Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Classroom speakers

I love networking. There’s so much to learn. No one is an expert in everything, but there is always someone who is more expert. My husband always says, “Every man’s a layman in another man’s profession.” (We don’t call him ‘Ye Old Sagacious One for nothing!’) Getting together with others who are more expert than me is exciting. I learn so much. Just last week I got to see Cindy who showed me the coolest wireless speakers ever! I was blown away by its deep sound and knew I had to get it. Unpretentious Patsy quietly said she had a speaker that her daughter gave her because she knew her mom was a gadget junkie. Cindy and I both stood back in awe when Patsy showed us the crazy speakers she had. We just had to bow to her!  Yeah Patsy. I’m going to dedicate this “tuesdays” to the need for speakers in the classroom. No matter how digital you may or may not be, there is always a time we need to play something important for the students and who hasn’t been in the quandary of needing a good, but affordable sound system?

A creative website

Right after Patsy showed Cindy and me her cool speakers, I could not find them anywhere on the Internet because I had no idea what they were called. All I knew was that they were white, had a retractable mini-plug and a suction cup that could be placed on any object to amplify sound.  Sounds crazy, right? Patsy sent me the link and I ordered the Rock-It speakers immediately. I rarely endorse a product in “tuesdays,” but Rock-It speakers are second to none. This ingenious device is a science experiment and cool sound all rolled into one. You have to watch this most creative video that explains how the Rock-It speakers work. They have even been featured on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank". This is descrption from their website, but seeing is believing. Be sure to watch the video! “The Rock-It portable vibration speaker system takes music from your device and turns it into vibration sequences. It sends those vibrations through the Rock-It pod which sticks to ANY object. Simply press play on your device and the Rock-It will turn that object into a speaker!” I ordered Cindy’s model first (and got it today!) and ordered the Rock-It speakers in black. Can’t wait to share with others. Would one of you great science teachers please explain how this works so I can tell others when they ask me?

An image to share
Super sweet, deep sounding speakers (Cindy’s gadget) that arrived yesterday.  They are wireless and use Bluetooth to play from all my devices. Sweet!

A proverb

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”


An encouragement

As a teacher we hope our schools supply speakers for our classrooms, but it is often an overlooked budget item, unless you are fortunate. I want to encourage you to purchase your own set of speakers (any kind, but certainly consider the Rock-It or Mini-Box models) because it is so important to bring video and audio into our classrooms today. Without the ability to hear the music, video, audiobooks, presentations can be arduous. When you have your own personal set, you treasure them and take much better care of them. You are also more likely to use them when you don’t have to wait for the tech to find you a set or have to borrow some from a teammate. I know we are all on budget these days, but a set of speakers is one dinner out!  The biggest difference is that the dinner is gone that same evening and your speakers will last a long time. The beauty of classroom speakers is that they don’t have to be expensive or high-powered, but they need to be loud enough to reach the four corners of your room.  Both of these models are worth your hard earned money.

How do you do that?

How do you integrate these two great devices? Both have their distinct advantages.  The Mini-Box that Cindy showed me is wireless.  That’s huge! It connects through Bluetooth to any device that is a Bluetooth enabled gadget. For instance, my iPad connected immediately, my iPhone was even as seamless and the extra bonus is that it works as a speaker phone on steroids!  The Mini-Box also connects to any Mac or Windows computer with the latest operating systems. The Rock-It speaker system has its own advantage because it is so low-tech and so highly engaging. It’s only drawback is that you still have to plug it into your computer or other device, but those crazy little suction cups placed on objects all over the classroom can only lead to some great experimentation. Can you imagine what it might sound like on the largest item in your classroom?  It could be a great hypothesis generator whether you are a science teacher or not. Thanks Cindy and Patsy for being great networking collaborators. 

tuesdays with Karen” is a weekly newsletter/blog designed to encourage, equip and empower teachers to be creative with educational technology.

As always, I am
Ubiquitously yours,

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