Assessment and feedback using mobile technology in Music


Classroom Vs Showbie…

I started off trying to write a  ‘Google Classroom Vs Showbie‘ post and how I’ve attempted to use them in my classroom. However I quickly realised that Google Classroom (at the moment) can’t compete with Showbie at all (if you have a few iPads) so I thought I’d just share how I’m using Showbie with my KS3 classes. Particularly how

 I am using it for assessment and feedback.

If you haven’t seen Showbie before it’s a bit like Edmodo and Google Classroom, it allows you to create classes online, set assignments and share resources with students. They can upload files to Showbie which you can then do all sorts of things with.

how showbie works

In my classroom…

So my classes at the moment are working on group performances/compositions using Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude as a starting point. After some kind of rhythm based warm-up (an area of weakness) I recap what we were doing last lesson and explain what they should be doing this lesson then send them off in their groups to break-out spaces (e.g stairwell, fire escape, corridor etc). Usually during the chaotic transition of sorting their groups, finding equipment and going to their breakout space they have completely forgotten what to do.

However each group has an iPad with one group member logged into Showbie. So I can  upload instructions using the comments function. Once I add a comment it appears on student iPads almost instantly. I can choose whether to send a comment to the entire class or individual students.


Uploading audio is simple, they just click ‘add voice note’.

voice note2

Progress over time..?

Now using my teacher iPad from my strategic (behaviour management) position near all of the break-out spaces I can listen to that recording, read their comments and add my own, either by adding a comment or recording feedback aurally using the ‘voice note’ feature. Students then use their own self assessment and my feedback to (hopefully!) improve and produce another recording. Below is from a lesson I had this afternoon. This group uploaded 4 recordings today, each one was slightly better than the other, still not perfect but the timeline goes back several weeks so you can really see the progress over time that’s been made.



Assessment without levels…

Now I’m moving towards the end of this task I am starting to introduce more summative assessment. I’ve been using John Kelleher’s assessment pentagons that he kindly shared with me. You can read all about it here and follow him @JohnsKelleher

Showbie allows me to upload a document or picture and annotate it. I upload one file and I can add comments and annotations that all students can see or just annotate the version belonging to individuals.



WWW Showbie…

-Showbie for me works better than any other app or system I’ve tried.

-Showbie does it all in one. Other apps fail because they won’t accept video or they won’t accept audio, or you have to use multiple apps to achieve the same outcome that Showbie does itself.

-Showbie is *almost* instant, I say almost as sometimes you have to force it to refresh,

EBI Showbie…

-Ideally I’d like it so that every time a new comment or something is uploaded it would instantly push through a notification (a bit like WhatsApp).

-I need sub-groups so that multiple students can share the same timeline and files rather than it being tied to an individual.

[Update it works on all devices at but it’s still best on an iPad]-Showbie only really works well on an iPad, there is a web based version but it just doesn’t have the same functionality, @showbie please fix this for me!

Oh and there’s a cost…

I’m currently using Showbie Pro on a 30 day free trial which allows 30 minute audio uploads and 10 minute video uploads. The free version only allows 1 minute video and audio files, rendering it useless for my classes. Plus I’m not sure whether my school will pay for the yearly pro subscription?

Google Classroom…

Going back to where I initially started my ideas for this post, my school uses Google Apps For Education (GAfE), that means if it’s not a ‘google this’ or a ‘google that’ then no-one’s interested particularly if it costs money! The latest app is Google Classroom, at the start of the September term I spent ages getting my classes setup and training them how to use it.The problem is that it’s still at a really early stage of development. When I first tried it out all I could do was film performances with my iPad, upload it to google drive (this doesn’t work as well as it should) and then share it with my students in google classroom as an assignment, then get students to watch a video and reflect on it. Fine as a homework task but not really anything close to what Showbie can do.


The End?

Yesterday I downloaded the new Classroom iPad app. It’s basically the same or slightly worse than the web version. It doesn’t have any useful functions like being able to upload a video or an ‘open in’ function that would allow me to transfer an audio file from garageband like Showbie does. But for all it’s problems I’ll be keeping an eye on how Google’s Classroom develops as it probably won’t be long before they acquire Showbie and incorporate all of it’s great features.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts, is there an amazing app out there that I’ve missed? Please let me know.







    • Hi Sandie,

      Yes I do use iDoceo, It’s a great digital teacher planner, I use it to keep all my comments/marks about students and also for all groupings/seating plans. Helps me to learn everyones names as I get to add photos etc.


  1. Idoceo? Yes, but it”s kind of complicated. It works with google drive or dropbox. It just a little bit too complicated on a daily basis for it to be worth it , in my opinion.

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