≡ Menu

Listening Activity: SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow

SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow slow

In preparation for year two with 1:1 iPads and a SMARTBoard, improving the workflow is uppermost in my mind. Integrating technology seamlessly is my goal.

Today, I had an ah-ha moment and discovered a way to save about 7-8 minutes delivering content to my students for this listening activity: SMARTboard + iPads. It makes perfect sense. I should have known it already. But in my little, lonely island office, when the light bulb comes on, it’s worth celebrating. See what you think about this workflow:

I created a very simple high/ low interactive activity for the SMARTBoard. I wanted students to touch a button, listen to the sounds, and notate the correct pattern on the SMARTBoard. I also wanted students in my 1:1 iPad class to have the same image on their iPads so they could individually respond during this activity. The only way I knew to do that last year was to create a QR code linked to the image. Plus, I  wanted the students to have multiple pages of the image for the activity and extension assignment. AND, I wanted this experience to be the supporting activity, taking only half of the lesson time. Sounds simple!… but delivering the content ended up taking way too long…. turning the 15 minute assessment into a 30 minute mess adventure. I mean, it was okay for the first year, but there had to be a better way! Since we didn’t and still don’t have the SMARTNotebook app,  🙁  I needed a SMARTBoard + iPad workflow solution.

Here is what the first year 1:1 iPad workflow looked like for this activity:


SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow old

 Here is my new and improved workflow plan for year 2:

SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow new


“Explain Everything” is such an incredible app for my students to use to demonstrate understanding. If, in my 30 minute class time, I can pull off seamlessly integrating technology into this activity, it’s definitely a win-win for all.

When the workflow is seamless, the focus is on the learning – not on the technology.

Workflow steps:

First, I created the image in SMARTNotebook and exported the images [File>Export>image files]. There are many ways to create cool images in Notebook… but that’s another post! In “Explain Everything,” I imported the image, made it the background for the page, and duplicated the pages. Once I finished creating all the pages, I saved and exported the project, saving it as .xpl.  – an “Explain Everything” file. Here is what the exporting screen looks like in” Explain Everything.”

SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow how to

To export the file, choose the 3rd button on the bottom!

Slingshot Listening Activity: SMARTBoard + iPad

If you’ve been so kind to read through the above explanation, and you would like to use this high/low listening activity, you may download it below.  The QR code with the link to the “Explain Everything” file for the children is included as one of the pages.

Do you want to see it in the classroom?

Listening Activity: SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow

I think this solution will allow my classes to experience the best of both the SMARTBoard and the iPads. I LOVE being able to use both seamlessly!


SMARTBoard + iPad Workflow groovy

What new workflow ideas have you discovered recently?

As James Hollis says, “Sharing is caring!!”




Slingshot Listening

High Low Sling Shot Listening +iPads
High Low Sling Shot Listening +iPads
6.0 MiB
The following two tabs change content below.

Cherie Herring

Music/Technology Integration at Hammond School
I teach elementary music, am passionate about integrating technology into my teaching, am obsessed with my SMARTBoard and iPad, and enjoy creating lessons and sharing ideas. I love technology almost as much as I love cheesecake, and with more energy and ideas than I know what to do with, I can't wait for the sun to come up each morning! I'm wife to Prince Charming and mom to three incredible girls who keep me balanced. . . sort of!

Latest posts by Cherie Herring (see all)

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Kaylee January 8, 2014, 7:24 PM

    I have been going crazy on your site for a few days now trying to get some ideas. I am fortunate to have a class set (12) of iPads in our classroom and was looking into doing some of the QR coding that you use so often. What app do you use for scanning them?
    Also, I have been looking into the explain everything app as well but can’t seem to really figure out how to use it as much as you do, or at least I don’t quite get it yet 🙂

    Anyways, thanks for posting so much and I am looking forward to trying some new tech stuff out! We have our Focus walk next week (administrators from other schools coming to observe checking off that we are doing lessons with different kinds of technology)

    • Cherie Herring January 8, 2014, 7:55 PM

      Hi Kaylee, How exciting!! I just can’t imagine teaching without iPads and everyday there is a new way to use them in our school!. I’ll try to answer your questions but feel free to email me if you need any further explanation.
      QR codes: I create the QR codes from my desktop computer. Since a QR code is just a link to something else, I store those files in my Dropbox and I can organize all of the items more easily from my desktop computer. I create the QR codes using http://goqr.me/ but there are many other sites equally as good. Our students use I-nigma to scan the QR codes. QR codes are a fantastic way to deliver content to all of the kids quickly. Plus, it is easy to group my students into levels and give them more advanced or easier work without making a big deal of it. I LOVE having that ability at my fingertips!!

      Explain Everything is my most favorite app ever! I’ll give you several examples we are using just this week.
      My recorder students are scanning a QR code depending on their level in Recorder Karate. When they scan the QR code, they can download and open a file in Explain Everything. I’ve pre-made these files and it includes an image of a piece of music. The student can listen to the piece being played by me on one page, and on the second page, they can record themselves playing the piece. Once they finish the recording, they export the file and email it to me. I can listen to it from anywhere and pass them off. They are able to move through each level at their own pace. Sometimes, I send them outside in the courtyard or in the hallway to practice together. The students will work like mad to get the recording just right.
      My 3rd graders are learning the notes of the staff – I mean, REALLY learning them! On my TpT site, there is an iPad/ smartboard activity called “Music Spelling Bee + Math” and we are doing this activity using Explain Everything. I pre-made the activity and can have the students using the iPads while I’m at the SMARTBoard with the SAME activity. It works beautifully and I have complete control of the class and total engagement. Explain everything allows me to make many different pages of activities and I can deliver it to my students just by a QR code.
      1st graders are learning about Largo and Presto. I created a folder containing images of slow things and fast things, put it in my Dropbox, and created a QR code link that my students scanned.My 1st graders go “shopping” for images to put on the “Largo” page in Explain Everything. THEN they record themselves explaining the slow images and moving the images as they talk. This creates a “Movie” that the kids can watch. I know they understand the concept if the move the image to match the word.
      Anything that my students learn, I try to have them create a tutorial in Explain Everything. If they can demonstrate it and teach someone else, they understand it and I can assess them more easily.
      Kaylee, If it would help you, I would be happy to email you a PDF containing several QR codes linked to Explain Everything files so you can see what I’m talking about. Explain Everything is not hard to use once you go through the help files or tutorials. You’ll find a few advanced features that really make it work for creating and delivering lessons.

      I hope that helps a bit!!
      I’m happy to share what works for me!!

  • Kaylee February 9, 2014, 1:50 PM

    thanks, this does help! I’d love to see what you’ve created so I can start trying to make my own. I was also looking for other ways to test on recorder (I use recorder karate as well) because the line up thing isn’t working out with the short amount of time we have. I suppose the most challenging thing I am thinking about is getting the kids to understand the process of using the multiple apps so seamlessly.

    I did go ahead and purchase the Explain everything app so I’m very eager to start incorporating it!

    thanks so much for all of your help!

  • Jennifer Agati October 6, 2014, 2:08 PM

    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful ideas! My school is now 1 to 1 and I’ve been looking for ways for kids to open files like this without the hassle. In your post you said that after scanning the code the file should automatically open in Explain Everything. I wasn’t able to get it to function like that for some reason. Any idea why?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Cherie Herring October 6, 2014, 2:37 PM

      Hi Jen, Please try scanning the QR code again. I just updated it and now it works. I had a problem with my dropbox and I’m finding several links that are broken. Let me know if you need any help. – Cherie

  • Sharon September 26, 2015, 1:00 PM

    Is the Explain Everything app you use with your students Free or the $3.99 version? Our students are not able to have paid apps at this time, unfortunately.

    • Cherie Herring September 26, 2015, 3:17 PM

      Hi Sharon,
      We are using the paid Explain Everything app. Our school has just a few apps that we purchase for our students: Explain Everything, Puffin Browser, and Book Creator. We added Doodle Cast Pro when it was FREE. We use these apps constantly in every subject. I hope you can add Explain Everything to your ipads soon!!! – Cherie

Leave a Comment