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School board hears 'Smart Music'

After a captivating demonstration of the Smart Music application on the computer, the Osakis School Board increased its 2018-19 Technology Capital Outlay Budget by $1,400 to include Smart Music software for band and choir students.

Band teacher Randy Resley showed the board just how the software is used by playing along with the app's Book 2 program on the flute. The application can record the student playing or singing, and show on the computer screen such things as tempo, fingering for each instrument, and metronome. It can play accompaniment to the individual instrument. Each instrument sounds like the live instrument.

Once the student records his or her part, the computer shows a graphic denoting in red the missed notes, timing, and even fingering for the missed notes.

Smart Music has been loaded onto the Chromebooks this year, Resley said. This included the solo and ensemble music, as well as the large group contest pieces.

The seventh through 12th graders use Smart Music, and can take the Chromebooks home and practice.

"The student can email it to me from home. I can listen at my desk and give instant feedback," Resley said. "It is a great practice tool."

Fifth and sixth graders are not allowed to take the Chromebooks home, Resley pointed out. "That's part of the reason I am here."

"This is the best invention since peanut butter," he said, pointing out that because the elementary students cannot take the Chromebooks home, they are missing out on this educational tool.

The School Board discussed the logistics of creating a checkout system for the fifth and sixth graders to take the Chromebooks home.

Cost of Smart Music went from $50 per student to $4 per student to download the applications to the Chromebooks, Resley said.

The 2018-19 Technology Capital outlay will total $77,013. This includes network licensing of $23,860, and network hardware and miscellaneous costs of $6,500, and classroom software totaling $32,652.

Classroom software includes Accelerated Reader, Go Guardian Teacher, IXL, Moby Max, Benchmark, Brain Pop, Schoology, PLTW Software, Newzbrain, Nearpod, Typing Club and CodeHS.

Adjusted budget approved

The School Board also approved the 2017-18 adjusted budget. Grand total revenue for the current year is $10,482,680, which is an increase of $86,833 from the original budget, mostly in General Fund, and OPEB Fund 45&47.

Expenditure grand total was amended to $10,729,693, which is an increase of $259,318, in district-wide, food service and Community Education.

Amended fund balances were approved at $3,818,442, which is down $380,961 from the original estimate of $4,199,403.