Organizing & Sharing Student Performance Files

Ian Boynton

Portable devices like tablets and smartphones have enormous potential for enabling students to create and share their work with others. Tese new tools offer endless possibilities for teachers to collect, publish, and assess students’ work. However, organizing and managing all of these files can be a logistical nightmare. With a little planning that task can become a lot easier. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to manage files between devices.

Have An Organizational Plan

Te first step to managing any number of files is to have a plan for name and organizing them. File names should be given so that they are easy to sort by class, name, and creation date. Like- wise it is helpful to have names short enough that you can read the whole thing without the operating system truncating it. Naming a stu- dent performance file something like “Mystical Sunshine by Emily H and Kevin W Mrs Patel’s 3rd Grade” is asking for trouble. Finding that file in a folder full of similarly named files is go- ing to take you too much time. An easier way is to name the files in a way that you can easily track them down the same way you think.

For example, if you are recording student per- formances using one device such as a classroom computer or tablet it can be very helpful to have one large file for each class. Applications like ProTools on the desktop/laptop or GarageBand (iOS), or N-Track Studio (Android) allow you to create and name multiple tracks within a file. You can therefore create one file by teacher name, and within that file have one track for each student or group you record. Ten if you need to export specific songs to play for par- ents or use for your own assessment you can mute the tracks that you don’t want to hear. An example might be a file named Mrs. Dolan Hot Cross Buns. Inside that file are individual tracks for each student labeled by name playing Hot Cross Buns.

When using more than one recording device the principle remains that same. Each file you have should be named in a way that makes it easy to find. You will most likely need all the recordings for a given classroom at one time. Terefore the first word in the file name should be the classroom teacher. Next should be either the student’s name or if you group students together the group name/number. Last should be the name of the piece. A collection of com- posed songs from Mrs. Shaffer’s third grade might look like this:

Shaffer-Mia S-Talking Waffle Shaffer-Trevon G-Metro PCS Shaffer-Umberto R-SpongBob

In this way, if a parent comes to speak with you at conference time and asks what their child has been doing in music you can very quickly track down the recording you made of them. Files students record individually and submit to you should follow the same format. It is important to model for the students how to create file names, just like modeling any other musical concept.

Sharing Between Devices

Managing files between multiple devices is a little trickier, but is still possible. As before it is important that file names are easy to sort and quickly identified. Aſter that it is just a matter of getting all the files from the various devices



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