The Journal is a place where different people talk about “transforming education through technology.” It might be a good place to look to when you’re having trouble finding something to do, or you are trying to do something and you are looking for help or past examples to learn from. It allows people to stay in contact, giving you the opportunity to comment and see comments on blog posts that are made in order to get an idea out there or offer assistance on a particular issues.
Websites such as Fun Music Company also offer resources for music teachers, and you can become a member and have access to a lot more things. Right on the home page are a bunch of blog posts with articles, resources, and questions that you can access with a bunch of different ideas.
Professional organizations such as TI:ME, AMEA and NAfME give you the opportunity to have professional and more formal connections with other music educators, and give you access to a lot of resources that you will find useful. Through these organizations you can take professional development courses, see journalism have access to research, see forums, and keep up to date with how technology is being used in music classrooms of all levels.
Going to websites like Midnight Music gives you the same kind of thing as NAfME, and on their blog there are some things that you have access to for free (more things if you purchase a membership). One really cool thing that I saw was “Case study: Video Game Compositions with Grade 8” where the lesson and the resource used in the lesson were absolutely free. Keeping up with sites like this can help you stay in-the-know with what types of things you can introduce into your classroom.
With this Ableton project that we have been working on with middle schoolers (from a distance through online interactions) I have been having a lot of questions about the way that the class itself was run, how it came about, and what exactly was the point of this project. This week we had the teacher come in and share some things about the way this project came about and what he has been doing with it. He also discussed his personal philosophy of how he interacts with students that don’t want to participate. This has gotten me thinking about what I would do if I were in his situation and also about what I have to start thinking about before I head into the field. I realize that any opinions that I have on this subject are just the opinions of a student with limited teaching experience, and I have never been completely in charge of a classroom on my own, so I cannot judge him too harshly on things that we may disagree on because he actually has the experience.
His philosophy is that he doesn’t want to force them to do anything, it is up to them whether they fail or succeed. When there are students on their phone or distracted he doesn’t punish them or take away their phones because that does not guarantee that they will actually get to work and that they will become engaged, in fact it may make them even less interested and angry towards the teacher and still not get their work done. He also described how he lead into this class and this project. This is a new class where he has the control over what is taught and what they can do with the technology that they have at they school. These students have little to no music training and are in an area and grade level where they have no real motivation to do will in this elective class. I will say that I am not sure exactly what I would do, but I think that I would try to be more strict than simply asking them to be responsible and get to work.
I realize that this project was not for everyone. I was hesitant about it because it was something different and I wasn’t sure how well it would turn out. For some, it went as expected, the kids did the work and had a good time with it, and learned a lot about music from doing a simple cover of a pop song. For others, it was a struggle because the kids were simply not interested in it one way or the other and didn’t want to actually do any of the work, which put us in a difficult situation. I did try to keep an open mind, but it is hard to have fun with this when there isn’t work being done on both ends. I do think that this is something that might be fun, and even do something like video game compositions or something else that students might be interested in. I don’t know what to expect going into the field, but things like this show me the possibilities and realities that are out there. It also gets me thinking seriously about the way that I might want to run my own classrooms at some point.
In my search for music teachers that use technology, I found a few Ph. D.’s with websites and even articles that they have written on how they have used technology to teach music and also some ideas that they have on what you can do to make the most of the technology you may have in your class. There are also a lot of different ways to search for them.
Dr. William Bauer at the University of Florida wrote an article “Music Learning and Technology” that talks about the different sides of teaching music with technology. His article is focused around TPACK, taking into consideration the outcomes, pedagogy, and context of using any technology to enhance the learning of music in classrooms.
Peter Perry is a “Teacher, Trumpeter, Conductor, Author, & Music Technology Specialist” with his own website. He has links on his website that cover many different topics and are helpful resources for free music programs that musicians and teachers can use. He also has an article on using Google Classroom with large ensembles and his article on technology strategies with ensemble classrooms on NAfME. He also has a couple of other articles on the site about teaching and technology.
Midnight Music by Katie Wardrobe is a website where she shows teachers how to simply integrate technology into their classrooms. The Midnight Music Community is offered on the website as a form of tech professional development. There is some payment required to have full access, but there are some free things that are available.
It is important to be aware of the resources that are available on the internet and how to find them. The Midnight Music website is probably one of the most helpful ones that I have found because it offers a way of finding professional development opportunities. When trying to find people to either work with, contact, or just get ideas from it is important to know what you’re looking for. Just simply entering “music teachers and technology” sometimes isn’t enough because you’ll get all sorts of things that might not be helpful. You could enter “music teachers and technology articles” or “music teachers and technology iPads” or “music teachers and technology professional development” or just anything to narrow the search. Searching these things on a website like Feedly can also lead you to specific things or things you might not have thought about. When you’re a teacher that is looking for ideas it is important to keep an open mind and keep your eyes open for things that might be helpful. I found the 2 Ph. D’s through Googling “music teachers and technology articles” that led me to the NAfME website that has bios and links for teachers in just about anything that you need help with.