Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Seasons Greetings 2015 from Library Media Tech Talk!

I've noticed over the past few years if I am passionate and excited about something, this energy is usually contagious. One of the things I have enjoyed since high school is playing music on saxophone. I spent 12 years as a public school band director. It was a very rewarding job that I especially miss during the holiday season. I liked helping my band students prepare for a winter holiday concert each year. Luckily, I married a musician and can enjoy playing music anytime! My wife Cindy (who is also a school librarian) plays piano. We enjoy playing together in church and other local engagements.

I have always wanted to record music since my college days. It is now  possible to create recordings using a simple laptop computer and microphone setup. These recordings can be combined with video to make exciting music videos (or for digital storytelling, etc).

Use your skills to model technology projects for students & teachers

This might be an option for some students to create for learning projects in any class. It is easy to overlook creative students who have music and art skills. This is perfect outlet for them to shine. If they choose to publish their work, it gives them an opportunity to learn best practices for marketing on social media. As school librarians and technology support, we can help direct both students and teachers using these tools. It amazes me how we take all these different items and make them work together to create a product like a video!

These are the tools we used to create both videos

I want to take a moment to share about two holiday music videos Cindy and I have created over the past two years. Both music selections are public domain Christmas carols that we arranged (so we didn't have to worry about copyright issues).

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

I used Band in a Box (bass, piano, and drums) to create the backing tracks for this song. This software is simply amazing! The version I have comes on an external hard drive (this contains all the instrument tracks of nearly every style you can imagine). I exported the backing tracks as audio files and then put them in Garage Band. I recorded the melody using my tenor saxophone (an old Selmer USA TS 100 I have had since college). I used a Shure SM-57 microphone to record the saxophone part. I put a small amount of reverb on the saxophone recording in Garage Band to give it a more professional sound. After this, I was ready for a snow day to shoot the video.

We actually had two different snow events in February 2015. We used our Canon Rebel T3 DSLR camera to shoot the videos of the snow scenes. All of the video clips were made on our property in Bismarck, Arkansas. I then took the video clips and merged them with my audio recording using Final Cut Pro X for my MacBook Pro. This entire process took 10-12 hours from start to finish. Students could use this same process to create their own original videos about learning content. What if you created a video to inspire them using special skills or hobbies you have? Take a look at the finished product on our YouTube channel below:

What Child Is This?

Cindy has played her own arrangement of this public domain Christmas carol for many years. We used our Kurzweil PC1X keyboard to make this recording in Garage Band during the fall months of 2014. We also shot video clips of our Christmas decorations around the house. I remember that we had to decorate the house early in November so we could shoot the video in time to release it near Thanksgiving. I made sure to get shots of Cindy playing her acoustic Kimball piano. We took all these clips and created the music video in Final Cut Pro X on our MacBook Pro. It took about 8 hours of work from start to finish. Take a moment to view the finished product below:

Closing Thoughts:

A few essential questions to consider: In what ways can you combine your talents with technology tools to create memorable products to inspire your learners? In what ways can students do this? 

If you are a great storyteller, create a product with technology to enhance this skill. If a student is great at rap and rhyming, help them create a rap video or audio file about content they have learned in class. The holidays are a great time to experiment with these skills, especially if you get new tech toys!

Go here to see how we had a Google Holiday Hangout with another school library 200 miles away.

Go here to learn two ways we brought music into the library! (one involves vinyl)

Have you been wanting to try #Mysteryskype? Go here to see how we did it!

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Contact Us/ Follow Us

Follow Cindy on Twitter: @CindyRookEvans
Cindy's email: evansc@hssd.net

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Follow me : @stony12270

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