Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Moxtra and eBackpack . . . together forever?

Moxtra is my go-to app for anything that needs a playing assessment.  The sharing features are above anything that Notability has to offer, and the binder creation is a great concept that gives students a lot of control when creating digital Portfolios.

Since Maine's iPad solution included eBackpack, I was excited when I finally found a way to make the two apps work together. On paper it was awesome.  The first time that I had to grade more than 100 assessments, however, I learned that though it works, the extra time it adds to the process is a significant issue.

But -- I am getting ahead of myself.  Let me explain how things worked before eBackpack.

All of my students, grades 7-12, have iPads.  They download Moxtra, a free app, from the app store.
Using camera on their iPad, they take pictures of their music, and use those pictures to create binders for each song that we are working on.

When we have a playing assessment, they click on the page in the portfolio with the picture of the song, and when they hit record and record themselves, a new page is created, with the sound file attached.  They can then share that new page with me a number of different ways.  What I have them do is email it to me, which generates a link to their page with the audio file attached, visible on the web -- which means that I can access their assessment from any device, anywhere.

My email blows up -- but, it works.

eBackpack is a really cool program that you can use to hand out digital assignments, or instructions for a physical project, and students can turn in assignments right into eBackpack.  One of the awesome "sharing features" that I mentioned about Moxtra is the ability to "copy link," which I would have students do and then paste into a note into eBackpack, thus turning in their playing assessment using eBackpack.

Having them all in one place, with the amazing sorting features is great.  I could see at a glance exactly who hadn't turned in their assignment.

However. . .   when I sat down to start listening to the assessments, the extra time eBackpack takes to re-load after every time I listen to an assessment (on the iPad app) adds up to a significant chunk of time that I simply do not have.  A select few of my students were not familiar with eBackpack, so they simply emailed me their Moxtra file.  I was so grateful they did, because I was able to see for myself how much faster the process was using it the old way.

Because I hope to be using this tool for a long time, and have many, many students, time is valuable.  I will continue to search for an alternative to my email blowing up.  But I haven't found it yet. :)

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