Thursday, January 28, 2016

Removing Background Noise When Recording on iPad by Guest Blogger Wendy Anderson

Today's post is written by SDW Teacher Wendy Anderson. Thanks Wendy for your clear and practical solution!

 Hopefully we all have discovered the power of the audio recording feature on the iPad. This feature gives students’ the ability to reflect on what they’ve learned or explain how they reached an answer verbally. Many applications require this record feature.  In my first grade classroom this has been game changing for students who have a hard time communicating their thoughts in written words. But, we have also all discovered the poor recording quality of the built in microphone if there is any type of background noise in the classroom.  During playback, the background noise sounds just as loud as the person’s recorded voice. This can become frustrating for the student and their audience.
 After trying different microphones and recording locations, our solution was simple; mini-recording studios. Our mini-recording studios are inexpensive storage stools from Target. As you can see in the picture, students place their iPad in the back of the storage stool. They then lay with their head in the mini-recording studio. This set-up helps prevent unwanted sounds and room chatter from ruining students’ recordings. You can still hear the background noise, but it is truly muffled and the recorded voice stands out more clearly. Egg-crate foam or acoustic foam can also be attached to the inside walls of the stool to increase the sound blocking effect.

 There are many other advantage of these mini-recording studios. The provide privacy for students who are wary of recording in front of other people. We have heard much better audio “performances” from students who were once shy to record. Also, before using the mini-recording studios, students would seek a quiet place to record in the hall. This was challenging because  for a short time these students were not under direct teacher supervision. Also, the hall would  have unexpected noise occur as a student was recording. Now, because we already had several storage stools in the class many students can record IN the classroom at the same time. Students really feel professional having their own recording studio just like Justin Bieber.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Waukesha One Plan Ahead!

Waukesha One Conference--Just One Week Away!

Final planning is underway for the Second Waukesha One Conference to be held at Waukesha West HS next Friday, January 22. We are very excited about this year's offerings. I think it will be a fabulous learning day! We have over 260 district staff that will be presenting sessions and sharing how they are using technology in their classrooms.

To make the most of this learning opportunity I highly recommend visiting the conference website at:

Once there click on the Sessions tab. If the box is blank click the link: View the The One Conference - 2016 schedule & directory. This will allow you to explore sessions being offered during the conference. Poster Sessions are all listed at 7:30AM and run the entire day.

There are four other formal session times being offered during the course of the day: 9:30AM, 10:45AM, 1:00PM & 2:15PM. Sessions are color-coded based on the "big rock" that they reinforce. If you float your mouse over the session title you will see the description of the session, presenters, time and the grade level it applies to.
Many sessions will include a link to the presentation to give you more information about what will be shared during the session. If the presenter has indicated that an app is necessary for participation it will be included in the description as well. Please plan ahead and download these apps prior to attending the conference on Friday. This will help reduce the number of wireless issues you may experience.

The next week is a great time to talk with your job-alikes in your building to "spread the wealth" and divide and conquer as many sessions as possible. We know it is great fun to attend with friends, but dividing up will allow you to cover more sessions and share with your teammates on Monday!

With SCHED you have the ability to build your learning plan in advance. Check the circle at the top left corner of a session or Add to My Schedule to make it part of your plan for the day. While we are not capping attendance based on this selection, if a session has a great deal of interest we may be able to move it to a larger room. You are still free to make your final selections the day of the conference.

We are hoping that you will see examples of ways that you can LevelUp! the use of technology in your classrooms. SAMR will be a focus throughout the day. We are looking forward to a great day of learning and technology exploration. Just a reminder that there are a great number of ways to expand your learning on this day; stop by a vendor booth, listen in at the Rock Star Stage, browse the Poster sessions in the main hallway and of course attend sessions being presented by your SDW co-workers and business partners!