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Ring Tone Rage

One of the greatest tools in Apple’s iLife is, of course, GARAGEBAND. Multi-faceted programs like GB provide both novice and moderate composers a user-friendly platform on which they express their art in musical style.

Having just taught my students an IMovie lesson, we observed THE OFFICE PARODY @  A fascinating concept we discovered is their use of the actual THEME SONG from The Office television program. This led our class to COLLABORATIVELY work on finding various THEME SONGS on the web.

By searching for TV Theme Songs in Google, we discovered multiple FILE FORMATS including .Wav, MP3, MP4 as well as MIDI.

An often overlooked — or underused — feature in GB is its ability to convert file formats. GB allows us to IMPORT files in MIDI.  GB will “default” to particular instruments such as piano, guitar, drums, etc. based on the data stored in the MIDI file.

MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. One “eye-opening” feature for new learners to discover is that MIDI is only data. In other words, there are no actual SOUNDS in a MIDI file.  The quality of an imported MIDI file is the result of several things including the musicality of the one who created the original file. Also, the tone generator on the host computer or software program will also greatly affect the quality of the tones heard.

Our students imported MIDI files into GB from THE OFFICE.  Several students added their own creativity by adding SPECIAL EFFECTS, DRUMS or A DIFFERENT INSTRUMENT than the original MIDI file designated.

Once completed, the song in GB needed to be SHARED. Most often, files are shared to ITUNES. In this case, we shared to RINGTONE.

As students prepare to be relevant in the REAL work force, I believe that projects such as creating ringtones for cell phones is as viable a concept as learning math. After all… what’s YOUR ring tone set to today?

(Please be advised that we must follow copyright laws when creating new works — especially if they are being created for profit.)

Your thoughts?

Googling Around: TOP 12 List

Educators! For many of us, this isn’t a new theme park ride. For some of us, if you haven’t experienced the thrill of using much of GOOGLE’S free tools, you’ve missed lots of FREE FUN. As an educator, you are given many industry-standard options to use at no expense. Better still… they are worth using.As a new WEB 2.0 guy, I learned that collaborating with co-workers online is working smart. When you are away from your computer, are you LOST without your calendar? As an avid EXCEL and WORD user, I struggle to keep the latest update at hand. The list goes on and on unfortunately.

What options does Google offer for you?

Some of my fav’s include:

1. Gmail. The world’s best email.

2. Chat. Send your wife love notes online!

3. Google search… just “Google it!” Like McCain said, we can even “Google it” to find out the top 20 candidates for V.P.

4. Maps. Much more reliable and accurate than MapQuest.

5. Earth. Have you seen your own home online yet using Google Earth? Great virtual field trip option.

6. Scholar. Working on an advanced degree? Need scholarly research for your website?

7. Notebook. Keep your “clips” you find during online searches.

8. Calendar. Keep multiple calendars online (personal, school, church). Link into one calendar if you want to.

9. Documents. This is my NEW FAVORITE! Upload from MS Office any file (.doc, .xls, .ppt) and it’s there. Unfortunately, PDF is not a format in which Google operates… yet.

Part II with Google Documents. Here are the WEB 2.o features. Share your documents by inviting them to “view”. Or invite them as a “collaborator.” Which means… you build a CONCERT PROGRAM. Send it to a colleague. Invite them to ADD TO THE DOCUMENT. Google then notifies YOU when every time the doc has been edited! Google works FOR you.

Then, invite others as a “viewer” to see what is forthcoming at the concert, yet they can’t change the layout. Only collaborators can make changes. Then, email to a Google GROUP that you have set up in GMAIL. (Import/Export addresses to/from various email programs.)

10. Picasa. For our High School Spring Musical, we share pictures among 3 collaborators. No time to meet? View online. Collaborate using Google’s amazing features.

11. Code. For those who understand code, Open Source is a wonderful collaborative tool. Get info using CODE. Incidentally, for those of you who need a free OFFICE program, begin to search the OPEN SOURCE programs available to you. OPEN OFFICE is fully functional on PC/Mac. No longer must EDUCATORS sit in the wings crying because we don’t have funds to purchase software packages. There are hundreds of amazing programs available to those who… seek and find.

12. Translate. Two years ago, we met our German cousins…for the first time! Communicating effectively across languages can be daunting to say the least. Now, using TRANSLATE, you can not only read other languages but Google will translate for you into other languages.

ENJOY Googling Around!

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