A few days ago, I was surprised to discover I had won a giveaway on Instagram! 5,000 free points on boomlearning.com! I’m not sure how I got so lucky, but I thought I’d share with my piano teacher friends how I’ve been using Boom Decks in my piano studio since January. They did not ask me to write this post, but I thought I’d give them a shout out here in appreciation!
The boom learning site is a very reasonably-priced subscription site where you can purchase and share boom decks, aka online learning games. They are essentially very cute interactive flashcards, therefore called “decks,” but I always refer to them with my students as games because that sounds more fun than flashcards. They are self-checking, colorful, and a hit with my students!
They are not specific to music – there are decks for just about every subject from learning the ABCs to geometry – but there are pages and pages of *music* decks starting with the simplest concepts and going right on up to AP music theory. Some decks are free, but there are many more that can be purchased by buying points. I’ve seen some games for as few as 6 points and some for 600. The games I’m using range from 150 to 350 points. You can preview any game before you purchase it. I like the fact that these games can be accessed on any device – laptop, tablet, ipad, or any smartphone.
So, how do you get points? Well, if you’re not lucky enough to win them, you buy them. Three dollars buys you 250 points, but you can get discounts by buying bigger bundles of points. Because of these discounts, I prefer to buy boom decks from the boom learning site, but many boom card creators sell their decks on Teachers Pay Teachers and on their own websites.
These are great for online teaching. You can share the games with your students in one of two ways. The most immediate way is to create a “fast pin” and essentially send them a link to the game. This is useful in a live lesson. However, my preferred way is to create an account for each member of my studio and assign them games individually. The advantage of this is that I can see individual reports for each student on each game. So, for instance, if I assign Suzie a game, I can tell when she’s finished it, which questions she missed, which questions took her longer to answer, how many times she played the game, etc. If I see she’s struggling with a particular concept, I know I need to spend more time on that in the lesson. Also, if I see she breezed through and got every question right on the first try, I know not to waste time explaining that any more.
You can also edit decks to just show the cards you want. This is helpful if you want to use a game that is perfect for your student except it has a few concepts included that you haven’t taught yet. Here’s how to edit the deck.
I’ve created an account for each of my students. They get to choose their own avatars, and they have a login and password. I make an assignment for them in Tonara that just says “Boom Games,” and includes the link to the boom site. Once there, they log in and see what games I’ve assigned them.
Melody Payne has a great post about using Boom cards, and she make and sells some wonderful decks.
I hope you’ll check out boom learning!