Wednesday, August 8, 2012

pinterest follow-up

A reader asked which program I would use for the end-class-automatic-music-cue.  Turns out, if you have a PC, you already have a program that can do this!  It's called the Task Scheduler.  I've never used it myself, and it's not as pretty as a user-friendly gadget someone might make for an alarm, but it does the trick.

I cannot find the directions I followed the first time I discovered this handy program, but this one might be even better for our purposes: Set Computer to Play Music Automatically at a Certain Time

Where you select what "program" you want to begin at a certain time, just select whichever music file you want as your cue.  At the appointed time, it will automatically begin playing the file with whichever is your computer's default music player.  Perfect!  If you want it to last for a minute or so, you can schedule it to stop at a certain time, too.  I would recommend saving your cue of choice as a separate mp3 that you have trimmed to the appropriate time, but if you don't have a program that can do that, it's not necessary.

So, there you go!  Now, we just have to figure out what kind of music to use.  Any ideas?

p.s. Any Mac users know of a similar program?  Or is there just an app for that?

Friday, August 3, 2012

This is my Pinterest

Playing music to induce certain behaviors in the classroom isn't a new concept, so it's a little sad that it has taken me this long to think about setting up a classroom computer to set off the cues automatically.  A friend posted an edu-advice-question on her FB feed recently, and she shared that she already used a musical cue for packing up at the end of class; she sets up a timer each day to go off at the appropriate times.  This is one of those ForeheadSlap moments -- why didn't I think of that?  I often had problems with getting to the end of class, usually because I over-estimated what we could accomplish in a given class period.  I was always watching the clock, trying to gauge when it was time to wrap up.  By setting a little musical timer, it's a great cue for both the students AND me.  It would also ensure that I had enough time to wrap-up/set-up for the next class period, rather than rushing to get ready for next period since I didn't manage my time effectively in the previous one.  You know how that goes.  Or maybe you don't, because you are an absolutely awesome time manager.

So, I'm making a note of this for myself to keep in mind for when I do return to the classroom. 

Question:  I do wonder "What kind of music?"  Because if it's too familiar/catchy, kids are likely to sing along, which usually negates the whole "transition quickly/quietly" goal of using musical cues.  But if it's too cheesy, kids may not buy in.  If you use musical cues in your classroom, tell me how you do it!