So, I didn’t read the assignment closely enough to understand the difference between the two tool assignments — my bad. Hence, this is some makeup work.
I found, JoyTunes, and more specifically their apps, PianoMeastro and Piano Dust Buster. Since I have slightly more musical aptitude than a sack of potatoes but, a great fondness for music these apps intrigued me. I watched a couple of their promotional videos and particularly resonated with the “gamification” of music practice. The adults mentioned the shortened attention span of young people these days. Yet the kids recounted practicing for perfections as a result of using the apps. Apparently, PianoMeastro can be used rather like an LMS where the teacher can add assignments for particular students and push these out between classes. I suspect that additional research might show me a number of companies and a number of instruments in this market niche — none-the-less thought this was really cool. Easy to see applications in home or enrichment schooling on a families tablet or, in school, or the traditional instrument instruction — many of the adults in these promotional videos were introduced as “piano teacher” for example. I’ll have to look around for an app that teaches blues guitar — maybe Jack White has been recruited for the voice acting .
On far other end of the spectrum is zSpace. Here we are talking high powered software, and big school districts, big money. This is an immersive 3D simulation using “pens” and glasses. All the teachers and students are smiling and fascinated by what they are interacting with. One video describes “heart dissection”. I suspect it doesn’t come with senso-rama so no stink of formalin, nor any real body fluids, ohh, like blood. There was no cutting of the sternum and spreading of the rib cage…. Maybe they save that for the version for medical schools. The expense, and the hyper-real sanitary and unreality of it are really off putting for me. The heart I saw in the video looked like a drawing — I didn’t see any real plaque in the veins or fatty buildups. It is cool and sexy technology and probably a very interesting use and application. But it troubled me too.
After a lot of poking around I was able to find Tynker.
The website offers modules for home, for school and for partners (enrichment programs). The point is that coding is a literacy that we all, but particularly our children need to learn. The coding here is embedded in interfaces that are a lot more pleasing and interactive then the lines of basic we had to write in the bad old days. The product seems to be aimed at kids elementary and middle school age. Each module builds on the previous, and there are several different modules, each costing $50. It appears that they are moving into coding for mobile devices too. I suspect that the company is building a community as well though exactly how that works is a little unclear to me. The have a page called the “hour of code” which they are participating in and supporting it seems to be an intentional effort — kinda cool.