A. Instruction - 7.3
B. Design - 8.8
C. Engagement - 9.4
Beamz – An Interactive Tool for Making Music
Summary : Learn to make musical tracks without reading music!
Beamz is an interactive app designed for users to create music using a variety of features and settings. To begin, after downloading the app, users must give permission for the app to use their Bluetooth and give consent to its user agreement. At this point, the app’s dashboard will load, and it provides users with the tools for creating music.
First, users can tap the “Help” button to access an overlay that explains the functionalities of each option and feature in the app. Users can then begin exploring them. To begin, the center of the dashboard is divided into quadrants, and each quadrant has the name of an instrument and the length of the note it will play. Users must tap or swipe the purple line under the instrument to play it, and they can hold their finger on the line to play the note for a longer periods of time. When the instrument plays, users will see its audio footprint on the grey line towards the top of the screen. Users can tap the “Swap” button on the bottom of the screen to cycle through the available instruments and sounds. Users can tap the “Rhythm” button, and the app will play a background track. While that track plays, users can tap the different instruments in the quadrants on the dashboard to mix them into the track and they can still use the “Swap” button to cycle different instruments into the mix. If users wish to change the background track, they can tap the “Playlist” button to access different options.
When users are ready to record a mix, they can tap the “Record” button and anything played in the app will be recorded until users tap the “Record” button again. Users can then tap the “Recordings” button to hear their recorded mix. To share their mix, users can tap the “Share” button, which allows them to email their recording. If they wish to delete a track, users can tap the “Edit” button followed by the red hyphen followed by swiping the “Delete” button.
Additional options in Beamz include the “Buy Songs” feature, which allows users to purchase songs, the “Settings” option that provides users with an interface to adjust options within the app, and the “Vocals” option allows users to record their voice.
Finally, this app also has a game feature. To access it, users will have to tap the “Playlist” option and scroll the “Master” list for titles that include the word “game” in them.
Instructional Ideas for Beamz
- When students are learning about different instruments, they can use this app to hear the sounds made by each instrument. Students can then experiment with the instruments to learn their sounds.
- Once students gain proficiency with the sounds, teachers can have them record a track using the “Rhythm” and “Swap” features. That way, students can customize the sounds in more detail. In addition, teachers can provide students themes, such as happy, sad, foreboding, and exciting, and students can create tracks for those themes. Once complete, students can email themselves or their teacher their track and then upload it to a class website. That way, their classmates can hear the track and provide feedback.
- Teachers can present a character to students – from literature, popular culture, historical figure, etc. – and students can create a theme track for this character. They can then email the track to themselves and upload it to a class website. Once all the students have uploaded their tracks, teachers can have students match the tracks to the character.
- As a review of sounds and multiplication tables, teachers can have students search the “Playlist” option for games to play.
Screenshots of Beamz
Ratings for Beamz
|A2. 21st Century Skills
|A3. Conn. to Future Learning
|A4. Value of Errors
|A5. Feedback to Teacher
|A6. Level of Material
|A7. Cooperative Learning
|A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
|B1. Ability to Save Progress
|B2. Platform Integration
|B3. Screen Design
|B4. Ease of Use
|B6. Goal Orientation
|B7. Information Presentation
|B8. Media Integration
|B9. Cultural Sensitivity
|C1. Learner Control