Show Me, Show Me! Yousician vs. Fender Play

Yousician vs. Fender Play

In our EDTC300 class we were tasked with finding a new tool/ app to document our learning project. I chose the “Show Me” screen casting app. I used the app to compare two apps that I’ve been using in my guitar journey so far, Yousician and Fender Play. Both apps are geared at learning guitar, and in Yousicians case several other musical instruments. Both have been helpful in my journey so far, but since there paid for apps, I thought a review comparing the two might be helpful, in order to help you save some $$$$. Click the link below to check out my review on the two apps.

https://www.showme.com/sh?h=hXClT6m

Show Me Review

As you saw from the video Yousican was the clear winner of the two apps. Now it’s time for a review of the “Show Me” app, which ill be honest from the start,  was a BUST!

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“Show Me” describes itself as an “interactive whiteboard”, in which teachers can create lessons for students and post them online using an iPad. A good idea, that I can see myself finding useful in the future, unfortunately the apps interface was not up to par.

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A screenshot of  the app as it appears on the App Store.

Though I did not find the app to be user friendly there were still some things I did like about it, including:

  1. the ability to record voice memo’s
  2. the app deign is easy to navigate
  3. the ability to add photos to a presentation
  4. the ability to watch and make lessons from anywhere
  5. videos can be organized into multiple subject categories and sub categories
  6. there’s a limited free version

The following video is a short screencast I made of a how-to lesson explaining the features of  “Show Me”.

Now for the disadvantages of “Show Me”.  Though the app was easy to navigate, its missing some key features that would make it a lot more useful. The app does not have the ability to add graphs, charts, or shapes too it, a key feature in creating math or science lessons. The apps “draw” feature is also flawed. It is constantly misinterpreting demands and turning on at inconvenient times. Its quite glitchy as well, an Apple Pen is a MUST for anyone who plans on using this app to create even semi-neat lessons (hint: the neat diagrams and lesson seen on the app stores page probably aren’t going to happen!) . Below is a list of a few more things I dint like about the app.

  1. it is only for iPad
  2. you have very limited amounts of presentation time before having to buy the app (1 hour)
  3. Even with premium you are limited to a certain number of presentation hours.
  4. the premium version is $12.49 a month.
  5. You can not upload presentations to YouTube or download them to your own device (hence only the link to my Show Me presentation above).
  6. The voice memo recorder is hard to use as its tricky to delete and restart without losing progress on the presentation if you make a mistake or background noise interrupts (I lost progress and had to restart several times because of this).
  7. From comments on the App Store it appears many people are having problem with the app crashing.

Overall, the apps main idea of an interactive whiteboard is a good idea. The ability for students to watch and re-watch lessons is great, but the apps hard to use functions and limited presentation hours make it a no for me. My final feelings on Show Me can be summed up by the picture below. Its ok, but there are better alternative screen casting tools.

show me feels.gif Here are some similar apps to Show Me, that could be more helpful to you:

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Rock Got No Reason and I Have No Time!

Is Anyone feeling the stress of full blown midterm madness? Because same! Luckily I just finished my last biology midterm today. If you want to know anything about the evolution of the 7 kingdoms of land plants or the serial endosymbiotic theory I’m your girl! if you want to learn about tips and tricks to playing power chords on guitar I am unfortunately, not your girl this week. I didn’t even get a chance to watch and review the film “School of Rock” as promised. However, I did grab an awesome clip from the movie that incorporates power chords. I embarrassingly have to admit that “Rock Got No Reason” might also be one of my favourite songs.

Also is Ned schneebly teacher goals, or what?! Now that’s someone who gets the importance of developing teacher, student relationships, and providing opportunities for all students.

I did manage to pick up and tinker with my guitar a bit this week, but did not get enough footage for a video. I continued to work on power chords, using the song Mississippi Queen. My trusty Yousician app was the only source used this week. I continued to make progress, and am beginning to feel more confident in the music coming from the strings of my guitar! A video of my progress will come next week.

Now that midterm season is over for me id like to look into finding some more learning sources for guitar. Ill be downloading the Fender Play app this week, and comparing it to my Yousician app. Fender describes itself as “the complete learning app for guitar, bass and ukulele”. This is very similar to Yousician, but has less instruments available to learn. I also notice that Fender is cheaper at only $14 a month compared to Yousician’s $28 a month. It’ll be interesting to see if yousician is worth the extra cost or not.

Stay tuned for next weeks progress video, and a Fender Play vs. Yousician Comparison!

 

What Does Your Digital Identity Say About You?

During the last few weeks in my EDTC300 class we have been focusing on the topic of digital identity. There’s many different ways one can explain digital identity. One I think reflects it best though is “Your digital identity is a permanent collection of data about you that is online” (BinaryTattoo). Digital identity can be contradictive to ones True identity. The definition of identity being “The distinguishing character or personality of an individual” (Merriam-Webster). In other words, the way many people live their lives offline is different to the way they portray their lives online.

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What do you think your digital identity reflects?

A sad example of the false or seemingly different identities one can have online is Madison Holleran. In the article “Split Image” by Kate Fagan I learned Madison was a young, pretty girl who ran track at Pennsylvania University.  Her digital identity  displayed a very positive, happy person. She had many pictures of her smiling and laughing with friends and enjoying time with family on her Instagram. Her online persona, unfortunately was not an accurate display of her life as on January 17th, 2014 she committed suicide.

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A few smiling pictures of Madison

The above example is an extreme, but not an uncommon theme of the differing identities one can have online vs. their real life identity. The article “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think”  by Nicole Lee (Twitter: @nicole) goes beyond just having one identity online into several identities or personas. She mentions the idea of a “finstagram”: a fake Instagram separate from your real, and tailored to perfection real Instagram to take the pressure off having a perfect feed to present to the world as “you”. Nicole did a poll on her twitter regarding how many of her follower’s had more than one twitter account , and to my surprise the results were fairly even.

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The results from Nicole’s Twitter Pole.

I was curious to see what the results of this same type of poll would be among my own age demographic and peers. I tweeted out my own poll, via my  twitter account(@GlascockKennedy). My results yielded an even greater number of multiple accounts among the same platform, not surprising due to our digital obsessed generation.

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Thanks to everyone who participated!

I asked the voters to respond with their reasoning for having more than one of the same social media platforms, there was defiantly a trend in their responses. All the voters that responded mentioned having a professional account, besides having a personal account. Defiantly understandable in this day and age, when a google search of someone’s name goes hand in hand with a resume when applying for jobs.  There was also some accounts used for different interests, such as pets!

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To go along with our discussion on digital identity this week in EDTC300 we got a fun assignment to Cyber Sleuth (creep) our classmates! Me and Justine Garret partnered up for this. This happens to be a speciality of most of me and Justine’s generation so I’m excited to see what she can dig up!

I started cyber sleuthing Justine the same way any rational millennial would, A Facebook search. It took me a loooong time to find Justine’s Facebook, and a fair amount of hardcore creeping. When I Finally found it though I realized she had her privacy settings locked up tight, the only way her account was identifiable was her profile picture.. She even subbed her last name for her middle name. not a bad idea for a teacher.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I took this assignment so far as to make a fake Facebook to find this out, as I don’t have a profile at all…talk about a false online identity. Next step, Instagram.
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I was shocked to fin out Justine wasn’t on  Instagram. How does she stay up to date on her friends selfies, food pics, and nights out?! I wouldn’t be surprised though, after the lengths she went to make her Facebook private if she did have a very private account under a different name. Either way, a bust on that account. Next I tried a place I knew I could not fail, her twitter.

Justine’s twitter is very professional. Her tweets and likes are almost entirely connected to education. From her twitter feed it seems she passionate about Agriculture, anti-bullying, being a life long learner and educational technology. I was able to read some great post regarding “The Power of Life Long Learning” and “Chrome Tips For Teachers” and a few others. If your not following Justine already I Suggest you do (@msjgarrett).
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Justine had her blog address linked to her twitter bio, so I headed their next. She has a really great professional blog. I loved her blog design! I headed to her “About Me” page and found out a lot about her!

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I read that she grew up on a ranch in Cabri Saskatchewan, which I already had an idea about. She has a passion for sports, dance, her family, and owns a Clydesdale horse named Diesel…COOL! I also read her reasons for becoming a teacher and found that there very similar to my own. She wants to inspire students and provide as many opportunities as possible to them.

Lastly I finished up with the ultimate test of an online sleuth, a Google search. I found little else that I already had about Justine. A few results came up showing her involvement in her high schools SRC as Prime Minister, and some sporting events she participated in including track, and volleyball. 

Justine’s overall Digital Identity is a very clean one. Though her identity is minuscule, when she does have accounts made public their very professional and positive. Her passion for agriculture, education, and sport is evident in almost all her online foot prints. She comes of as very put together, compassionate, and kind!

 

 

Marty Music And Midterm Madness

This week for my learning project I learned POWER CHORDS. Power chords, are chords played with only two notes (only two strings are used to play this). Their most commonly heard on electric guitars in rock songs. Some of the most legendary guitar solos have been played with the use of power chords, thus, they’ve been dubbed the back bone of Rock ‘n Roll. Below are some of the all-time great songs of Rock ‘n Roll that highlight the use of power chords. These songs include “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, “Come On To Me” by Paul McCartney, and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar (Hint: all songs are linked to Apple Music).

Along with my trusty Yousician app this week, I also enlisted the help of Marty Music on YouTube. As I’ve learned previously, learning new chords is tough. They require repetition and muscle memorization. With the help of the above resources though I was able to learn the basics.

Watching Marty’s video on YouTube was very helpful. I was able to slow down the video in order to follow exactly where his fingers moved along the guitar, and follow along at my own pace. Marty is a great teacher, and has over one million subscribers on YouTube to prove it! He’s able to explain guitar theory and skills at a level even the most beginner players can follow. He also uses both acoustic and electric guitars in his video’s. This is helpful as it seems a lot of online resources are based solely around electric guitars. The sound between an acoustic and electric guitar is no where near comparable, so its nice to find learning resources compatible with my own acoustic guitar. Marty’s YouTube channel is defiantly a great resource I will continue to use and suggest to others, whether  a beginner or an expert! Below is the video I used oh his lesson on power chords.

I used my Yousician app and iPhone camera this week to measure my progress.  I found one of my favourite songs “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain on the app and, thought it was a perfect fit for learning power chords.  Below is a video of the progress I made this week.  In the bottom left corner I overlaid my yousician app, displaying the notes played and whether I hit those notes correctly or incorrectly.

My progress was marginal this week. I was a tad bit too eager at the beginning of the week and, managed to give myself a blister on my strumming hand. It turns out strumming power chords requires a lot more force than I expected. I was forced to take a dew days off to let it heal but, I was still able to hit my practice goal of three hours a week. Some progress is better than no progress!

Next week I’m in full blown midterm mode, A.K.A I will basically be completing life’s bare necessity tasks of eating, sleeping, and studying. This tight schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for practicing guitar. Thus, I’m seriously considering dedicating a week of my learning project to the important major motion picture School of Rock and its relevance to standardization in school systems and cultural effect on young musicians, particularly guitar players. Not sure how my awesome EDTC-300 instructor, Katia Hildebrandt would feel about this, but I think it has the potential to be a very educational theory project. On second thought maybe ill just stick to learning some new chords. Stay tuned to find out!

My top tips for learning power chords:

  1. Learn with a fun song – there’s so many legendary songs you could use learning this skill. Learning Mississippi Queen made the experience a lot of fun for me, and I practiced regularly because of it.
  2. Don’t over do it – playing power chords are particularly hard on your strumming fingers, as your applying a lot more force to the strings than usual. Limit your playing time your first couple of sessions to avoid the painful blisters I received midway through the week.
  3.  If you don’t sound like Black Sabbath don’t worry about it – If I’ve learned one thing so far, its that learning guitar takes above all else patience. Keep practicing and the results will come!

A YouTube Reminder

YouTube has turned into the largest online video sharing platform in the world. YouTube enables easy and fast video uploading and sharing. This allows for a large variety of content to be made easily available to the public. Teachers have zeroed in on YouTube as a great source to find educational content for students and promote digital citizenship. Like any widely used internet source though, it can often be abused.
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The following Remind conversation highlights some of the many advantages and disadvantages of YouTube as an educational resource. This conversation takes place in regards to a fictional grade eight social studies classroom. Ms. Glascock (me) has assigned students to find current event topics to watch and discuss briefly during the beginning of class. Two parents, Jocelyn and Kaitlyn have learned about the assignment from their kids and have some concerns about the YouTube.

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Both parents are expressing a concern for the use of YouTube in the classroom. The believe that their children have way too much screen time already and they don’t need anymore while they are at school. They are also very concerned with the current challenge that is all over the internet known as the Momo challenge. This challenge instructs the viewer to share the post in a certain amount of time or else they will die. It also gives instructions on how to self harm and commit suicide. Both of these arguments are true and are valid reasons why students should not be allowed on YouTube at school, but there are many benefits of it if it is used properly.

The teacher is using YouTube as a way to engage her students with current events. They are given the assignment and must critically search through YouTube to find valid, concrete sources. This task not only promotes critical thinking, but it also contributes to their digital citizenship. Digital citizenship is how you interact with the internet and other users on the internet.

Through this assignment, students are interacting with both political and social current events that affect them in one way or another. They are then able to connect with other people who are also interested or affected by these current events and discuss and ask questions. This builds a good relationship with technology and encourages students to use the internet for good and not in a way that might get them into trouble.
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Sources:

Remind is a free text messaging App, aimed at teachers, students, and parents. It allows for fast and easy communication, while keeping personal information such as phone numbers private.

The Momo Challenge uses a very spooky photo of a chinese based character to coax people on multiple different internet platforms, including YouTube into acts violence and self harm. Scarier yet, much of the Momo content is targeted at children. Click the link to learn more about the Momo Challenge.

The Distraction free YouTube extension allows you to remove distractions in the form of ads on YouTube, as well as inappropriate content such as the Momo Challenge.

Twitter was also used in gaining valuable opinions of YouTube in the classroom from fellow educators, and education students. Thanks too everyone who participated!

YouTube was also used in the making of this blog post, for searching up information such as digital citizenship, and the Momo Challenge. This proves how useful it really can be in education!

A Guitar Journey to One Day: inspiration and practicing old skills

After a VERY relaxing reading week I’m back and ready to hit the books.Between Netflix binges on the break, I did mange to get some actual work done. I scoured the internet for inspiration for my guitar learning journey.  I found some great guitar players and inspired I was!

Facing West Music on Instagram features two sister singer songwriters who happen to be awesome at guitar, among other instruments. I loved their modern take on country music.

Patrick Breen Music on Instagram was also a big inspiration to me this week. He’s an up and coming singer/songwriter with some awesome new songs out. Check out his single The Waters! His true passion seems to be guitar. His Instagram page is full of “groovy” jams he’s created on guitar. Lots of his music is based on alternative/rock, but he also has some great country mixed in.

Watching these two artists motivated me to keep improving on my own learning journey this week. Going into Reading week I knew I waned to improve on past skills. I decided to put a focus on playing chords. Before I ever picked up a guitar, I desperately wanted to be able to play the twangy cowboy chords heard in country music. I struggled with learning this skill  however. The pace at which I had to memorize where to put my fingers and when to strum proved very challenging for me.

As time went on and I kept practicing my fingers found their way along the strings of my guitar. Although I’m nowhere near as good as the Patrick Breen or the Facing West sister’s I’ve made a lot of progress. Below is a video of my first time playing a song on Yousician called El Condor Pasa, versus me playing the same song a month later after a considerable amount of practice (ps. Forgive the acoustics in my kitchen). You can see in the overlay on the video the Yousicain app displaying the chords to be played and whether I played those chords right or wrong.

Watching my progress was motivating for me. I remember how frustrated I was when I first started learning this song. It took me many attempts before I was even able to complete the song, let alone before I could play it well. I realize now that with enough practice that I could one day be as good as even my inspirations!

Next week I plan on continuing learning chords. Ill be leaning power chords! Power chords are typically played in rock songs on electric guitar. Their often heard in heavy shredding guitar solos. wish me and my acoustic good luck!

The Art Of Fretting

Fretting; the act of holding down, or “choking” a string and playing that corresponding note. A task that seems easy but, as I learned this week has its challenges. The practice of fretting is more commonly used for electric guitars in rock songs. I figured my acoustic would work the same, even if the sound is less desirable.

My trusty Yousician app started me of easy learning the skill. At first, I was only working on one to two string moving back and forth slowly. It didn’t take me long to think id mastered this simplistic skill. As I progressed to more difficult songs though I realized this wasn’t as simple as I had thought. The music started getting faster, and more strings were being introduced. This upped the difficulty considerably.

I found the most helpful practice to learning this skill was similar to the one I used for chording, in which I had also previously struggled with. I practiced placing my fingers along the strings without actually playing the notes, over and over. My muscle memorization seemed to be the key determinant to my success. The more I practiced a song, the more my fingers magically seemed to know where to travel along the strings. It turns out practice really does make perfect.

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My biggest fan this week

The following video shows my progression learning fretting this week. I start by learning simple songs that only introduce the fretting of one or two strings, then progress to much harder songs that are faster, and include the fretting of many strings Be warned, this is not the works of a musical prodigy. However, I have included a video of a professional demonstrating what good guitar fretting really looks like and sounds like for comparison.

I found videoing my progress this week to be a very helpful learning tool. I was able to see where I was making mistakes more clearly and how I could correct them. It was also very motivational, as I wanted to present my best possible playing! Any guitar players feel free to critique my Playing. Any tips would be welcome!

I have also been following my own advice this week, regarding knowing when enough is enough regarding playing time. My previous five-hour a week practice target has taken a considerable hit because of this but, I believe it’s helping rather than hurting. Too much time spent practicing makes learning begin to feel too much like work, rather than a fun past time. I am now aiming for a goal of three to four hours a week and am having just as much success with my skill progression.

During our school break (😊😊😊) I will be recapping on my previously learned skills. I’ll be going back to previously passed Yousician levels and watched YouTube Videos and further replaying and enhancing skills that I might of at first brushed over.

Have a great February break everyone!

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yay for spring break!