iPad in Education

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
“Before, during and even between classes at Hillbrook School this fall, seventh-graders have been spotted on the Los Gatos campus, sometimes burbling Spanish or Mandarin phrases into the glowing screen in their hands, other times staring into it like a looking glass,” Bruce Newman reports for The Mercury News.

“iPads — the Apple of almost every adolescent’s eye — are being provided to students at several Bay Area public and private schools this year, including Hillbrook, which claims to be the only K-8 school in America using tablet computers in class and sending them home,” Newman reports. “This has led to a lot of 12-year-olds swanning around the wooded hillside campus, talking to their iPads.”

It just makes sense. It’s cheaper, more “green”, and more efficient. Now imagine having all your music books in an iPad. Or all that Lit and Analysis stuff accessible instantly. Or having some great ear training Apps to help with sight singing. Soon……it’s happening as we speak…..

Best Practices To Scan Old Books into PDFs

Yes, the iPad is amazing. Ok, sure, there are some other makers coming out with devices too. Regardless of what you get, you are probably at some point going to want to convert some of your tattered books into digital format. But how? What should I use?

Fear not, here are some guidelines to do it as I’ve converted quite a few of my old books that were falling apart into excellent PDFs. First, you need a scanner. A sheet feed scanner on something like a Brother 7340. I used a Brother 7420 myself, and it works great. Good Macintosh support. You could use a lot of other different solutions as well, but you really need to have a sheetfeeder scanner (ie: you can put 20+ pages on it and let it do it’s stuff).

Second, you need some sort of paper cutter to cut the bindings off, and any books that are oversized (like Rubank) need to be trimmed a little to fit in the scanner’s sheetfeeder. You can use scissors I suppose, but a paper cutter is easier, cleaner, and does it better.

For scanning, I’ve found that 300dpi B&W uncompressed TIFF is the way to go. I don’t do JPG or compressed TIFF because I am going to let the PDF part of the process do all the compression when I’m ready. I put in a stack of pages in the sheet feeder, and have it go. When its done, then I put the other side through the scanner. When that is all done, I go through the scans and number them (01…09….20….etc) and make sure that the scanner didn’t take two or more pages in by mistake (it will happen) and to see that they pages have all the stuff on the page (as in nothing was cut off during the scan). The cover and back I’ll generally use the flatbed scanner on the unit to make color scans. The covers are usually thicker anyways and don’t go through the feeder well (if at all).

Ok, so, now you have all these TIFFs, I use Adobe Acrobat to assemble them (“Combine Files into PDF”). The middle setting (lower right filesize) is the setting I use, into a Single PDF file. You also need to make sure the pages are in order then go.

Acrobat will then assemble all the files together, and display the result. Now, the next thing to do, which is why I use Acrobat, is to use the Tools->Recognize Text. Why you say? Well, it does OCR any text in the PDF, which is helpful if you need to search something, but it also will do things like straighten any crooked pages and stuff. Little things that will make your PDF look great. So run it. When it is done, then do an Apple-D and type in info for the PDF like the title, author, some key words. Then save.

Done! Now you have a nice digital copy for yourself. It is really great using the iPad to practice with, it remembers where you were in each PDF, and you can make bookmarks (which can transfer to your computer), etc. Notes. Great stuff. Here is an example page

Electro-Swing

This has been happening in the SF Bay area for a while, and it seems to be happening in the UK now as well.

“A paddle steamer moves slowly down river, over-run with a gaily dressed throng of party animals in cloche hats, homburgs, spats, waistcoats, ball masks, and feather boas. Moustaches – some waxed – flourish. The bar sells out of champagne within an hour of leaving dock and the dance floor fills with dandy couples throwing each other about. This is not a scene from F Scott Fitzgerald, but Halloween 2010 on Steamboat Bordello, a floating event on the Thames, and the speakers are pumping out a striking new music that looks set to be the sound of this season’s parties: a revamped version of Jazz Age flavours that mixes Dixieland brass with electronic percussion.”

Check out the video as well. Good stuff. I like this….

Make Your Own Fingering Charts EASILY!

Bret Pimentel has hit it out of the park with this. Simply the best thing I’ve come across on the net for months……his online Fingering Diagram Builder…which also works on the iPad!

I’m pleased to present something I’ve been working on, on and off, for a while now. I’m pretty excited about it, and I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think.

This project developed from my own need to quickly and easily create fingering diagrams for the woodwind instruments that I play and teach. Frequently I find myself scribbling saxophone altissimo fingerings onto a scrap of paper during a private lesson, cutting-and-pasting at the photocopier to put together simplified charts for a woodwind methods class, or penciling cryptic markings into musical scores to remind myself which pinky finger to use.

Simply amazing and well overdue on the web. Thanks Bret!!!!!