Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

Creative trend: The rise of interactivity and animation

The days of static web pages, emails and designs are behind us, and with interactivity and animation rapidly gaining momentum over the past few years, it’s safe to say immersive content is here to stay. Offering up richer experiences for customers and users, interactive designs are proving much more effective and engaging, and creative businesses have been quick to adopt the trend and make it their own. So what kind of interactive, animated content have they been creating and how could it affect business and generate better marketing results?

Due to the fundamentals of human psychology and visual perception, ensuring the effectiveness of your visual communications is key – that’s why usability and accessibility are so important to any digital or online experience. Linear, easy to use interfaces, intelligent personalisation and specialisation should be your top priorities when it comes to UX (user experience), and in 2018, interactivity and animation have an essential role in all of that.

As a form of interactive storytelling, these mediums have proved successful with customers and are now an integral part of marketing engagement. Reportedly, 88% of online customers are less likely to revisit a website if they’ve had a bad experience, while 75% of judgments about website credibility centre on a site’s aesthetics. To top that off, a massive 94% of first impressions are based on design, showing just how important it is to create engaging content that offers something unique and different, with interactivity being the key hook to keeping customers engaged with whatever your company is offering.

Interactive creativity

We can’t have a conversation about the rise of interactivity and animation without discussing the actual content that’s being created. While some websites opt to have video backgrounds, this can lead to noticeable performance issues. To overcome this problem, web designers have begun employing background animations – known as ‘particle backgrounds’ – instead of video. Created from lightweight javascript, particle backgrounds let animation form a part of a website’s natural background, reducing load times while still engaging customers in a unique, thought-provoking way. Taking this one step further, so-called integrated animations are another way that designers have taken advantage of browser technology improvements, and are particularly useful for keeping a user engaged throughout the duration of their visit to a website. They can be used to liven up a typically dull loading screen, display something fun and attention-grabbing while hovering over a link or image, or react according to a user’s scrolling and navigation patterns.

Mobile-optimised websites are another facet of interactivity that’s taken hold in recent years. In 2016, smartphones and tablets overtook desktop to become the population’s browsing device of choice. Desktop’s portion of browsing traffic dwindled to 48.7%, while mobile web browsing’s share of the action had risen consistently since 2009. That meant that developers, marketers and eCommerce giants had to respond accordingly – they started to create sites that were just as easy to navigate on mobile as they were on desktop, if not easier. Featuring stripped back, minimalist designs, mobile-friendly sites are seen as nigh-on essential these days, making it even easier for customers to interact with their favourite brands online while engaging with products and content. Likewise, responsive design has even helped revolutionise desktop browsing. These days, websites typically respond to the size of the window they’re being viewed in, and react and resize depending on how the user manipulates them. In the coming years, designers will have to accommodate newer mediums such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), which demand deeper interactivity for users.

But what do actual creatives think to these new interactivity standards and the inclusion of animation in design? We asked our resident Web Designer, Jamie, for his thoughts – “With mobile phones and tablets becoming today’s primary devices for browsing, I think responsiveness is key to giving equal experience to a user, regardless of screen size. And if you want to capture a user’s attention, animation and interactivity are great tools that draw on the curiosity and playfulness of a person’s mind.” Our Graphic Designer, Videographer and Animator, Simon, added “The presence of motion graphics on a web page or email immediately draws a user’s attention and provides an extra level of engagement. Animated GIFs or longer animated videos embedded in the page can also help get an idea across more clearly than a still illustration or icon in some situations.”

How can interactive designs and animation benefit business?

A number of industry marketing studies suggest that brands which utilise animation and interactivity (and have paid particular attention to UX design in general) will see the results. According to one study, one in three people will abandon a purchase if they can’t find the correct information, suggesting an interactive site that responds to a user’s needs and displays information more clearly would retain their custom. Similarly, visit-to-lead conversions have shown to be as much as 400% higher on websites with a better UX design, while a more user-friendly UI (user interface) has raised conversion rates by 200% in some cases. It’s also worth noting that 97% of business customers consider usability to be the most essential component of mobile apps, something that interactivity and strategically placed animation could help companies take advantage of.

If you’re more concerned with email design, polls have routinely ranked interactive emails as the number one email marketing trend. Interactive emails can consist of a news story feed, polls, navigation bars and tabs, feedback functionality and more. In 2015, Ticketmaster trialled an interactive email containing a poll. It let recipients vote for the best music video of the year, best female video, best male video and best rock video, all without clicking away from the email – and it paid off! On top of better than average click-through and engagement rates, the email received 182% more opens than standard email communications. Some companies have even gone so far as to include the ability to place orders within an email, and while few have perfected it, it’s led to an uptick in sales within these communications.

Want to get started?

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help you bring animation and interactive design in-house. A designer’s first port of call should always be Mac, which is ideal for any creative looking to immerse themselves in animation. Built with enough processing and graphical power to handle intensive animation generation, Apple hardware is perfectly suited to the requirements of modern creative workflows. If you want the best of the best, the brand new iMac Pro is fully equipped to take on 3D animation, which’ll really put you ahead of the competition!

Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes everything you could need to get started (as well as tutorials to lend a hand along the way), is essential if you want to achieve the industry-standard and remain competitive. Popular Adobe apps for animation include After Effects, Animate, Illustrator, Photoshop and new Character Animator. Simon thinks highly of Creative Cloud’s powerful tools, too – “Motion graphics are increasingly simple to produce within Adobe Creative Cloud. The timeline window in Photoshop is great for compiling short sequences, while After Effects has every tool you could ever need to produce longer, more complex animations.” You can find out more about Creative Cloud here, including features, applications, benefits for your studio, and price plans.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 400 888 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

We pit our senior designer against herself in a series of productivity challenges

We pit our senior designer against herself in a series of productivity challenges

Across a series of productivity challenges featuring Apple, Wacom and Adobe, it’s Xenia versus Xenia in an intergalactic battle to find out which tools make our senior designer more efficient in a creative environment. They may not be quite as scientific as a benchmark test, but they’re marginally better soundtracked.

Round one: Wacom Intuos Pro v keyboard and mouse

Can a Wacom tablet help you stay more productive? Find out whether an Intuos Pro or a keyboard and mouse can make you 150% more productive (and a lot less stressed).

 

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Round two: Apple MacBook Pro with TouchBar v regular MacBook Pro

Could the addition of the TouchBar really save you 94 hours in a year? Xenia blasts off in this challenge to see just how much of a boon for productivity the TouchBar on the Apple MacBook Pro is…

 

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Round three: Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries v Finder

Xenia faces off against herself for a final time to see just how productive Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries can make you – spoiler alert, it works out as saving you 1/5 of your design time!

 

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For more information on the best design technology to help you stay creative, get in touch with the sales team on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or visit Jigsaw24.com/design.

 

A look back at the last quarter century of creative technology

A look back at the last quarter century of creative technology

We’re celebrating our 25th year providing products that help everyone from studio managers to graphic designers to video producers stay productive and creative. As part of the festivities, we’re going retro and taking the plunge into a nostalgia pool filled with Zip drives, beige Power Macs, primitive social networks, old school design apps and more! 

Creation and innovation can be a tough business, but it’s worth it. A quarter century of hard work has led to countless milestone moments and tech developments. See for yourself how far we’ve come…

1992

– Roger Whittle founds Jigsaw24. The colour orange is never the same again.

– Animation gains a new dimension as classic horror game Alone in the Dark introduces us all to the joys of 3D polygon character animation, traumatising at least one member of the team so badly that they give up gaming forever.

Alone_in_the_dark_435_wide

– Neil Papworth wishes Richard Jarvis “Merry Christmas” in the first ever SMS message.

1993

– The PDF is born (this may well be the least cool entry on the list, but the ‘compare document’ feature in the latest version of Acrobat DC is a lifesaver, and the new editing toolkit is properly brilliant).

– The internet is born. Cats everywhere shudder but don’t know why…

– NVIDIA is founded; gamers swear by their high-powered GPUs to this day.

1994

– American telecoms company AT&T run the first ever internet ad banner campaign. A single bead of sweat trickles down the forehead of every person working in the print business.

– Photoshop 3.0 is released and introduces the world to layers.

– Iomega’s Zip drive is released.

ZIP_Drive_100_

– Apple launch their ‘Serious Business Computer’ ad, which we strongly urge you to watch:

1995

– JavaScript is released. Jamie, our Web Designer, says “JavaScript is crucial to web and non-web projects and it’s hard to imagine working without it. But the range of libraries can be baffling, so I prefer React and Angular.”

– Sony releases the first PlayStation, beginning an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in children.

playstation_1995_435_wide

– Coca-Cola’s iconic Christmas truck advert airs for the first time. All together now: “Holidays are coming, holidays are coming…”

1996

– The first CSS specification is published.

1997

– Apple encourage us to Think Different for the first time; science responds by cloning Dolly the sheep.

– IBM’s Deep Blue defeats chess champ Garry Kasparov. We know we’re not an IBM outfit, but credit where it’s due.

– Google domain name is registered. We could not have compiled this list without it, so feel compelled to include it.

original_google_homepage

1998

– Wacom release the first Intuos tablet. There is much rejoicing. Graphic Designer Liana says “I remember getting my first job and being amazed by Wacom. I’d spent all of my time at uni huddled over an 11” MacBook, trying to do everything on the Touchpad, which obviously has nothing on a nice big Wacom.”

– First ever Google Doodle. Bit rubbish, to be honest.

– HDTV is introduced. Everyone becomes picture quality snobs.

1999

– The mighty Nikon D1 becomes the first DSLR to challenge the market supremacy of film cameras.

– Budweiser asks “Wassup?”

2000

– Post-apocalyptic horrors promised during the Y2K Panic fail to materialise.

– Everyone buys a Nokia 3310.

– Sony launches PlayStation 2, the best-selling video game console ever.

2001

– Apple launch iTunes and OS X, ushering us into the modern era of Mac.

mac_osx_cheetah

– Microsoft remove that Paperclip thing from Office. It is not missed.

– Wikipedia is launched. Students everywhere are elated, and nobody wins an internet debate ever again.

2002

– InDesign becomes the first ever Mac-native desktop publishing tool.

– Gartner calculate that one billion personal computers have been sold since their arrival in the 70s.

2003

– The first ever Creative Suite is released, including the all-new Premiere Pro.

– The Dalsa Origin becomes the first commercially available 4K camera.

dalsa_origin_crop

– Skype is launched, making video conferencing several thousand times easier.

2004

– Facebook beings its journey to world domination. People Poke each other.

– MySpace arrives, and manages to trick a generation of teenagers into learning HTML by letting you customise your profile.

myspace_home_2004

– Motorola release the Razr V3 flip phone. It’s really thin.

2005

– Adobe launch Creative Suite 2, featuring Smart Objects.

– The first YouTube video is released. Elephants’ trunks are really cool.

– Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle becomes the first film released on Blu-ray.

2006

– The .gif standard becomes freely available, making written language obsolete and neatly dividing the world into gifsayers and jifsayers.

– Jack Dorsey sends the first ever tweet (and is too edgy for vowels):

2007

– iPhone arrives, and promptly shifts 1.4 million units in its first year.

Apple_iPhone_1st_Gen

– CS3 arrives, meaning you can finally use Photoshop on a modern Mac without having to go through Rosetta.

– Cadbury rehabilitate Phil Collins’ image with their classic drumming gorilla ad, which none of us can believe is really ten years old.

2008

– Nikon’s D90 is the first DSLR to introduce video recording.

nikon_d90_1

– Artist Shepard Fairey creates the iconic Barack Obama ‘Hope’ poster.

2009

– James Cameron’s Avatar becomes the highest-grossing film of all time.

– Microsoft launches Windows 7, sealing the fate of Vista.

2010

– iPad is released.

– The first commercially available jet pack is launched.

2011

– Adobe introduce Content-Aware tools.

– Wacom introduce the Cintiq 24HD. It weighs as much as a not-so-small child, but we all want one anyway.

– The number of Apple devices sold in this one year is larger than the total number of Macs sold ever. We imagine a lot of people spent this year frantically working out how to make their website responsive.

– Steve Jobs passes away aged 56.

steve_jobs_ipad

2012

– The final boxed version of Creative Suite, CS6, is released, which we mention only because our marketing team won a prize for their campaign and have been insufferable ever since.

– Jony Ive gets a knighthood; rumour has it he commented witheringly on the maximalist design of the medal.

– The Hobbit is the first movie filmed at 48 fps. Viewers suffer eyestrain.

– The world doesn’t end. In your face, Mayans.

2013

– Kenneth Grange scores a knighthood, joining Ive as Britain’s most decorated designer.

– Adobe launch Creative Cloud.

creative_cloud_icon_435px

– Film Gravity uses the most complex lighting setup in film history, using a custom-built light box with 1.8 million high-powered LEDs to film zero-gravity footage.

2014

– YouTube announce that they receive 100 hours of new video content per minute.

2015

– Windows 10 is launched, if you’re into that sort of thing.

2016

– Mobile browsing overtakes desktop for the first time.

– Harambe the gorilla dies and is memorialised forever in meme form.

2017

– Carter Wilkinson makes a plea to Wendy’s for a year’s worth of free chicken nuggets. It becomes the most retweeted tweet of all time, currently standing at over 3.5 million.

– Twitter shut down online video service Vine. At least it lasted longer than its videos.

– Jigsaw24 turn 25; immediately has crisis about logo.

If you’d like to find out more about about contemporary creative kit, give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Win a Wacom Intuos Pro by sharing productivity tips and pics

Win a Wacom Intuos Pro by sharing productivity tips and pics

Calling all design teams and creative studios! Would you like to win a Wacom Intuos Pro? Just share your best creativity or productivity tip with us by emailing comment@Jigsaw24.com or getting in touch on social media to be in with a chance of winning our design team’s graphics tablet of choice. 

To celebrate our 25th birthday this year, we’re looking back at the last quarter century of creative work, and where it’s heading. We want to hear from you guys about your own creative workflow and how you stay as productive as possible.

How to enter

For your chance to get your hands on a free Wacom Intuos Pro, let us know your top creativity and productivity tips with us on Twitter and Facebook with hashtag #Y25Wacom, or email comment@Jigsaw24.com, or send a picture of the creative team working away that captures what a day in the life of your studio looks like. Your tips could include anything from advice on the tech you use to stay productive (your most used Wacom, Adobe or Apple shortcuts, for example), to an insight into how your team stays creative – we want to see how your team work, and the more interesting the better, so feel free to get creative!

The competition ends on Friday 30th June, so get thinking and snapping, and get your entries in sharpish if you want to be in with a chance of winning!

Terms and conditions

– The prize is 1x Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet Medium (2017). There is one tablet available to be won.

– The competition closes at 11.59pm on Friday 30th June 2017. Any entries received after the closing date will unfortunately not be considered.

– The competition winner will be chosen by our judging panel on Monday 3rd July 2017.

– The winner will be informed via the platform through which they entered (Twitter or Facebook) on that day, and delivery of prize will be arranged.

– By submitting your tip and photo, you agree to Jigsaw24 possibly using your entry (including text, photo, entrant name and company name) in future marketing, including online, print, email and social media collateral.

– Entrants must be based in the United Kingdom.

– The competition is not open to any employee of Jigsaw24 (nice try though, guys…).

So best of luck, everyone, we’re looking forward to seeing your best tips and pics!

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

Creative game-changers: What our designers can’t live without

We’ve been doing this for 25 years, and there’s no one out there who gets creative workflows the way we do. And, in the past quarter of a century, there’s been a huge amount of technological advancement. So we caught up with our design team on the game changers they’ve seen in the creative industry, and how they couldn’t do their jobs without them…

Xenia, Graphic Designer

“The Wacom Intuos Pro has changed my life. It makes everything so much easier and is always invaluable throughout all stages of a project – I’d never go back! From quickly drawing out ideas in Illustrator, to easily zooming in or rotating an image, to using the Expresskeys customised with my most-used Creative Cloud shortcuts, I’ve found the Intuos Pro to be an essential piece of tech. And with the wireless kit, working on the go is as easy as moving to another room – I just keep the adaptor plugged into my MacBook ready to go.”

Jamie Shaw, Web Designer

“Back in the day, I remember trying to get PC and Mac to work together was very laborious. Now saving and opening things on both and passing work between them is seamless, and saves so much time! Where getting Windows and macOS to work with each other used to be a headache, everything is much easier now that Macs support SMB, and I’m excited for APFS.” (If you’re not quite as prepared as Jamie, we can run through where you are with your kit and where there’s room for improvement to increase your overall productivity – ask us about our Strategy & Discovery Sessions for more details).

Thierry, Graphic Designer

“A biggie for me is having a notebook and tablet, and the mobility that brings for working both in the office and at home. For example if I’m working away from my desk, I can mock up a more refined document using Adobe Comp on iPad Pro as easily as sketching on paper. And when I move back to my desktop, I can seamlessly pick up exactly where I left off without the hassle of emailing files across or swapping software. Very quickly, I’ve got a clear idea of how things are looking and a design that can be presented for approval.”

Liana, Graphic Designer

Creative Cloud is great because I can work from home, and have files readily available rather than getting people to email them across. I’m able to cut out a lot of steps in the image searching process, so I can spend more time designing and less time trawling the web. Being able to search and share images, styles and assets among different applications and computers, as well as with other team members, has really impacted my productivity.”

Simon, Graphic Designer

“On a day to day basis, I often find myself swapping between print and web work. A colour calibrated display, such as the Eizo ColorEdge series, is great for this because at the click of a button I can change the colour mode needed for the current project I’m working on. I know the finished product will look how I want straight away instead of battling unwanted hues by trial and error. I can be confident that colours on screen will reflect the end product, and get more out of my day by not having to waste time on avoidable colour edits. And not only does the colour and tone of imagery look better when working on it, but it translates to the screens of other devices much better as well.”

Want to find out more about being more productive? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

Weekly design inspiration: Staying creative, Great British Bake Off and typewriters

Weekly design inspiration: Staying creative, Great British Bake Off and typewriters

Feeling blue without your weekly dose of design inspiration? Well, we don’t want to disappoint. This time there are colourful cows, ways to use the old typewriter lurking in your cupboard, more cake and a couple of animations that will have you drinking coffee by the bucket-load.

Oh, and one more thing…pinch, punch, first of the month. 

29 ways to stay creative

Suffering a momentary lapse in creative flair? We have the answer! Well, the guys at @tofu_design do with this handy little video that includes 29 different ways to get the creative juices flowing. I can’t say I agree with all of them – singing in the shower, for example, is more likely to get me thumped than a design award – but that said, there are some nice bits of advice in there. I, for one, will be using this as an excuse to throw away everything on my desk as soon as I’ve finished writing this article.

29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE from TO-FU on Vimeo.

Can you name a font beginning with every letter?

Another video here. This one is from the multidisciplinary design studio, N9VE, who have have created an animation that runs through 26 of their favourite fonts. The video is called ‘The Alphabet’ and each character featured is the initial letter of a font name – definitely one for all typography fans!

The Alphabet from n9ve on Vimeo.

Can’t wait for Great British Bake Off 2014?

We’re still in denial that this year’s series of GBBO has ended – we event went as far as locking Liz and Liana in the kitchen and telling them they couldn’t return to their desk until they’d produced a perfect selection of petit fours and a croquembouche. They failed, but we have come across this look at the work of Tom Hovey, Bake Off’s resident illustrator, who puts together the drawings you see of the proposed bakes each week. Take a look at his website for more examples of his work.

Tom Hovey's work on Great British Bake Off

Visit Tom Hovey’s website for examples of his work.

Swap your Mac for a typewriter

OK, so we’re never going to actually give you that advice. However, these incredible pieces of work by Keira Rathbone show that sometimes a bit of inspiration can go a long way. She uses an old typewriter to print artwork entirely composed of numbers, letters and symbols. Check out the example below, but her website is well worth a visit – if only to see what happens when you start the day with the intention of creating a typed version of Grace Jones.

Keira Rathebone Typewriter artist

Visit Keira Rathbone’s site here for her portfolio.

Art painted on cows

You can’t get more to the point than that. If you’re a bovine enthusiast this one’s definitely for you, because body paint artist Emma Hack has taken to the fields with her paint brush to design some fetching new coats for these cows in South Australia. Obviously, our favourite is the jigsaw piece – very this season.

Cow body art

Visit toxel.com for more examples of Emma’s work.

Keep an eye out next Friday for more inspiration from our design team. In the meantime, head on over to the Jigsaw24 shop to take a look at great deals and prices on design and publishing essentials. Found something you think should have made it into the list? Pop it in the comments box below.

Jigsaw24's design and publishing shop

How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School

How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School

As an Apple Regional Training Centre, Leamore Primary School in Walsall are always trying new ways to get the most from their technology. Recently, they decided on a project to create a band using their iPad deployment that would involve the whole of Year 5 and get them really engaged with digital music alongside traditional instruments. Here, deputy head teacher Michelle Hill explains what they were aiming to do, and how they went about it…

Why did you originally decide to start the iPad Band project?

The children of Leamore Primary School are well known for their musical ability. We were keen to utilise the children’s musical knowledge and ability, whilst also incorporating our innovative approach to technology.

What were your goals?

Our goal was simple. We wanted the whole of our Year 5 class (who had at that point been learning the violin the longest) to participate in an iPad band using a mixture of iPad, digital instruments and a small selection of traditional percussion instruments. Our learning outcome was that all children would be able to musically contribute to a soundtrack.

How long did it take to plan and rehearse?

We knew we were going to be working with a fantastic bunch
of children, so we allocated two full days to learn and rehearse a soundtrack. The children exceeded our expectations and within these two days they were able to learn three complete soundtracks as a class and rehearse them to perfection.

What hardware and apps did you use?

As well as 30 new iPad devices, we invested in an Allen and Heath ZED16FX 36 Channel USB Mixer, five Alesis IO docks and iRig adaptors for connecting the microphones, guitars and MIDI keyboards. We also used Apple TV to demonstrate how to play various notes on specific instruments in GarageBand on iPad. Apple TV was brilliant for individual and small groups of children to play back their specific parts of the soundtrack and contributed to tighter quality assurance of the band overall.

How did pupils find making music with iPad?

In terms of engagement and enjoyment, the iPad Band project will be something that the children remember for the rest of their lives! The project made an impact on a number of levels, from Daniel – who found a natural talent for drumming – to other children who realised that they could play other instruments besides the violin. Our original learning outcomes were smashed. The iPad is more about the music itself – the playing and the composing rather than the ability to play the instrument correctly. It’s a different way of looking at and approaching music. So children can use the iPad to play complicated soundtracks without needing to invest time in the technique of plucking strings, for example!

Do you have any tips for other teachers?

Just go for it! We spent a lot of time talking the project through and invested in a substantial amount of kit, but it is possible to set up
a basic iPad band without these aspects. Apple TV is fantastic for teaching and demonstrating music-making on the iPad, but it is also brilliant to use during a live performance.

What else are you planning to use iPad for in future?

The investment that we made into iPad music technology has meant that our original Year 5 iPad Band and all subsequent iPad Bands will have the opportunity to go ‘on tour’, so any live performances will not just be a one-off wonder. We’re also planning to work collaboratively with the Royal College of Music to offer the equivalent of a GCSE in iPad music-making from September. We have lots of other projects in the pipeline: from experimenting with one-to-one iPad in a classroom to investigating the possibility of paperless learning, the use of iPad with SEN children, and specific projects in all areas of the curriculum.

About Leamore…

Leamore Primary School, Walsall, is an official Apple Regional Training Centre which focuses on teaching with creative ICT (they won an NAACE Impact Award for it recently). They regularly run iPad training events for teachers, and you can see more of their projects in action at www.YouTube.com/LeamorePrimarySchool. To find out more about how to become an Apple Regional Training Centre yourself, get in touch with us on the details at the bottom.

Have a go yourself! Our six step guide to starting your own iPad band

Fancy taking a leaf out of Michelle’s book? Starting an iPad band is easy, and a great way to engage learners and get them working together with music technology, even for those with no previous skills. Here’s how:

1. Get started

First of all, you need your iPad devices. The iPad band is a collaborative project, and you can scale it up to include a whole class of students (we’ve worked with class sizes of 25-30 before with great results). You’ll also need a mixer to control the audio output of all the devices with enough channels to support them – 32 is enough.

2. Fire up GarageBand

Apple’s GarageBand app (£2.99 from the App Store) really is the best app for music-making at this level, with a huge base of ready-made loops and virtual instruments including keyboards, guitars and drums.

3. Get pupils in time

Start students off by making sure pupils are in rhythm, especially those with lower musical ability. The Smart Guitar instrument in GarageBand lets the learner simply tap the chord symbol to strum a chord in time, like striking a triangle, but far more engaging.

4. Develop musical skills further

The great thing about GarageBand is that it allows each learner to learn at their own pace and develop their skills. Once pupils are comfortable with timing, you can start to look at chord sequences, structure and song writing, then develop roles for learners based on ability, and incorporate ideas from students too.

5. Add some real instruments

For anyone who’s had peripatetic music lessons, you could think about adding some physical instruments. Using adaptors like the Alesis IO dock, and iRig and iMic, you can connect guitars and microphones directly through the iPad’s headphone jack, and an additional Camera Connector kit lets you hook up a MIDI keyboard via USB.

6. Plan the pay-off

To complete the project, and see how well pupils have achieved the original learning outcomes, plan a one-off performance. This will also help the project create a bit of buzz around the school, governors and parents. You can even get more of the school involved by adding some backing singers, dance sections and percussion like djembes and glockenspiels to supplement the digital instruments.

Want to know more about starting a band with iPad? Get in touch on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com.