Teachers and Technology

Teachers are always learning, and one thing that they are still learning about is how to incorporate technology into their classrooms.  Music educators might have a hard time figuring out what is appropriate to use, and sometimes even just finding something and trying to get ideas on how to use them to teach.  Technology should be about enhancing learning, not making it easier or replacing the teacher.  One elementary music teacher, Amy Burns is an example of this.  She is a teacher, author, and clinician (see her bio for more information) that has been working to incorporate technology into music education. On her website she has available many tabs and categories for people to get ideas for their elementary music classrooms. She even has a blog with specific projects and some history on other teachers that are working to make technology in classrooms more common and less scary for everyone.

I think that most teachers, especially ones that have not had exposure to different technologies recently or in their education, are almost afraid to even consider using technology because they aren’t comfortable with it themselves and they aren’t sure how it will be received.  People like Amy Burns are paving the way for teacher like this, people like me.  When I first started thinking about becoming a music teacher I never thought that technology had a place in a music classroom because I had never used it outside of a metronome and tuner over the speakers in band.  As I got further into school I realized that maybe teachers should consider using it more and give their students a “better” experience.  Maybe better is not the right word to use, but as I said, incorporating technology into the classroom should enhance the experience and help to have students get all that they can before they walk out of your classroom.  I began to be exposed to more and more technology, and even when I started university I was skeptical as to how I could use different technologies in music, and ensembles because I was not familiar with most of them myself.

I have talked to a lot of different people and of course, got different ideas and information (some through classes) on how to use different technologies.  Technologies don’t all have to be electronics.  Last year I attended AMEA and went to different seminars on how teachers are using different things and trying new things all of the time.  There were some things that just blew me away, like having students listen to a piece of music and draw a picture of how they perceived it, or give them a piece of art and have them write a song about it.  When I saw Amy’s blog I was reminded of things like that, where teachers are doing so much more than they used to and that there are so many possibilities in what you can do.  On her blog she has an article about “Flipping the Classroom” where teachers make a lesson available outside of the classroom so that they can further it the next time the class meets.  Ideas that I have seen and perhaps modified a bit are things like having students transcribe a song that they like and teaching them how to use music-writing software like Musescore to make it neat and help them check their work, or having them use in Garage Band to create an original composition, using the existing loops (or create their own) and record a solo or small ensemble piece over it.  They could even go so far as to make a music video in something like iMovie for something that they like in order to see what it is that they get out of it instead of drawing a picture.  The possibilities are endless when you approach this idea of “Teachers and Technologies” with an open mind.

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