Quaver Music and a Digital Portfolio (A Two Parter)

 I’m coming off an amazing weekend down in Nashville visiting the Quaver crew, it is such a good feeling to be so supportive of a great music education program and be recognized for it. I felt very lucky and blessed to be able to share my thoughts on the program and meet some amazing and dedicated individuals who work for the company.

      As a lot of my readers know I use Quavermusic.com a lot in my classroom for a lot of different technology purposes. I find the website a great collection of creatives and tools to easily incorporate tech into the classroom. Before using Quaver I was an avid user of Aviary.com using their Roc and Myna creatives in a number of lessons. After the sad news that Aviary is cutting those creatives off in September I was struck with a problem. While using Aviary I developed a project that fulfilled s digital portfolio requirement for my 5th graders. What should I do now?

In the state of NH each student in the public school system has a digital portfolio that is created in kindergarten and follows them all the way until senior year of high school. It is filled with technology projects they complete through the years accompanied with a reflection on the project the students fill out individually. General classroom teachers in my buildings are required to complete 5 of these a year with their classes, and I as a specialist am required to do one a year with one full grade, I choose 5th because they are already trained in the routines of using computers independently and I can dive deeper into a little more complicated music technology than I could with other grades. The project must fulfill a number of NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) and for me it must also fulfill a number of National Music Standards as well.

 I originally decided to show students another side of music that they had rarely seen before which is usually technology in music. The project originally consisted of students using the Roc creator and bringing it over into the audio editor Myna and mixing in what they created with other stock audio from Quantum tracks. (ooo audio editor in Quaver?..must bookmark idea for later..)

Out of the blue I decided to try Quavermusic.com at the end of this past year with my last group of 5th graders as their portfolio project. Aviary was having issues loading at my school and I had no time or patience to deal with it, so I turned to Quaver.(I was lucky too, I didn’t find out the Aviary news until this summer!) When giving students a website for a project you need to give them direction in order to make it a meaningful experience. It could be one activity, it could be a whole web quest like I have shared before.  This project was great for my 5th graders, not only was there less confusion in what to do but they found it interesting and fun. The big difference between Aviary and Quaver is Aviary was leveled more for middle and high, Quaver is leveled more for elementary and middle.

Here’s the project details from the end of the year experiment:

Hello new  star in the making! You’ve decided it is time to get on the road and build your way up to Music Star status. You need to make a few stops a long the way. Follow the directions to get one step closer to your dreams:

1. To be a good musician you need to have good ears. Head to the EarIQ carnival in the lab and play the interval and chords games a few times to train those ears right.

2. Alright, it’s time to check out the competition, walk over to the metro and choose your venue that best describes the type of star you want to be. Go there and listen to the music as you read the book in the menu. Try to answer all of the questions at the end and earn a cool piece of clothing for your avatar!

3.It’s time to finally get in the studio and get writing. Head to the QStudio and click on the QComposer (the piano) and write me a 5 measure melody using all the notes and rests you have learned this year in class. After, click on the QLyrics and compose some silly lyrics to go along with your song!

4.You’ve had a rockin’ career so far and now you’re being interviewed on what you have accomplished. Open up the blank reflection document on your desktop and answer the following questions before saving it to your drive.

1. How did using Quavermusic.com help you in creating your song? Which way would be easier to write a song, Paper and pencil or the QComposer in Quaver?

2.Will you use Quavermusic.com to create music in the future? Even if it is not during music class?

It was a simple project to complete that took about 3-4 class periods. After everyone was done we even had a giggly share session with some of the songs that they created. Keeping track of their completion of the project was tough though, I had to make a few trips to our Media Center/Librarian to check on progress. This upcoming year I will have the new Teacher Admin Panel on Quaver so I can keep track of student progress by assigning them the song on QComposer and being able to receive those assignments back and grade them without having to annoy my Media Center neighbor so much. Learn more about the admin panel through a recent Quaver Webinar located here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22264644

Sooooo, I mentioned this was a two part blog post..remember? you’ll hopefully get part two next friday, my little avatar is still out questing!

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