e7 resources: e7 iPads make an impression at St John’s

e7 resources: e7 iPads make an impression at St John’s

The last time I caught up with St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, one of the schools taking part in our free e7 1:1 iPad trial, they had been using iPad in a wide range of subjects, including humanities and biology

For a recent assignment, they had to capture a range of emotions using iPad’s built-in camera. Senior network manager Keith Nolan asked them to “think of as many emotional responses as possible but show us without words how you would express these with your facial expressions, so it could be surprise, it could be laughter, it could be a smile or a sad face.” We think you’ll agree from the picture below that no-one’s gone with ‘boredom’!

– You can keep up with how St John’s are getting on on their 1:1 iPad journey over at their blog.

Want to know more about 1:1 iPad deployments in schools? See our e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

Education app of the week: Cargo-Bot for iPad

Education app of the week: Cargo-Bot for iPad

With the government pushing coding and programming in education, an app like Cargo-Bot for iPad is a great way in. Dressed up as a fun block-moving game, Cargo-Bot will subtly get students thinking about the basic processes and information loops required for coding. Here’s how…

What is Cargo-Bot?

Cargo-Bot (Two Lives Left, free) is a straightforward game where you score points for moving blocks with a crane-like grabber. Each level presents you with a stack of coloured blocks, then it’s your job to move them using the minimum number of code instructions possible (left, right, down, colour-specific rules etc). The cartoony Cut the Rope/Angry Birds-style graphics and ease of use make it really accessible, as well as being quite addictive!

How can it benefit the classroom?

Some of our customers are already using Cargo-Bot in the classroom, and have mentioned just how easy it is to get students thinking about basic coding with the app. It’s effectively a game, but also a great introduction into problem solving and workflow, seeing the end result and coming up with processes to achieve it and make the crane work.

Cargo-Bot will be most effective for secondary school students, I reckon, but there are also other options if you want to get basic coding into the classroom. Bee-Bot (TTS Group) is a free app based on one of those programmable floor robots that’s great for primary schools, while if you want to take coding in lessons a bit further, the Codea app is available for £6.99 from iTunes. Codea is a programming language developed by Two Lives Left which, interestingly, they used to create Cargo-Bot – the first ever iPad app to be completely created on an iPad!

What’s the best feature?

What I like most about Cargo-Bot is the gentle learning curve, getting progressively harder as you advance through the levels. There’s a certain amount of trial and error in getting the sequences right first time, but once you’ve completed the level, you can go back and try to better your score, so it’s a good way of assessing how much students are taking onboard. There’s also a very handy ‘Hints’ button which gives you a few gentle nudges in the right direction, and tutorials to get you started too.

Where can I get it?

You can get Cargo-Bot (Two Lives Left) by searching the App Store on your iPad or heading over to iTunes.

– Missed last week’s app? Read our review of iMindMap HD here.

 

To find out more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

 

e7 resources: St John’s Catholic Comp’s adventures with iPad

e7 resources: St John’s Catholic Comp’s adventures with iPad

Before embarking on any new technology rollouts, it’s always good to check up on how other schools are getting on. One of our e7 iPad trial schools, St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School, have been blogging  their experiences with their new devices, so it’s a good place to start if you’re thinking about going down the 1:1 iPad route.

The school post about how students and teachers are finding using iPad, as well as addressing all those concerns you might have around a rollout – student safety, financing, mobile device management (MDM). Click the link below to read on, and check out these pictures from a biology lesson they let us sit in on when we were last down for a catch-up to see what kind of thing iPad can be used for!

Read St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School’s 1:1 iPad blog here

Does a free 1:1 iPad pilot scheme sound like something from which your school or college could benefit? Find out more about the e7 Project here, call 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. You can also follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

e7 team: iPad training session with Montsaye Academy

e7 team: iPad training session with Montsaye Academy
For my latest iPad training sessions as part of our free e7 1:1 iPad pilot scheme, I jetted over to Montsaye Academy in Rothwell, Northants, to help them get to grips with their devices. Happily, all the staff and students were already very clued up on the actual iPad device, which was a great starting point, so we looked into some of the finer points of email, Apple ID and the iOS operating system.

There was a big focus on a 1:1 workflow on the training agenda – specifically email. Montsaye are creating their own school email addresses, so each student can have their own Apple ID attached to a secure email address which only they have the password to. This means they can download their own apps, easily access their own email and generally personalise the iPad to themselves. By the end of the sessions, the students were happy to go away and start using the devices on their own, and it will be great to see how they’ve been using them at the end of their term-long pilot scheme.

Interested in an iPad deployment at your school? Find out more about how to sign up for our e7 free iPad 1:1 pilot scheme here, call us on 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page

e7 team: Deploying iPad at Hillview School and Invicta Grammar

e7 team: Deploying iPad at Hillview School and Invicta Grammar

It’s been a hectic run up to Christmas for the e7 team, with schools booking in their iPad training so staff have the chance to get used to their new devices over the break. I’ve been a busy bee too, down at Hillview School for Girls in Tonbridge on Monday for a handover, before heading up a session at Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone on Tuesday (as well as the Priory School in Bromley just last week!)

Both Hillview and Invicta have recently signed up to our e7 free iPad trial scheme, and have now taken delivery of their 40 iPad devices to trial for a whole term from January to March. The teachers at Hillview seemed really excited to try out the devices, and had loads of interesting questions about how iPad and the apps worked. Over at Invicta, we had a handover session for both teachers and 6th-formers, so it was interesting to hear which aspects of iPad each group were most interested in. We’ll be catching up with both schools to see how they’ve been getting on with their iPad deployments soon.

If the e7 Project sounds like something your school would be interested in, you can find out more about how to sign up for our our e7 free iPad 1:1 pilot scheme here. You can also call us on 03332 409 333 or email e7@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up to date with what our e7 team are up to, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page

Getting the most out of Propellerhead’s Reason

Getting the most out of Propellerhead’s Reason

Craig Anderton of Harmony Central has compiled a list of tips to help you realise the full potential of Reason from Propellerhead. Here are the best…

Better Sample Playlist

Some people erroneously believe that Reason’s sound quality can’t match dedicated hardware. Rather than jumping on the bandwagon, make sure ‘low-bandwidth’ hasn’t been checked in the SubTractor or the NN-19 and try selecting ‘High Quality Interpolation’ in the NN-XT and NN-19 samplers. You should now be able to enjoy a significant improvement in sound quality.

Compressor Sidechaining


While many Digital Audio Workstations are just starting to implement sidechaining, Reason’s MClass Compressor already has it. Simply press Tab to flip the rack around to reveal ‘Sidechain In’ jacks for the left and right channels. As an added bonus the compressor’s Gain Reduction signal is available as a control voltage.

Improved EQ Mixer
On the back of the ReMix mixer, you’ll find a switch in the lower left corner that flicks between ‘Compatible EQ’ and ‘Improved EQ’. Your best bet is to opt for Improved which will trade in a slightly higher CPU hit for much better quality and save the Compatible selection for projects created in older versions of Reason.

MIDI-to-CV Convertor


The RPG-8 can serve as a MIDI-to-CV converter when the Arpeggiator is set to Off. For example, make the RPG-8’s track active in the Sequencer, and send the RPG-8 Gate and CV outs to a SubTractor synthesiser. But instead of routing the RPG-8 Mod Wheel out to the SubTractor’s Mod Wheel in (the default), you can send it to Pitch, Filter 2 Freq (as shown in the screen shot), or Amp Level, which do not have corresponding amount controls in SubTractor’s Mod wheel section.

Bonus Equalizer
The BV512 vocoder has a bonus equalizer mode with up to 32 band. Simply turn the switch to the left from Vocoder to Equalizer and you can even do some primitive room tuning if you insert the vocoder as the last processor in the signal chain.

Signal Flow Handling

Some of Reason’s effects sum the inputs to mono before creating a stereo output, they have different capabilities and you’ll need to check them if you’re having any issues. To see how a particular effect handles signal flow you need to check the small graphics toward the left side on the back of the rack (Tab to turn around). For an explanation of what these mean, go to page 683 in the Version 5 PDF Operation Manual or page 334 for the Version 4 manual (both of which can be found in the programme folder’s respective documentation folders).

Remove Subsonics
The MClass Equalizer has a ‘Lo Cut’ switch that reduces response below 30Hz at 12dB/octave. Insert this at the output to remove any subsonics. Patching this before a compressor will also allow the compressor to work more efficiently, as its control mechanism won’t be influenced by subsonic signals.

Better Distortion and Overall Sound
Reason will run at 96kHz (sample rate can be selected by following Edit > Preferences > Audio >). To appreciate just how much difference this makes, choose a really distorted patch in Scream and you’ll notice a definite smoothness in the high frequencies that you just can’t get at 44.1kHz.

The Truth About Clipping
Reason uses 32-bit floating point math for internal calculations, yielding a virtually unlimited dynamic range. As a result, clipping that occurs within Reason itself (e.g. an effect metre “in the red”) won’t produce audible distortion. Rather, you should clip at the hardware interface. It’s a good idea to leave the Hardware Device unfolded, and check the Audio Output metres from time to time to make sure they’re not distorting.

If you Don’t Like Patch Cables
Type ‘L’ (not Ctrl-L or Command-L, as is incorrectly stated in the Operation Manual) to show/hide the patch cords on the back. Jacks that are in use have a coloured ‘hole’ with the same colour as the patch cord that normally connects to it, and you can see where it connects by holding the cursor over the jack-a ‘tooltip’ style of text appears describing the connection.

More Effective Vocoding
You’ll get the most noticeable vocoding effects if the carrier sound you use has lots of harmonics (such as a synth sound with an open filter and sawtooth waves). If you don’t have a lot of harmonics, try patching a Scream4 between the carrier source and the vocoder carrier input.

Build Your Own Rack
To copy a Reason device quickly, Ctrl-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) on a device’s ‘rack ears’ and drag it into an empty space in the rack.

Act as a MIDI Guitar
Reason is a great choice for a sound module for a MIDI guitar. Because it’s easy to load up six devices, you simply need to put the MIDI guitar in mono mode (separate MIDI output for each string over its own channel), and assign each device to a string.

You can find Craig Anderton’s original tips here.

If you want to learn more about any of our Propellerhead products, give our Audio team a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com.

New Pro Tools HD interfaces are here

New Pro Tools HD interfaces are here

Pro Tools fans – this one’s for you. Avid have just announced a new range of hardware and software, designed to help you get the most out of the digital audio workstation. They have launched three rack-mountable HD Series interfaces – I/O, OMNI and MADI – and HEAT analogue effect software. Click on the product names to get yours now.

– HD I/O. The flagship interface offers the highest audio quality with 20% less latency than previous models. Adaptable to your needs, there are three configurations to choose from – 16×16 analogue, 16×16 digital and 8x8x8 analogue and digital.

– HD OMNI. All-in-one recording, mixing, monitoring and conversion with two mic pre-amps, headphone outputs and a full-featured 7.1 surround monitor section. Its 14×26 channel persistent mixer even works when the computer is off.

– HD MADI. Send and receive up to 64 audio channels between Pro Tools HD and other MADI devices up to 2km away! There’s also support for up to 24-bit, 192 kHz sample rate, which delivers maximum audio fidelity.

– HEAT. Designed by audio legend Dave Hill from Cranesong, this stands for Harmonically Enhanced Algorithm Technology and brings the warmth and colour of vintage analogue recording to all your tracks simultaneously, so you don’t have to change plug-in settings on each channel.

For more information on these releases and all things Pro Tools, get in touch with the team on 03332 400 222 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com.