Thursday, November 30, 2006

web design for kids

Building simple web pages with html is not only dead easy, but it's also a great enrichment activity for students in all disciplines.

Small Planet Communication's Create Your Own Web Page tutorial condenses the page-building process into seven simple steps. One of the greatest strengths of this tutorial is its "big picture" approach: it emphasizes the overall process rather than the niggling individual details of writing html. On the other hand, Small Planet's introduction to html is a bit too rushed and will likely leave students confused as to the specific functions of each tag. A little step-by-step instruction from a teacher should help mitigate this particular problem, though. Alternately, take a look at the Goodell Group's html for kids guide, a well-organized and well-written introduction to the most common html tags. Webmonkey for Kids also has some terrific lessons, project ideas, and links to html editing software.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

resources for music teachers and musicians

I had to take a break from singing when I started library school, since the evening classes conflicted with the twice-weekly rehearsals. I'm looking forward to starting up again next year (assuming I finish this degree by then), but I'm a little anxious about getting out of practice, especially with sight-singing. So while this post is ostensibly for music educators, my primary motivation for sniffing around for online tools was personal.

Anyway, here goes:

Good Ear is a decent and free site for ear-training practice. Students can test their recognition of chords, scales, intervals, notes, and cadences by listening to a brief QuickTime recording played by either piano, guitar, or violin (user's choice). I also like the ear training tools on i was doing all right, which not only play slightly better recordings that Good Ear, but also show the student the notes on the musical staff -- the only on the treble cleff, for some reason.

You'll need a reliable broadband connection to use this virtual metronome effectively, since a slow or shaky connection will prevent the metronome from keeping an accurate beat. Though I still prefer my trusty pocket metronome, this electronic version makes for an acceptable substitute. I also enjoyed customizing the sounds of each beat.