Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

Apple Teacher #4: Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers

In our latest look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides, and how they can be used to upskill staff to help plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we get to GarageBand and Numbers. Here I explain how you can use them in ways you may not have expected…

GarageBand Starter Guide

Those of you who are already familiar with the Apple environment will know that GarageBand is an amazing app for easily creating great quality music in the classroom. But who would have thought that it can also be used in a way that helps literacy? The GarageBand for iPad and GarageBand for Mac Starter Guides focus on creating a lesson that brings a poem to life by learning how to use the Live Loops feature of GarageBand to add layered loops of music. This approach gets teachers and students to stray away from traditional learning and start to think differently.

Even if students cannot play an instrument, they can join in with a jamming session by choosing and playing a live loop. There’s plenty of inspiration to give food for thought and promote out of the box thinking for iPad and Mac in lessons, including ideas around creating soundscapes and radio shows, and a times table song.

Numbers Starter Guide

Numbers is Apple’s spreadsheet app, but it’s not all just about formulae and graphs. In the Numbers for iPad and Numbers for Mac Starter Guides, as with the Pages guide we looked at before, you build a full science report looking at butterflies. The guide touches on Challenge Based-Learning with iPad and Mac, and goes step by step into how students can build a real life science report, covering the project overview, formulae and budgeting for creating a garden to attract butterflies.

You’ll learn how to create tables, formulae and interactive graphs (not as scary as they sound!) that change with a tap of the screen or trackpad. Not only do they look great, they also aid students when they are analysing data, and comparing data sets becomes more visual. In the ‘Going further’ section, there are some great ideas in and around how you can use Numbers for assessment.

Regional Training Centres (RTC)

Most Regional Training Centres have a social media presence and tweet about upcoming Apple Teacher Workshops, so it’s a good idea to get on Twitter and follow your local RTCs (and @Jigsaw24Edu) who will quite often advertise their upcoming courses that are free to attend.  Having that extra bit of help can come in handy when learning how to use new apps.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

By now, your staff will know their way around iPad and be familiar with seven different Apple apps. So it could be time to think about taking training to the next level. Ask us about our mastery training courses where we look at ways of integrating iPad and Mac into your day to day teaching.

A good one to think about would be iPad in the Curriculum. In this course, our Apple Education Trainers use their expertise to work with staff to effectively plan iPad and Mac into schemes of work.  This can be delivered as a whole staff training session or with smaller groups of teachers. Another course you could think about is Making Music with Mac, where our trainers will go in-depth with GarageBand to help create amazing music lessons.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Producing exciting lessons with Keynote and iMovie’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Lesson guide: Make music on a Mac

Lesson guide: Make music on a Mac

Making music on a Mac has never been easier. Apple’s tools have long been the industry benchmark and, now more powerful than ever, they provide access to composition and recording tools for all ages and abilities. So now your students can create high quality music just like the professionals with no barrier to their imagination or ambition.

If you’d like to teach your pupils how to create top-quality tunes on a Mac (with a little help from GarageBand, Logic Pro X and the right kit), take a look at our step by step lesson plan below that covers everything you need to know…

Getting started

You can start composing music on a Mac in a variety of ways, and Apple’s tools provide a wide range of starting points for classroom music making.

Both GarageBand and Logic Pro X come with a huge amount of pre-recorded content in the form of Apple Loops, instrumental sounds and even a virtual drummer. Loops offers a simple way to get started – piece together a backing track and construct a solid rhythmic foundation.

With Drummer, you have a versatile virtual session drummer at your fingertips that allows you to create realistic grooves and covers a wide range of styles from rock to EDM. Users can get an incredibly realistic result by simply choosing drum kits and edit sounds, and using preloaded recordings of some of the world’s top session players.

Some students may want to get started right away by plugging in a microphone or guitar and recording their ideas that way. Not a problem! Using a suitable audio interface (see below for our expert kit recommendations) you can record as many tracks as you need, whether you are capturing that initial idea, adding a top line to a backing track, or adding backing vocals or a guitar solo to a larger production.

Bigger audio interfaces support multiple inputs and outputs, so with enough microphones it’s easy to set up and record instruments like drums, or to make multi-mic live recordings of the school band or orchestra.

Our audio interface picks:

Audient ID4 – For the price point and scroll control.

Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 – For something with dual headphone outputs (useful for classrooms with two students per workstation).

You might need to start thinking about creating space for live audio capture and monitoring, but in the meantime, we’re happy to advise on how you can make the best of your current space based on what you want to achieve.

Our picks for live audio capture and monitoring:

Auralex Roominators D36 is our best selling acoustic treatment kit to help with non-ideal rooms. It’s perfect for spot treatment, and addresses the acoustic and aesthetic needs of small project studios, as well as the most demanding professional mix/mastering environments.

Aston Microphones Halo Reflection Filter is ideal for improving microphone recordings in non-ideal rooms.

Kinsman Dynamic Handheld Microphone is our best value, top quality mic that’ll sound great wherever you use it.

Developing the melody and adding parts

Both GarageBand and Logic Pro X have a built-in keyboard but it’s really simple to add a MIDI keyboard controller just by plugging it in.

Our keyboard picks:

M-Audio Keystation 49 II – Our most popular basic USB MIDI controller keyboard for schools.

M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV – A much more advanced 49-key controller keyboard with volume sliders and trigger pads.

GarageBand and Logic Pro X provide huge libraries of instrumental sounds that can be tweaked (a technical term) to individualise the sound if necessary.

Logic Pro X contains a much larger sound library, as well as a complete range of powerful synthesisers and samplers that allow for advanced sound design and synthesis techniques.

Edit and mix

They say it’s all in the mix, and both GarageBand and Logic Pro X provide the tools you need to edit and mix recordings for professional, high quality results. You can fix rhythm and pitch issues with tools like Flex Time and Pitch, take care of balance and blend, and finesse your sounds with audio effect plug-ins such as compression, visual EQ and pitch correction. Logic Pro X offers hundreds of inputs, bus and auxiliary channels, track and region-based automation, and multichannel patches for a quick set up that’s ready to go from first use and can deliver highly detailed, industry-standard results.

Share your sounds!

Apple makes sharing tracks between classmates, teachers and the world a total breeze. Whether you’re using Airdrop to quickly share a whole project with a partner or the classroom, or exporting the finished track direct to SoundCloud or Apple Music for a wider audience, Apple’s apps make sharing and uploading as straightforward as possible.

Development, progression and collaboration

Apple’s tools make music creation on a Mac accessible for students of all abilities. We’d recommend starting in GarageBand, then moving to Logic Pro X when students are ready to take their composition, recording and mixing to the next level. And don’t worry, both applications help make the transition as easy as possible. GarageBand projects can open right into Logic Pro X, and users are greeted by a familiar interface. Once ready, you can turn on Logic Pro X’s advanced tools view to access the entire breadth of the software’s music making functionality, but these features will remain hidden until activated to prevent newcomers being overwhelmed by more complex mixing utilities.

You can even work in GarageBand on an iPad when you are roughing out your mixes, then transfer them straight into GarageBand or Logic Pro X on the Mac and carry straight on where you left off.

For schools with both Mac and iPad, an exciting new Share option in Logic Pro X lets students upload a GarageBand-compatible version of a project to iCloud. They can then contribute tracks to this project using GarageBand on an iPad or even their iPhone, which will appear in the original Logic Pro X project the next time they open it on Mac.

Want to find out more about making music on a Mac? Drop us an email at or call 03332 409 290. For everything else, including the latest news, events and offers, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or ‘like’ us on Facebook.


How to distribute Apple’s free iLife and iWork apps via VPP

How to distribute Apple’s free iLife and iWork apps via VPP

As you may have seen last year, Apple have now made their full range of iLife and iWork apps available for free, meaning you can now get the likes of Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie and iPhoto for nothing! But how do you download and distribute those apps through Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (VPP)? 

The free apps are available for free on the App Store to all VPP customers with qualifying iOS 7 compatible devices activated or purchased on or after September (that is, more recent iPad, iPhone or iPod touch devices). All you need to do to request content codes for your qualifying devices is fill in the form at the VPP Contact Support page, and they’ll sort you out. Then you can distribute your free apps using Apple Configurator or your mobile device management (MDM) solution.

Just follow these few steps from Apple:

(UPDATE 10/03/14: We just wanted to point out that sending the form by email is just the first step. It raises a support ticket (Apple quote up to five days for a response, but it’s usually quicker). The email dialogue (with serial numbers etc) would then take place via the support ticket/email.)

“1. [Email] a copy of your original sales receipt with the number of eligible devices clearly marked. If the serial numbers are not listed, please include them as well.

2. In five to seven business days, after we verify your information, we’ll send you a password protected file containing your content codes. We’ll send you a separate email shortly after with your password to open the codes file.

3. You can use the iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers codes using Apple Configurator or another third party Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. Users can also redeem the codes individually using their Apple IDs.”

If you need any more information on redeeming codes, take a look at our article VPP explained: Educational discounts on iPad apps, or get in touch on the details below.

Want to know more about Apple’s iWork, iLife, and Macs and iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Award-winning radio production at English Martyrs School

Paul Allen, head of KS2 at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School recently added a radio production suite which has engaged students, improved speaking and listening, and even bagged them a recent Sony Radio award. Head of KS2 Paul Allen told us why he chose the Apple Mac, iPad and GarageBand setup, and how the training from our Apple Professional Development expert Paul Ford helped get staff up to speed.

What were your main goals for the radio lessons?

“The radio was to promote oracy skills. We noticed that as a school we were having more children arrive not able to speak properly, and it was just there to help us promote standard English. We thought that was a creative way of doing it, so that they actually had an end product at the end of the process.”

What setup are you using?

“The first time that we [recorded a radio show], it was all based on the Mac and a lot of children sitting round a microphone, but following Paul’s training we were a bit more clued up and able to go and use GarageBand on the iPad devices, and the pupils went out and recorded the show themselves and then brought it back [to edit with our help].”

How have pupils found using the setup?

“The radio has impacted on children’s speaking and listening, it’s impacted on their writing, it’s also impacted on social skills and confidence as well, because some of the children we targeted the project at were the children who were wary of speaking in front of others, and it’s interesting to see how they’ve developed in confidence.”

Have staff found it easy to pick up?

“Paul ran a session for all the staff, he showed us how to do simple podcasts, he then showed us how to make music as well. Because all staff now have a bit more confidence in using [the Mac and iPad devices] themselves, the children are better, so we feel we’re able to roll them out across the whole school.”

You recently won a Sony Radio award for a piece the school submitted too…?

“They said it was a very entertaining piece, and that’s why we won […] There were lots of stories and different things from across the school. In about May time about three members of staff actually got invited to the actual Sony Radio Awards ceremony in London, and the group of children who produced that particular show, are going for a day at BBC Radio in London to see how it all works.”

How was working with Jigsaw24 and Paul?

“Paul was really friendly, the staff have enjoyed working with him. He’s obviously really passionate about it, and believes that iPad can be used to promote teaching and learning. Whenever he’s come, he’s always worked with a small group of children and he’s showed them how to do something, so we’ve almost got some experts among the children who can then share it with the other children as well, so that approach has worked really well for us.”

– You can find out more about Apple’s GarageBand in our review here. If you like the sound of radio production using iPad, check out our article on iPad music-making, How to start an iPad band: Leamore Primary School.

Want to know more about our radio production and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333, email, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.


Education app of the week: GarageBand for iPad

Education app of the week: GarageBand for iPad

iPad’s multitouch gestures make it perfect for emulating musical instruments, which is probably why there are so many virtual instrument apps out there. Before you splash out on any old app though, I would really recommend this week’s favourite – Apple’s own GarageBand app – which not only includes loads of instruments, loops and effects for introducing students to instruments, but also the ability to record, add effects and even let students jam together. 

What is GarageBand for iPad?

I’ll just start by saying, GarageBand for iPad is a completely different beast from the desktop version of GarageBand you get in iLife. It isn’t simply a slimmed-down mobile version, it’s a fully featured app for making, recording and processing music directly on an iPad. You get a selection of playable instruments, with keys (pianos, organs and synths) and drums (normal live drums and electronic drum machines), a music processing app with a wealth of effects to add to instruments, automated Smart Instruments so even non-musicians can quickly create a backing track, and the all-important Record function, which lets students create multi-track compositions for sharing and assessment. And it only costs £2.99!

How can it benefit the classroom?

GarageBand is an ideal way for students to practise playing when space and resources are limited – for example, if you only have one drum kit, students can still get the benefits of using virtual drums on iPad. It’s also a fantastic introduction to a number of instruments for students who aren’t natural musicians. Using the Smart Instruments, they can simply tap a chord and GarageBand will automatically play a pattern based on the selected chord. Once you start recording compositions, GarageBand really comes into its own, though. Using the ‘transport’ buttons at the top of the screen, students can quickly start recording tracks (from the virtual instruments, iPad’s built-in microphone or an external mic like the IK iRig).

The Arpeggiator feature of the synthesiser instrument automatically creates arpeggios, which is great for teaching the basics of musical structure and scales. You also get a sampler, so you can record any classroom instrument (like a recorder), then use just one note to create a whole tune on the keyboard, as well as loads of great-sounding instrument loops and effects to add to each track.

When students have created their multi-track composition, they can share it straight to Facebook , YouTube, iTunes, email, iMovie for adding video or, most impressively, upload it straight to SoundCloud. This online service lets students post up their music for assessment, with the teacher being able to click the link to the SoundCloud page and make comments on each part of the track. GarageBand for iPad also syncs up nicely with the Mac version, so if any students wanted to take it a bit further, they could import their composition into the desktop GarageBand for more complex editing.

What’s the best feature?

Jam Session is by far the best feature of GarageBand for iPad. This relatively new update to the app lets up to four students connect their iPad devices over Bluetooth, so they can record together at the same time, ticking off those group work boxes in the curriculum. Tapping the little musical note symbol at the top makes GarageBand automatically search for and connect to other users nearby to add to your band. Each is given their own track for drums, guitar, keys etc, then everything is recorded onto the band leader’s (the student or teacher who set up the session) iPad, with everyone able to listen to everyone else’s parts on headphones the whole time.

Where can I get it?

You can download Apple GarageBand from the App Store or iTunes, for £2.99. We reckon that’s already a bit of a bargain considering all the instruments and features included, but Apple have also added it to their Volume Purchase Programme, so if you buy more than 20 copies for education, you can get it for £1.49 per app!

Want to find out more about great education apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Give the team a call on 03332 409 333 or email 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.