating with others, and engaging in feedback. Students, for the most part, want to come to class because of the authentic experiences that occur and the ability to tap into their creative side they normally cannot do in the typical classroom setting. If this is what true integration looks like in a classroom, ask yourself this, what does YOUR classroom technology integration look like? If you’re not a teacher, what does your child’s classroom look like when you walk in? What do you want it to look like?

Teachers, if you’d like to truly integrate technology do something you haven’t done or are possibly scared of doing. Step out of the comfort zone and understand that you will be uncomfortable. That’s OK. There are many others feeling what you are feeling and more importantly, there are many people who can hold your hand along the way. Twitter is a PLN. Connect with teachers who can assist you with this virtually and in your building. Your district probably has coaches who are more than willing to help you and model integration for you. Start off by taking one day a week without handing out worksheets. #worksheetlesswednesday. This is an achievable task that can be done with minimal effort. After doing this for a couple of weeks, beef it up by aligning what you’re doing with one of the 4 C’s. Continue checking in on Twitter and collaborating with others in your building and possibly outside your building. Listen to podcasts (such as EdTech Bites) and build your knowledge during your commutes, walks, workouts, or while cooking (Thank you Amazon Echo and Google Home). These baby steps towards true technology integration will bring you closer to the classroom teacher you’ve always wanted to be. More importantly, will create authentic experiences for your students. After all #kidsdeserveit right?