Choice screenshot

Choice screenshot

Choice was one of the first apps I ever downloaded for my iPhone and for a free app, it’s certainly been one of the most useful.

Operation is simple; up to five people place a finger each on the screen. Grey dots form under their fingertips. the dots flash on and off then just one ends up red. A winner has been decided on!

I use this app at least once every day with classes. Students never argue with the decision and it’s quick and painless. A few believe they can ‘game’ the result by being the first / last to put their fingers down. No statistical proof of this helping to win has been established however.

The app did disappear from the App Store for a while but developer Christian Stropp brought it back and produced an updated (thank you!) version for the iPad that takes up to eleven fingers.

It’s almost as good as rock / paper / scissors!

I use it to:

  • Select leaders for Drama / Music groups
  • Choose classroom monitors
  • Arbitrate on contentious classroom issues
  • Pick teams
  • Bring about world peace

A simulated FM radio station

AV Wireless transmitterWe’re in the process of establishing a radio station at school. I’ve established some links with the wonderful people at our local FM station GulfFM and we’re hoping to have a low-powered community FM station set up in the next 12 months.

In the meantime I’ve put together some equipment in one of our practice rooms for the older students to experiment and practice on.

At the heart of the setup is our old Yamaha mixing desk. With 16 inputs, we can easily control several microphones, a CD player and an iPad. There’s obviously no automation or board-control of the music, but it does mean that up to four students can each have a discrete job to do on the board:

  1. Announcer 1
  2. Announcer 2
  3. CD / phone / iPod music / iPad soundboard
  4. Engineer / Mixer

The single headphone out signal goes to a small 4-socket Behringer headphone amp, so all four students can monitor the show they’re creating.

I’ve plugged an AV transmitter in the REC OUT socket and we’re ‘beaming’ the transmission through several walls and windows to the main music room where the transmitter’s receiver is plugged into a sound system.

Voila! Instant radio station!

We’ll have to be careful of broadcasting though as the AV transmitter blankets the wireless spectrum and will severely disrupt the music room’s Internet Wireless.

Next on the list: a real audience. We’ll feed the AV signal to a mobile amp and some groups of students are getting quite excited by the prospect of broadcasting to lunch time audiences.



iPads and Interactive Whiteboards

The Whiteboard Blog compares three ways of using your iPad with an interactive whiteboard.

While I have a PC connected to the whiteboard in the classroom, it only gets used for PowerPoint and program demonstrations. For playing music examples and video clips, my iPad is the gadget of choice. (CineX player is a slick video app, and my current video player since YouTube stopped video apps from downloading directly on the iPad).

The short VGA dongle lead (and the need to plug into the speakers) is frustrating, and now we have a wireless system installed I’m going to experiment with some of the iPhone/iPod remote systems that are available.