Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Triple Threat in Tech: A Reflection

Last week I wrote the post, “MakerSpace Resources & Ideas for Digital Music Creation,” and recommended the 2013 K-12 Online Conference presentation, “T3:Triple Threat in Tech: Art, Music, and Media” by Carol Broos (@carolbroos). Although I know Carol and the amazing teacher she interviewed at the start of this video, Tricia Fugelstad (@fuglefun), I had never watched this entire video! This evening I watched this video in our living room via our AppleTV and the YouTube AppleTV app. I added this video to my “watch later” YouTube playlist on a laptop, and was then able to quickly select it from within the AppleTV YouTube app using the remote control. (No tedious searching required!) The full video is 17.5 minutes long. In this post I’ll share some thoughts and reflections on it.

This tweet from the ICE Conference outside Chicago in March 2013 summarizes how absolutely amazing Tricia is and how she just blows me away with her artistic and digital creativity with students. It was great to hear from her briefly at the start of Carol’s video!

I wrote the post, “Creative Digital Art Projects that put STEAM into STEM by Tricia Fuglestad” during one of Tricia’s ICE 2013 conference breakout sessions, and it includes a wealth of student video project examples and links to the amazing creative work her students have done combining art, music, and digital technologies. This is the essence of what Carol is advocating for in this video: “Becoming a triple threat” with originally created digital art, digital music, and digital media.

Seeing Tricia in Carol’s video this evening, I was reminded how much I want to learn how to use the iPad app “Animation and Drawing by DoInk.” The past couple of years I’ve used the Green Screen app by DoInk extensively in workshops with teachers, with students and on my own. Our December 2015 family Christmas Card video and this mashup of my wife with BB8 and Star Wars lightsabers are examples. See my post from last month, “iPad App Smashing Green Screen Videos from YouTube” for more details.

The DoInk animation app is one I need to make time to play with so I can add it to my own “digital app toolkit.” Carol’s video reminds me of this and how I need to find a way to “create immediacy” in my own life to learn how to use this app! I wish I was attending ICE this year and could attend another session by Tricia! If you ever have a chance to attend a keynote, workshop, or conference presentation by her, don’t miss it. If you’re looking for an a conference speaker who IS a “triple threat” as Carol discusses in this video, invite Tricia Fugelstad to your event!

Wes Fryer and Tricia Fuglestad at ICE 20 by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Wes Fryer and Tricia Fuglestad at ICE 2013” (CC BY 2.0) by  Wesley Fryer 

The longest segment of Carol’s video featured an interview with Linda Keane, the co-creator of the amazing design website This 2.5 minute video provides an overview of the website and project, and starts with the fantastic opening line:

We live in a finite world. Imagination makes us infinite.

The About page of the website explains the project aspires to:

NURTURE creativity
PROMOTE stewardship of the environment
INSPIRE wonder of the built and natural world
CONNECT an eco-web community
ENABLE teachers as collaborators empowering youth-led active project learning
CRITIQUE and impact consumption
PROPOSE humanitarian solutions to social problems
ADVOCATE conscientious alternative living strategies

I was particularly interested in Linda’s discussion of “digital fluency,” which is a menu option visitors can select on the website to filter and display links to a variety of related websites and projects. The site defines digital fluency as:

access to and use of broad cultural practices to make and share meaning and to create, communicate and collaborate.

Among the various hats I wear now as an educator, including an advocate for STEM/STEAM learning and Maker education, is a website and project I’d love to learn more about and see about utilizing both with teachers in professional development as well as with students in classroom projects.

In the video Carol says, “All music is is organized sound.” She mentioned several iOS apps to try for creating your own music in media projects, and I need to make time to play with them. Of the apps she mentioned, Beatwave is the only one I’ve tried before tonight. I used it in my elementary STEM unit a couple of years ago, “The Science and Technology of Music and Sound.” Here are Carol’s four music apps.

  1. I Can Xylo (free)
  2. ChordBank: Guitar Chords (free)
  3. Beatwave (free)
  4. DigiDrummer Lite (free)

Carol also used the iOS app MuseScore (free) on several of the projects she linked in her presentation resources. MuseScore ( is an open source alternative to commercial composition and sheet music software programs like Sibelius and others. This looks amazing and definitely worth checking out… but probably something that is beyond my current instrumental musical abilities to use extensively at this point.

Composer’s Piano ($8) is a musical creation app which also looks appealing, made by the same developer as I Can Xylo, but appears to not be available in the US iTunes store now for some reason. Even though I Can Xylo is marketed as an app for preK and Kindergarten children, I’m guessing I could learn a great deal from it since my instrumental music skills are quite basic and limited. Although the app is free, you only get a couple of free songs – you have to pay $5 to activate the full list of available songs. I actually bought it tonight (an iTunes impulse buy that would make Steve Jobs happy, I’m sure, along with the app developers.) I found it intuitive and easy to use.

I created a list of these musical creation apps and a few more I’ve tried, which I’ll embed below. is a great, free tool to use for creating and sharing app lists like this. Unfortunately, however, it now has a limit of just adding 10 items per day if you have a free account, which definitely limits its utility.

This was a great video presentation by Carol Broos for many reasons, and it inspires me to make time to learn and play with more iOS apps for musical creation! I don’t consider myself a digital “triple threat” as Carol defines it, but it’s something I’m working on via my Sunday sketchnoting and narrated sketchnoting… so perhaps I’ll try adding some original music to the mix in the weeks ahead!

Check out the great page of sample videos which Carol created and shared for this presentation. Perhaps because of last week’s post, as well as Jonathan Wylie’s (@jonathanwylie) shout out for Apple’s new “Music Memos” iOS app, I’ve had musical apps on my brain this weekend.

I’ve wanted to get out my portable M-Audio Midi keyboard which David Warlick inspired me to get and play with years ago… and has been languishing in one of our closets at home for many years. My wife wants me to help her get a “digital music” station going in her classroom Maker Studio soon… so perhaps all these things will push me over the edge to dabble more with musical apps and my own digital music creativity!

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