So after months of developing it, months of testing it and months of getting it just right, the Classroom DJ App is finally ready for purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers.
There are currently 5 different versions of the app for sale. Ranging from free to $15.
The free version has 2 customizable buttons. Download that version first to make sure it works for you and you don’t run into any problems. If you find you only need two images/buttons, great…you can use it for free. If you realize you need a few more options, well then there is a 5 button option ($2.50), a 10 button option ($5.00), a 20 button option ($10.00) and a 30 button option ($15.00). Each option allows you to choose up to that amount of buttons. So if you have 8 subjects you teach, the 10 button option would be right for you.
At the bottom of this post is a copy of the FAQs that are a part of each download. Will help you decide if this product is right for you.
Wanted to give a big thanks to Emily over at Second Grade Silliness (http://secondgradesilliness.blogspot.com/) for all her help and suggestions. She even made an awesome video to go along with this on how to use it, but I failed to save the video and unfortunately it is no longer around. Oh well….Thanks for all your help.
Also thanks to the following people for helping (or attempting to help but couldn’t due to technical difficulties):
Susan S – @iteachkindy
Carrie M – www.donorschoose.org/
Please let me know what everyone thinks and if anyone is having issues with it or have questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Can I ask what this app is all about?
Sure…thanks for asking. Very simply, this app is all about making the classroom interactive and fun for everyone. Launch the app and watch your students stay involved all day long as they become the “Classroom DJ”.
How does it work?
Once all the necessary information is entered, selected and configured into the app by the teacher (more on this in a minute), the app is now ready for use. Ranging from 1 button to 30 buttons, the screen will display the buttons as interactive images, that when clicked by the mouse (or tapped on a SMART board), will begin to play music.
Check out the image below of a screen with 5 images/buttons:
Imagine that being projected onto your SMART Board. You assign little Billy the duty of being the “Classroom DJ” for the week. When you give him the nod, he walks over to the screen and taps the Science picture and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” theme song starts playing (or whatever song you have chosen). The rest of the students immediately know what that means and they start getting ready for their science lesson or line up at the door to head to the Science lab. It’s the perfect way to transition your students from one lesson to the next.
Where did these images come from? Can I use my own images?
Well, these images came straight from Google. Just wanted to demonstrate the look and feel of the app. Of course you can use your own images. When you are setting up the app, you will be asked to select images and you can choose any image (.jpg, .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp files) that you have saved on your computer. It doesn’t matter the size or the orientation, it will be scaled to fit.
What about the songs? Where do I get those?
Unlike The Classroom DJ website, which specifically uses Spotify playlists, it will be up to you to provide the audio files. MP3 and WAV files work the best. iTunes files work, but have been known to act up on occasion when choosing start and stop times.
But wait, all my songs on my computer are from iTunes? Are you saying I can’t use this app?
Nope, not at all. Just warning you that there may be an occasional hiccup if trying to use only .m4a files. If you google “convert m4a to mp3”, there are plenty of free services that will convert your iTunes files to .mp3 files. Here is a link to one that works great (http://www.apowersoft.com/free-online-audio-converter)
What about Spotify? Can I use that?
Unfortunately, at this time Spotify is not supported. If you need suggestions for songs to purchase on iTunes, head over to The Classroom DJ. There are numerous playlists and songs that are listed on the website.
What if I only want to play 30 seconds of a song instead of the full four minute song?
No problem at all. When setting up the audio files that will be played for each image/button, there is an option to choose the start time and stop time for each song. So, if you truly only wanted to hear 5 seconds of a song, but not necessarily the first 5 seconds of that song, you would be good to go.
Can I get a peek of what the teacher sees when setting up the songs and images?
Sure. This is the Settings page. Once you determine how many interactive buttons you would like on the previous screen, you will be taken to this page.
For each button that is present, the user will complete the following:
- Button text (Optional)
- Audio File
- Start Time and Stop Time of Audio File
In addition, you will input a title that will appear at the top of the application (i.e. – Mr. Wilson’s Classroom). There are additional options to customize the appearance like background color, text color and font.
Once all the required information is inputted, you click the “START APP” button and the fun is ready to begin.
Do I have to fill this information out each time I open this application?
Thankfully no. If you look at the image above, there is an additional field where you specify the File Name. Once you click the “START APP” button, the name of your file will be saved as a .PROPERTIES file into a “SAVED” folder.
Each time you go to launch this application you will be shown the main starting page:
As you can see, the “LOAD FILE” button allows you to open the Saved folder that contains all the files that you have saved. From here, you can click the “START APP” button and it will take you to the main application. You also have the option to click the “EDIT SETTINGS” button which will allow you to make any changes to the file that is selected.
So I am a multiple class teacher. Is there a way to have different slides for each class or am I only able to have one slide for all my classes?
You can have as many slides as you like. So if in the morning you want to use your Reading slide for your reading centers, load the “Reading” file. In the afternoon, if you want to use your Science slide for your Science class, load the “Science” file. It’s that easy.
Can’t I just use a Power Point slide to do the same thing as this app?
Sure. If you are technical enough, I am sure you can “figure” it out. But, if you aren’t that technical or you simply don’t have the time, this app is for you.
Also, trying to edit an audio file into a 20 second clip would entail having knowledge of an audio program like Audacity and that would take even more knowledge. This app was geared for the “busy” teacher who doesn’t have time to fool around with that. Everything is already set up and ready. It is just up to you to input the information.
Do I need to be online in order to use this app?
No. You can be off the grid and still use this without any issue.
Are there any pre-requisites in order to use this app?
Before you attempt to use this app, you MUST have the latest version of Java on your computer.
Java? What is that?
Simply put…Java is a programming language. As long as you have the latest version on your computer, you will have no problems running this application. Odds are you are fine as Java is used all throughout the Internet.
How do I know if I have the latest version of Java?
Head over to Java.com and click the ‘Do I have Java?’ link on the front page. Then click the ‘Verify Java Version’ button and follow the prompts/directions. It may prompt you to download the latest version of Java (which is currently Version 8 Update 60). If there are still questions on this, feel free to send email to email@example.com and I can help guide you through this.
Will this app work on a Mac?
Yes. Although it was created on a PC, it was tested on two different Macs to ensure both PC and Mac users could use this application. You may receive an “unidentified developer” message when attempting to open the file on a Mac, but right click the file and click Open from the menu. You should be able to double click the file in order to open, going forward.
So I just downloaded this from TPT. How do I open it and get started?
When you download it, you will receive a ZIP file. Inside that ZIP file is a folder (named The Classroom DJ) that contains five items.
- A folder named “lib” (This is necessary for the application to run)
- A folder named “Saved” (This is where your different files/slides will be saved to. It is also necessary for the application to run)
- A document named “Directions.docx” (Step by step directions on how to use the application)
- A document named “Frequently Asked Questions.docx (FAQs about the application)
- A .jar file named “The Classroom DJ” (This is the application.)
It is recommended to take that folder within the ZIP file and move it to your computer (Desktop or My Documents or wherever you would like.) Just make sure you keep all the contents in that folder together.
What is a .jar file? Is it safe?
A .jar file is similar to an .exe file (or executable file). When you open the TheClassroomDJ.jar file, you are launching the application. This particular file is safe to use and run.
Here are two examples of what the icon may look like on PC and/or Mac: