Directors' Toolbox

Technology in Education Today

December 14, 2016

The influx of technology into our lives and into our classrooms has had a profound influence on the way many music educators approach the way they teach and sometimes what they teach.

The tools available—MP3 players, tablets, computers, smart phones, LCD projectors, online and computer-based creation and notation programs, learning management systems, digital keyboards/MIDI controllers, software synthesizers, and recording devices have all become more affordable (or free), and their use in the classroom has helped many educators transform their classrooms from teacher-centered to student-centered learning environments.

While the new national music standards developed by NCCAS focus on student-centered learning, the infusion of technologies was not written directly into the music standards – with the exception of the new Music Technology strand. However, incorporating technology into the teaching of music was considered throughout the process of creating these standards. Many, if not all, of the artistic processes and process components not only lend themselves to, but cry out for, infusing technology into the instruction. Here are some examples of technologies that can be used in meeting each standard:

  • Creating: Imagine – electronic instruments
  • Creating: Plan and Make – notation programs and digital audio or recording devices
  • Creating: Evaluate and Refine – recording devices
  • Performing: Rehearse, Evaluate, and Refine – recording devices
  • Performing: Select – online resources like jwpepper.com
  • Responding: Select – online resources like jwpepper.com

These are just a few of the ways to integrate technology in a way that will allow your students to explore the world of music in a much deeper and more meaningful way than they were able to just a few years ago.

Learning management systems, such as Edmodo, Canvas, and Schoology, are wonderful tools for both the teacher and the student as the class explores content in:

  • Creating: Present
  • Creating: Evaluate and Refine
  • Performing: Analyze
  • Performing: Interpret
  • Performing: Rehearse, Evaluate and Refine
  • Performing: Present
  • All of the process components of Responding

There are tools within the LMS such as files, links, discussions, media albums, and assignments that the students are able to work on and complete both inside and outside of class. These tools allow them to learn in more detail and explore in a collaborative way while allowing you to create some great formative assessments to gauge exactly where your students are.  You can create your own free educator account on most LMSs if your school or district has not provided one to you.

Don’t currently have technology in your classroom to use but are excited at the prospect and want to begin discussion with your principal, supervisor or technology department?  NAfME has a great online publication – the Opportunity to Learn Standards – which will be helpful to review before you begin having those discussions.  The OTL standards have been prepared by the Council of Music Program Leaders with input from NAfME councils and describe what technological tools should be available to the teacher and the students in various music classrooms settings.

Already have access to some of the tools but interested in ideas on how to incorporate technology into your classroom in a meaningful way? Pepper has a number of excellent resources that can help you rise to a new level of technology use and integration – not for the sake of using it, but to take your teaching– and your students’ learning – to a whole new level!

Click here to explore music education and technology resources.

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