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MellowD
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   Posted 9/17/2009 3:46 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I used to use SmartMusic as a pass-off system or playing test system for my 6-8th grade band students (using their Band method book), just like I have read on your website. Unfortunately, my students figured out how to CHEAT using SmartMusic while taking their playing tests, so I can no longer use SmartMusic for playing tests. They did it in a couple of different ways:
 
1. Before I had them actually record themselves playing their music, they held the microphone up to the computer speaker and figured out that it would pick up the melody line playing and they could get 100% on each line. They usually played a 'wrong' note or two while they did this, so they would get different scores and not always 100%, so it wasn't so obvious that they were cheating.
 
2. After figuring out they were cheating, I next told them that they weren't allowed to have the melody line playing (it says if they do on the info that includes their score), and that they had to record themselves playing each line. So, they started to play their music at home or in school practice rooms and have their friends come in and play the music for them, or just have one or two people in the section play the tests and save the results in different student's folders on the computer using their names/passwords.
 
At this point, I became so frustrated and disappointed, that I just quit using SmartMusic for this purpose and instead of using it every day in Band, we now only use it once a year for Solo contest.
 
Has anyone else had a problem with students cheating using SmartMusic? If you think your students aren't cheating, you might want to think again! If mine figured it out, yours might too.
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Travis Shepard
SmartMusic Support



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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 148
 
   Posted 9/18/2009 9:15 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
MellowD

When I was teaching, I always found it disappointing when students felt it was easier to break the rules than do the work, so I can sympathize with your frustration.

Both of those methods that you listed would only be possible if you are not using the SmartMusic Gradebook. If you are simply having the students open a piece, press Record and then save the MP3 somewhere, then both of those methods are completely possible for students to do.

However, if you use the SmartMusic Gradebook to send assignments to students, they can't use these methods to cheat. Here's why, by the methods you listed above:

1. When you send assignments to students via Gradebook, you specify the settings students must use, including whether or not they can have the solo line playing. If they change the settings, SmartMusic shows them an error message indicating that they cannot submit the assignment. They have the option to Practice with those settings (useful if they need to slow something down, etc.) or Reset the assignment back to your settings before they can perform and submit it.

2. When you use the SmartMusic Gradebook, each student enrolls for your class with their own email address and password. In order to receive and complete assignments, they login with this email address and password. Once they complete an assignment and submit it, the recording of the assignment is sent to you and removed from the local computer. This makes it impossible for students to save the same recording to multiple locations, as you described.

In short, using the SmartMusic Gradebook will solve both of the problems you had with students trying to cheat.


Thanks,

Travis Shepard
SmartMusic Customer Support


MakeMusic, Inc.

These on-line forums are intended for the exchange of ideas among the users of MakeMusic products. If you'd like individual help from our technical support staff, please contact them directly at http://support.makemusic.com/.

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MellowD
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   Posted 9/18/2009 10:07 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks for your reply. You're right, I didn't use SmartMusic Gradebook, but there are reasons why I didn't.
 
Many of my students couldn't have SmartMusic at home because their parents wouldn't pay the $30 fee (and neither would the school) and also a lot of them didn't have internet at home (this was a small rural community and many of them had terrible connections out in the country and had to pay higher prices for internet to work way out there. So I put computers in 4 rooms in the Band area (Practice rooms and my office), and I only had internet access in my office, on one computer. The school refused to put internet access in the other rooms when they could just save their info. right on the computer or an external memory device. It just wasn't possible to have the students access e-mail or internet, so we had to save their assignments either on a disk or directly on the computer.
 
It was a great practice tool and a great idea, and if the students had been hard-working and honest, it would have worked out. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. So now we just have playing tests in front of everyone once a week, the old traditional way. It makes them accountable to themselves and their peers. It also gets them used to playing alone in front of others, which helps their stage fright at solo contest. It also meets one of the requirements for the National Standards for Arts Education: "Students will play alone and with others."  I can also grade them on dynamics and articulation, which SmartMusic doesn't do. Besides, I had to grade the percussionists in person anyway. Their assessment didn't work very well for them. It didn't grade their sticking, rolls, flams, etc. quite right.
 
So I think I will continue to use SmartMusic as a practice tool but not as an assessment tool for now. 
 
 
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alcycler
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   Posted 9/19/2009 8:44 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
MelloD,

If your computers have a wireless card in them, install a wireless router on your office computer. This would let all of the computers have internet access.

If you do install a wireless router, make sure a password is set on the router. I have this system in my school and it works great.
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Jim Jolley
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   Posted 9/19/2009 5:04 PM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
What Alcycler said works well.  We are about to set it up at our school with the wireless.  It also keeps you in control of your internet security, a good thing.  This way you have control.  Talk to your IT person if you have one. They will be glad to help you.  If not, let us know and maybe we can help you.


Jim Jolley - Band Director www.chbands.com

Finale 2006c, 2008a, 2009b - Smartmusic 11 - Garritan CoMB - Vista

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dubaifox
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   Posted 10/15/2009 2:13 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I have the same problems with kids cheating.

I am very encouraged about the Gradebook options. This sounds really excellent. Can you give me more info on how to set it up??

Paul Hopkins
American School of Dubai
UAE
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Travis Shepard
SmartMusic Support



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Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 148
 
   Posted 10/15/2009 8:54 AM (GMT -5)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Paul,

Currently, Gradebook is not available to teachers or students in the United Arab Emirates. We are looking into offering Gradebook in more countries if the demand for the service is present. At this time we cannot guarantee a date when Gradebook will be available in the UAE or other countries.

The main obstacle is that internet privacy laws, especially concerning minor children, vary widely from one country to another. There are also technical concerns such as obtaining lists of all the schools in a given country and linking that information to our current databases, which is trickier than it sounds.

We move carefully before adding countries to the list of those with Gradebook access because we want customer experiences with Gradebook to be as smooth as possible. I know that can be frustrating to teachers on the cutting edge of technology who want access to the Gradebook quickly, but it is encouraging to know that schools across the world want to use SmartMusic.

I hope that explanation helps!


Thanks,

Travis Shepard
SmartMusic Customer Support


MakeMusic, Inc.

These on-line forums are intended for the exchange of ideas among the users of MakeMusic products. If you'd like individual help from our technical support staff, please contact them directly at http://support.makemusic.com/

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