Wednesday, June 5, 2013

11 Tools, Post #11

This is my last post in the 11 tools series!  I hope my posts up until now have been helpful to read, and maybe even a bit enlightening  : )

For this last post, I will answer the three questions presented by Karen.

1)  After going through this wonderful journey, my favorite tools in my technology toolbox are the Google Apps, specifically the forms, Dropbox, and the collection of pages I have learned about to increase my students' exposure to digital resources.  I'm really excited to try out the lesson I mentioned a few blog posts ago regarding the collaboration with the art teacher on the correlation between impressionist art and music.  I'm also looking forward to expanding that project later to include the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern artistic and musical eras.

2)  In terms of making changes to my classroom to incorporate 21st century technology, I'm looking forward to using my Summer break to create and incorporate more innovative ways to use the technology to teach musical concepts in a different and more meaningful way!  I really want the students to take charge of their learning, with my guidance, and find their own path to musical understanding.  My thinking has transformed in a way that I need to learn to relinquish control to the students.  I shouldn't lecture so much, but rather let the students follow a path of discovery, which will not only help them enjoy the subject, but will also naturally increase the rigor and relevance of what they learn.

3)  If there were any unexpected outcomes of this program, I would have to say that I have found that I maybe don't incorporate technology as much as I should.  I am an incredibly tech savvy person, and love the technology, but still revert back to the old school method of teaching quite a bit.  I don't have an ActivBoard, and have learned to work around that as I had one in my previous school district, but I just need to put more trust in my students to make great choices about their digital citizenship.  I need to understand that if I set up an iPod touch or MacBook station, the students need to exercise and practice their digital citizenship.  I guess it's a bit like letting go of the training wheels, so to speak.  I know that I can do a lot to really make music meaningful for my students, and this program was enormously helpful in introducing me to some great resources to make that happen.

11 Tools, Post #10

First, I must say that when reading Vicki Davis's blog, I was quite delighted to find that my first cousin, David Warlick, was referenced a number of times!  What a small world  : )  I remember when Dad (also an EdTech person) invited him to come from Raleigh talk to my elementary school about technology back in the very early 90's, when the internet was just becoming available to the masses!  Technology must run in the family!!  In reading his quote, I found that I go about teaching in exactly the same way, all these years later.

Now, to address tool #10, being a good digital citizen:

1)  I want my students to know that they have to have a filter when online. Not everything online is true and they must decipher between the useful and non-useful (or unsafe) information.  Also, they need to know how to effectively find the information they need, be it a Google or Bing search or a website I provide.  Thirdly, I want my students to understand they have a voice.  When online, all voices can be expressed and they need to know that what they post online may very well influence the education of another person or student.

2)  Instructionally, I plan to use the Copyright with Cyberbee page through the EdTech site.  In music, it is really important for the students to learn and understand that we have copyright laws, why we need to follow them, and who is affected by them and how.

3)  Once again, teaching the main aspects of digital citizenship is primarily done with the classroom teacher.  However, I would review basic concepts of internet safety with my students both through presentation and student role-play.  Once understood, I would go further to include the copyright aspect of digital citizenship in the same manner of teaching.

4)  Sharing ideas of digital citizenship with parents, for me, would need to be done through my website or blog post.  I have to communicate to every parent in the school, so the classroom teacher would be primarily responsible to communicate SBISD digital citizenship practices, and I would reinforce those when necessary for students in music.

11 Tools, Post #9

Here are my answers to the questions regarding the incorporation of classroom-based devices as tools for learning:

1)  Tying technology to the objective is important because it not only gives students multiple ways to respond to the objective in their own way, thus making learning more meaningful, but it also allows teachers to present the objective in more relevant terms to the student.  Many of our students are greatly tied to their mobile devices, so if we can use that to our advantage as educators, our students have a much better chance of retaining the information taught and actually understanding and using that information in other settings.

2)  Students need to be held accountable for the technology stations/centers to learn digital responsibility and to also learn how those devices can assist them in their learning.

3)  I really liked Thinkfinity as it lead me to the page created by The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.  After browsing their site, it has amazing music resources that I will definitely be using next year!  I also liked Learning Games for Kids as it also has some wonderful primary resources that would work well with my current classroom technology.  Both of these resources are accessible and useful with the MacBooks and iPod touches, and students can easily be held accountable for what they learn through these sites as stations through assessment activities.

4)  A few apps I like for the iPod touch are Composer of the Day, FingerPiano Lite, and Interval Ear Training.  The composer app center could have students creating parallels between the composer and the current day; the piano app can help students solidify knowledge of sharps and flats as well as some basic intervals; and the Interval Ear Trainer can assist students with learning to sightread vocally and really understand the distance between the different solfege syllables they learn in class.

5)  The students can use the iPod touch and MacBooks in other ways at stations by using them as music listening devices and research tools.

11 Tools, Post #8

As I have a fine arts classroom, I am fortunate to have two MacBooks and four iPod touches to use in my classroom.

The tutorials provided did help a bit in terms of setting up my own iTunes account with my SBISD email account.  Being a lifelong mac user, this is nothing new to me, but I do like to have the instructions to make sure that what I do is in line with district procedures.  The apps that are currently on the iPod touches in my classroom were downloaded by the previous music teacher, and in transitioning over to my own account, I'm not wanting to lose previously downloaded apps, but may want to add more, so I'm working on that.

Since I only have the mac products, I wish I could say I learned more from the tutorials provided, but again, I have always used macs so I already know how to use the devices to their greatest capabilities.  The tutorials would be really helpful to a novice, and I like that the info is presented in a user-friendly way.

Managing the devices in the classroom has been a topic of thought for me all year.  I want student experiences to be meaningful, and for the technology to not just be a toy to occupy students' attention.  I have been brainstorming more ideas for centers for next year, and with the increasing number of free apps becoming available, the possibilities are exciting!

Next year, I would like to incorporate more centers using the iPod touches and varying instrumental timbres, as well as GarageBand on the Macs.  I already like to have the students compose their own music, so using GarageBand could make their compositions even more fun, and more relevant to their daily lives, thus adding both rigor and relevance to instruction.

11 Tools, Post #7

After reading about tool #7, I have some neat ideas!  I think that I'd like to really try this out at the start of next school year, working with the art teacher at my school.  One of the TEKS for music in the intermediate grades is to connect visual and musical art, such as through Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," which was this past year's Houston Symphony trip lesson.  Now that I've had a year in the district to learn about what is available in the fine arts, as well as get to know other teachers at my campus and music teachers around the district, I feel more comfortable collaborating with another teacher to create a meaningful interdisciplinary project.  Doing a project like this is quite daunting as a first year teacher in the district, so with the knowledge I have now, I think that the students would have a much, much better experience than they would have earlier this year.  Here is the project I am planning:

a)  Content Objective:  To connect the art and music of the impressionist period, specifically the art of Claude Monet and the music of Claude Debussy.
b)  Implementation:  Fall 2013
c)  Tools to Use:  ActiveInspire, Recordings of Debussy and images of Monet; Students can respond to each using a class blog thread I will start through Blogger
d)  Description of the Project:  Through examining the works of Debussy and Monet, students will create a discussion about various aspects of impressionist music and art to include use of harmony to depict light and dark and to include tone color to depict mood.
e)  We will network with our very own art classroom so that students will have the opportunity to post about both sides of the discussion.

11 Tools, Post #6

As I read about and then thought about tool #6, I thought of three things.  The first is that Twitter would be a great way to get messages to students and parents quickly.  I am still extremely hesitant about Twitter, as everything is public and I can't limit posts to just the recipients intended.

So, in re-examining Google Docs, I created a form for students to use as a project to learn more about careers in music.  This is a project we did in the last three weeks of school, and had class discussions about the responses.  We did make it collaborative, just not online but in person due to time constraints.

Music Interview Questions

I did look at Wallwisher, now Padlet, and really liked its user-friendliness and clean presentation.  It functions much like a blog, but I think it's a bit easier to use.  I tried creating two posts, one link and one file, and I like how it works.  I do think, however, that it might be a little tricky to find specific posts unless you scroll through all posts.  This would be a great resource for the choir and hopefully, in the future, a percussion ensemble!

Wallwisher Music Page

In terms of encouraging participation, I think that both tools will increase visibility of the music program, and it would help to get students excited about extracurricular activities available.  I also hope that having more resources readily available would help to increase student retention of concepts, as it could aid in more frequent presentation of the concepts presented to each grade level.

11 Tools, Post #5

As a music teacher, I see each child in the school for less than an hour, once a week.  So, many of the Web 2.0 tools used to create the products listed in Tool #5 aren't as easy to incorporate into my lessons and planning as a traditional classroom teacher, who can devote much more time to these projects. I found with this blog assignment that the tools requiring less time to create products fit better with my teaching timeline.

To think about how I could replace current files I use, I could use the Stupeflix Video creator to replace some of the powerpoints I use.  I created the following video to use as a part of my "set" to introduce the instrument families, before moving on to the online lesson I use via Carnegie Hall.  It's short, but showed me how I could start to edit pictures together that I can then narrate at the start of a lesson.  I hope the link works!

I also tried the Word Cloud generators and was pleased to find that using the ABCya! word cloud generator, I can create a wonderful graphic to embed in my Activ software to attract student attention to the primary vocabulary word of the day.  That then leads to the students discovering more and taking much more ownership of the concepts being presented.  The graphic included below is one I would use with kindergarten when introducing the word "Beat."  They point out the big word, we sound it out together, reviewing letters and phonics, and then act it out through musical games using the words around it to emphasize how the beat stays constant no matter what else changes.

11 Tools, Post #4

The tools in Google Apps are great.  My favorite tool is the forms tool, which I have used for about 4 years now for various uses.  It's great in the classroom for quick quizzes/assessment games or an online homework assignment, and with my team for soliciting input on important topics such as scheduling events like Field Day.  I have even used it before to help parents order choir t-shirts!  Next year, I'm looking forward to incorporating the forms app to enhance my assessment games, such as Music Jeopardy and Music Baseball.  I'm also hoping to incorporate blogger into my classroom website to provide another channel to help keep parents informed of what is going on in the music program.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

11 Tools, Post #3

What a whirlwind year!  Here we are at Spring Break, so for the rest of my posts here, I'm going to pull from my experiences in the first 3/4 of the year.

Tool #3:  Online Video and Image Resources

As a music teacher, copyright and fair use practices are something I take great care in following, and have known about for quite some time.  As a result of this tool, I did take the time to look further into the public domain, regarding published music, and have found some really great resources that are available.  I like these two sites in particular: The Public Domain Project  and The International Music Score Library Project.  I also understand that lots of people are willing to share information, videos, and pictures for the public good, just in general.

When it comes to teaching lessons about the music of other world cultures, YouTube has been a great resource to use, as it is popular all over the world and you can find some very authentic performance videos with sometimes obscure instruments.  Even just a few years ago, teaching students about world instruments was difficult as you only had limited text/CD resources from which to draw information, but now with YouTube, the students can really have a much clearer idea of not only what the instrument looks like, but how it is actually played.

In addition to world music, YouTube has also been a great resource to teach students about Western music, with videos of different ensembles to help teach about the instruments of the orchestra. I love these four examples to help teach the four instrument families:

Woodwind Quintet        Brass Quintet        String Quartet         Percussion Ensemble

With regard to Dropbox and its features, I think that it is definitely a convenient tool to have, primarily to make sure you have all of your files in one place, when you need them.  I have had the server go down in the middle of class before, with a file that I needed for that class, so I learned a great lesson to back up what you need in a secondary secure location, such as Dropbox.  Plus, if you were to move schools or school districts at any point, you don't have to move all of your files from your district computer or server, and you can always keep them organized!