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You may be experienced with creating regular iTunes playlists for managing your music content and syncing it with an iPod; however, using Smart playlists in iTunes to manage curricular content on the iPod will make syncing your classroom iPod devices extremely easy. This page will help you think about Smart playlists as a global management strategy and is the basis for syncing your set of iPods in general.
Smart playlists are playlists you set up to match specific criteria. Remember -- playlists are like folders for organizing and managing content. They can contain music, video, or other audio content you have in your iTunes library (like podcasts). As examples, you might want to have a playlist that only contains music by a particular artist or a playlist that only contains content you have tagged as Colonial Williamsburg. These are easy to create and can be automatically updated through a Smart playlist.
First, think about if/how you want to tag your content using the metadata
in the various files you will be syncing. You will use this information to create the rules, or filters, that your Smart playlist.
Once you have determined your criterion (or criteria) for collecting content into a Smart playlist, follow these easy steps:
1. Create a Smart Playlist (File > New Smart Playlist)
2. Determine the rules to apply to get the content you wish. Two examples are shown below. You can have more than one rule to narrow the material you wish to appear in the Smart Playlist, as shown in the second screen shot.
3. As long as you leave "Live updating" checked, any time you add content to your iTunes library that matches the rule(s) you have set up for your Smart playlist, that media will automatically be added to it. That's the beauty of a Smart playlist!
4. Let's take this one step further and see how a Smart playlist can be used to build digital student portfolios with something as simple as voice memos. Many teachers use the iPod's ability to record voice memos for improving reading fluency and comprehension with students. When those voice memos are synced to iTunes, rename the voice memo with the student's name in the file name:
Create a Smart playlist whereby the rule is "Name contains [student name]." Note: In this rule, "Name" refers to the name of the file (or voice memo). See example below:
You'll see that Smart playlists will be at the top of your lists and are distinguished by a purple gear icon (because they work for you!).
Understanding this concept is really important, as it will make management of multiple iPod devices in a classroom quite easy. Using playlists
and Smart playlists within one "meta-playlist
" takes much of the work out of syncing your devices.