Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monkey Machine - Experiment With Rhythms

Having students experiment with rhythms on a drum set is usually a very loud experience for the students and for anyone within earshot of those students. That probably explains why my elementary school music class was held in a room behind the cafeteria kitchen and hundreds of yards away from any other classroom. Fortunately, developments in technology have made it possible for students to experiment with drum rhythms on a quieter scale than was previously possible. One such tool that makes this possible is Monkey Machine.

Monkey Machine is a free web-based program that allows students to experiment with drum set sounds and rhythms. Using Monkey Machine students can customize the selection of drums and cymbals in their virtual drum set. Monkey Machine also allows students to customize the tempo in their drum tracks and the frequency with which each drum or cymbal is played. All tracks created using Monkey Machine can be downloaded as MIDI files.

Image credit:
Flickr user Dyanna.

Applications for Education
Monkey Machine could be a good resource for beginning music students to experiment with. Using Monkey Machine, even students that lack the ability to play the drums can discover how different drums and variations in tempo affect sounds of music.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Arts Edge - Podcasts and Lesson Plans
Classics for Kids - Classical Music Lesson Plans
Keeping Score - Study the Symphony

Udemy Launches Free Online Teaching Platform

Udemy, a free platform for teaching online that I wrote about in March, has officially launched for public use. Udemy offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. Course creators can publish slideshows, publish videos, and create mash-ups of slideshows and videos synched together. Course creators can also hold live online sessions through Udemy's virtual classroom platform.

Learn more about Udemy in the video below.

Starfall - Interactive Reading Lessons and Games

Starfall has been around for years, but I've never featured it on Free Technology for Teachers until today. Starfall offers free online activities to help young students learn to read. Starfall covers everything from learning the alphabet to learning how to pronounce words. One of the best features of Starfall is in the "I'm Reading" section of the website. In the "I'm Reading" section students read short stories set in a variety of contexts. As students are reading, if they get stuck on the pronounciation of a word, they can click on any word in the story to hear it pronounced. This same concept applies to other activities offered by Starfall.

Applications for Education
Starfall could be a great way for parents to work their children to develop reading skills. Depending on the age of the child parents can help their children learn to manipulate a computer's mouse while helping them learn to read. Some children may be able to use Starfall on their own as an independent learning activity.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:

Guys Read - Getting Boys to Read
AdLit - Strategies for Teaching Adolescent Literature
PBS Parents - Educational Activities to do at Home