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Saturday, May 2, 2015

OneNote Reflection

                OneNote would be very useful to me in my classroom. After going through these tutorials, I found a lot of value in using this program. One aspect that I really like is that I could develop a lesson plan, put all types of supplemental materials (i.e. pictures, videos, and audio clips) in the project, and have students follow right along with the lesson. Everything I would need for a lesson can be put into a OneNote template and used in a classroom. A tool that I found very valuable is the ability to tag items in a OneNote project. Using this, I could navigate to what I need to through a lesson with the simple click of a button. 


                Next school year, I want to try using more ways of using technology to communicate with my students and families outside of the classroom setting. One way I can do this is through using my classroom blog, but also, now I can use OneNote to communicate with my students. I like the idea of being able to give assignments and feedback to students all online and they can check it at their leisure. I see OneNote being a very beneficial tool to my teaching.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Week 7 Reflection

                I found this week’s reading to be a nice refresher of the ways in which technology can be used on a regular basis to make functioning at work possible. There are certain technological uses that I have in place such as my classroom blog. However, this chapter has presented me with some ideas to add onto my blog. Mostly, I simply post pictures of events that my groups have attended or special lessons that I take pictures of and post on the blog. At the beginning of next year, I would like to develop a calendar on the blog to share with parents and possibly administrators to keep everyone updated on events going on throughout the school year. Also, the discussion of communities of practice (Bauer, 2014, p. 176) interested me. This would be a great idea for all of the music teachers in the school district where I teach to get involved in. As teachers, we always discuss how we do not have time to interact with each other outside of our four meetings throughout the school year. Creating a community of practice would give us a chance to stay in communication with each other on a regular basis and work together to gain professional development.
                Bauer (2014, p. 185) mentions that one of the best ways for a person to develop his/her TPACK is to use it on a regular basis. I have found that I work the same way. I can listen to all of the tutorials and read all of the instructions on how to use a particular type of program, but the best way for me to learn how to use it, is to actually use it. This course has presented several new technologies that I am very excited to try to use. SmartMusic is a program that I am going to try and get my district to buy for my classes next year. Also, this week, we are learning about using the OneNote program. Just watching the tutorials has encouraged me to start using this in my classrooms. I would like to use this as a tool for my students to learn and find resources to aid in their learning. Also, OneNote seems like a very useful tool to help share information that needs to go out to students and to parents.
                Reflecting back on this week’s reading, most of the content in this chapter is material that I am already aware of. A lot of the content, such as blogs, and online education, I can relate to because I try to use it as much as I can. In order to learn more about the music technology available to music teachers, I would like for our district to sponsor more professional development in this area. Besides simply doing it ourselves, having professional development would be the best way for us to implement these new technologies into our classrooms and to remain current on even newer technologies.

Reference

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week 6 Reflection - Responding to Music

This chapter discussed the ways in which people respond to music. The content that focused on the difference between hearing music and listening to music was interesting to me. Hearing music is simply the basic awareness of sounds around you. Listening to music is the attentiveness to those sounds and making meaning out of them (Bauer, 2014, p. 107). Bauer (p.107) also mentions that listening to music is contextual in that music listening is usually done while performing some other activity such as driving the car, or doing household chores. I remember back in the first week of class when we had to conduct interviews with our students and peers about their use of technology. Most of my students mentioned that they used their devices primarily for social networking but secondly for listening to music. Every student mentioned that they like to listen to music while they are performing some other task.
                The blog that I user for this class, www.herrerachoralprogram.blogspot.com is my actual classroom website. Before this class, this website rarely was utilized and was there for parents to look at if they ever felt inclined to do so. Through this course I have generated some ideas about how to use the blog to the advantage of my students in the future. Bauer (2014, p. 112) suggest that teachers could create playlists for students to listen to while they are out of school. Since a lot of music listening is done in conjunction with something else, I could encourage the students to play the music from the prescribed playlist while they are performing some other task. When the discussion occurs in class about the music they heard, perhaps the students will be more open to discuss their observations of the music itself.
                Reading the remainder of chapter five, I appreciated that Bauer not only emphasized the use of technology, but he discussed ways in which this technology can be applied in the classroom. For instance, Bauer discusses the two standard ways to conceptualize the nature of knowledge; declarative, and procedural (2014, p. 115). Focused more on the declarative side of knowledge, Bauer laid out methods in which technology can be used to facilitate this type of knowledge in the classroom setting. Not only that, he was also very specific with the types of music content he presented using this technology for. After reading this chapter, I feel like I am walking away with several new ideas for music lessons in my class. I also feel like that I have some general ideas on the methods I would use to present this content and make my lessons more students drive and teacher facilitated.

Reference

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week 5 Reflection

This week’s reading focused on assessments and instructional design. Bauer (2014, p. 147) discusses that people learn in contextual, active, social, and reflective ways. What I appreciated about this information was how Bauer described each type of learning and gave an example of how technology and can enhance each type of learning. Learning does not only happen on one’s own, it also happens when people interact with each other. This is known as “social cognitive learning” (Bauer, p. 148). Reading this, it made think about our composition project for next school year. I think I will have the students work together and use one of the website or free program resources provided throughout this course. Each student will be given an opportunity to critique someone else’s work and receive feedback on their own work. Perhaps doing these types of projects together may help promote student-directed learning.
It was during a professional development workshop this year that I heard about project-based-learning for the first time. Since then, I have often wondered how this method of learning could be incorporated into my general music classroom. The examples listed by Bauer (2014, p. 151) gave me some great ideas and starting points for incorporating PBL in my classroom for next year. Often times, some of 4th and 6th grade classes are relatively small due to students being pulled out for band or orchestra. PBL would be great for those small classes. It would be easy for me to find computers for them to use because I would not have to require a lot of equipment. Also, this may take away from the intimidation factor of being in a small class.
Bauer (2014, p. 137) mentions three types of assessment that can be used when evaluating students; checklists, rating scales, and rubrics. I agree with Bauer that checklists are useful but only signify a minimal level of understanding. In my teaching, I have found that simple checklists are valuable when doing an informal formative assessment at the sub-objective level. I like to use rubrics when doing a formative assessment of an entire lesson or a summative assessment of an entire unit. Rubrics are very effective when assessing students because they are based on specific criteria which are outlined in the rubric itself. This school year, I actually had my students help me create the rubric, using an online rubric generator, and used that to critique our concert. We reviewed the elements of vocal singing that we have worked on and placed them into a rubric. In doing this, I noticed the feedback I received from the students was much more descriptive and accurate than in years past.
Overall, I feel like Bauer did a nice job of explaining how technology can be used to enhance each style of learning. Also, technology can used to assess learning and the examples and ideas provided have given me some new insights into my future teaching. Not only that, I have found that the technology that I have used to date, has been beneficial to my students’ education. While I continue to explore more technology, I am finding more and more value in using it.

References

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Herrera Junior High Concert Choir warming up before performing for the Arizona Choral Educators (ACE) Adjudication Festival. 
Saturday, April 11th 
Mesa, Arizona

Sunday, April 12, 2015

                Chromatik is a program that allows users to find sheet music relatively easy, and free of cost. The program also allows the user to listen to the music and follow along in the score. The user may then begin practicing their piece. Options to record and video yourself are available through this program. Users can share their recordings to their instructor and/or any other listener and receive feedback and track their progress. This application has a metronome, tuner, editing materials, and recording materials available to aid in practicing. The user can actually make notes on the online score. Navigating through this program is relatively easy. Finding the metronome, and tuner, and getting those set to where they are needed is not a difficult process.
                From a personal standpoint, SmartMusic just looks fun! SmartMusic seems to be geared more toward education. Students can look at their individual part, and practice it. The computer will follow along and make note of any mistakes that are made. Students can see which notes they played incorrectly, and which notes played early, or late. If a student has a question about specific fingerings, there is a pop-up window which will display the fingering patter for a particular note. This program also allows students to loop certain sections of the music in order to master those particular sections. Proper practice habits can be developed using this program. See the picture below from www.smartmusic.com to see where these functions can be found. Navigating through the website seemed relatively simple, but I do not have a subscription to the program, so I cannot attest to the simplicity of working through it. The band director in the educational video mentioned that the program is relatively simple to use.

                Both of these programs can be very useful to use in the classroom. SmartMusic and Chromatik can be used to supply sheet music to students. Chromatik is a free application that students, teachers, and parents can download and SmartMusic comes with a price. However, with that price, more music is available on SmartMusic than Chromatik. Each one comes equipped with a metronome and tuner to help students stay in time, and play or sing in tune. SmartMusic will visually show students where the mistakes were made and where attention needs to be focused. Chromatik does not offer that assistance but it still aids in the development of proper practice habits.
                The downside to using Chromatic is that most of the options that aid in practicing such as the metronome, tuner, and recording devices, are only available on the application version, not the web version. While most of my students have a smartphone, iPad, or tablet, not all of them have access to that equipment. However, students that do have that equipment could easily use this application to help themselves. SmartMusic is available using the web. Not all of my students have access to a computer at home but they all have access to the computer lab at the school. They could even use the computer in the music room. SmartMusic is designed for the education classroom. Students can access parts of a band, orchestra, or choral score and practice their individual parts. Students can even find method book resources on there as well. Chromatik offers more solo repertoire, and popular culture literature, which is still valuable to the education of students.


                 Both of these programs offer methods of assessment for students. Chromatik allows the students to record small fifteen second clips of sound, or video. The teacher can listen and watch and give feedback on the progress of their students. SmartMusic allows the teacher to give assignments to the students, and then the students can complete the assignment. As the students are working on the assignment, SmartMusic will give immediate feedback and once students are satisfied with their quality of work, they can submit the assignment up to the teacher for the teacher to give feedback. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Week 4 reflection

This week’s reading focused on how students learn to play, sing, read, and notate music. In the beginning of chapter four Bauer discusses technology that can help motivate students to practice on their own. He mentions one specific program in length, SmartMusic  (p. 83). Personally, do not use that program for accompaniment purposes because I have advanced piano skills. If I am not playing the piano, I can record the accompaniments using the Audacity program and play it back for the students. However, as I was reading, I was thinking that SmartMusic would be very beneficial for my students who attend solo and ensemble and all-state festivals. Bauer (p. 84) mentions that the SmartMusic program can help to develop proper practice habits. Using this program might help make it easier for me to assess my students’ progress as well. Not only could this program be useful for these special types of events, but perhaps I could use it for sectional rehearsals when I can’t always be in the room with the students.
                I agree with Bauer on the importance of using visuals while teaching to help the learners comprehend the material. Never would I have thought that using an audio waveform as a visual would be beneficial to students. Audacity is a program that I am very comfortable using for playing back accompaniments. After reading this chapter, I would like to try to make a recording of my students rehearsing a particular piece and use that waveform for the students to develop their understanding of dynamic contrast. While the conductor typically wants students to focus on him or her, using audacity students can watch the music as they are recording it and adjust their performance as they go along. This will help enhance their listening skills to develop musicality and blend in an ensemble.
                This chapter presented using technology in such a way that seems very simple. One of the complaints that I always hear about technology is how much time it takes to figure out and integrate it into the classroom. The technologies, and suggestions for how to use them, do not seem as if they would take an extraordinary amount of time to utilize. In fact, a lot of the technology was student driven. The Audacity program presented does takes less than two to three minutes to set up and get ready to record. This is something that teachers could do minutes before students walk in to class. I appreciate how this chapter presented using technology in such a way that did not seem intimidating.

References

Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

               I found the first section of this week’s reading very confusing. While I find myself fairly proficient with using technology, I have a difficult time understanding how it works. The biggest question I have is; what is the difference between MIDI and Digital Audio? In my mind, I see them as devices used to compose, record, and playback music. I don’t understand what makes one different from the other. Is it the method of input? Is it the type of program used? Are they drastically different from one another?
                In contrast, the portion of the reading that focused on composition was very enlightening. Bauer did a nice job at explaining the pedagogy to composition as well as to composition using technology. The twelve interactions between student-composer and the teacher lay out the ideal qualities we would like to instill within our students. Bauer has listed these strategies (pp. 61-62), and each of them helps to develop multiple ways of thinking and problem solving. The following three strategies were the three I feel are the most influential.
                8. Prompt the students to engage in self-analysis.
                9. Encourage goal setting and task identification.
                10. Engage in joint problem finding and problem solving.

These three strategies are enabling and teaching students to become self-sufficient. This not only works in composition, but in all areas of education. A well-rounded education can be achieved using these types of strategies.

                While using music composition software can be helpful, it can also be detrimental to a student’s musical education if not used correctly. It’s not enough that students can write notes down on paper, they need to be able to expect what they want to hear in their mind (audiate) before it is written down (Bauer, p. 66). Bauer presents icon-based software that can be used for students, particularly younger students, who may not be fluent in reading music notation yet (p. 64). I see this type of software being useful in my class to help support the development of my students’ ability to audiate music and develop an expectation of what they want to hear. It also fuels the ability to reason and justify why specific choices were made in composition. Not only do these programs make composing more accessible for children, it can also take away some of the anxiety that teachers may have had about teaching students to compose. These programs present composing in a fun and simple way to promote student creativity and individuality.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Reflection to Noteflight

Noteflight is an online program that allows people to compose music without having to download anything onto the computer. The program allows users to input all items one might need in order to compose a composition. What is unique about this program, is that it gives users to option to share their work with others and possibly collaborate with others on each other’s work. These options make this program very useful in the music classroom. Students can compose their own music, but they can also check each other’s work and make comments and critiques. Also, the entire class could collaborate together to create one large composition. The best part about this program is the fact that is free, which makes it very appealing to educators. There are options to pay for the more advanced program however, for schools the free version will be sufficient. 
My first Noteflight project!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Reflection to reading - Music Technology Week 2

This week’s reading focuses on the “creating” process of music, particularly improvisation. Reading this portion of chapter three opened a window of opportunity for me. This past winter, I exposed my junior high choir students to some jazz music. As we all are aware, improvisation is embedded heavily in jazz. Next year, I plan on incorporating more jazz repertoire in my curriculum both in chorus and general music. The one element that I decided to spend the least amount of time on is improvisation. Bauer (p. 55) explains that the use of certain technology programs can provide accompaniments for the students to explore improvisation as well as record themselves to listen back. Through reading this text, I have discovered that technology can help to enhance students’ abilities and confidence with improvisation. Using this technology could expose my students to a whole new world of creativity. I appreciate how Bauer explains the seven steps for the process of learning to improvise as well.
The use of this technology is very valuable to music education. As stated in the reading from last week, students can take ownership of their own learning. Granted, teachers will need to be there to facilitate and answer any questions, but students can learn to improvise, record, critique, and revise on their own. Trying to get students to excel in creativity and critical thinking has become very important and this technology can assist students in developing those processes.  
One trend that I have found in my teaching is that a lot of my general music students do not particularly care to learn how to read, and write music, or study about the life and music of Mozart. However, most of them spend much of their time at home listening to music. At the beginning of chapter three, Bauer (p. 45) mentions a teacher who teaches the students how to take music and manipulate through the use of technology. I would like to look into these types of programs to see if perhaps I can connect with more of my students. My goal is to not train to students to become professional musicians, but to appreciate music in all of its forms. The use of this technology can help to engage students even more in the classroom and explore their creative potential.
I have heard of certain programs like SmartMusic, Sibelius, and Finale when I was working on undergraduate work, but I never imagined that these programs would be accessible for students that are still in elementary or high school. After reading these chapters and listening to the online videos, I have found that a lot of these programs can be used at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. Bauer explains that a lot of these programs can and should be used in the music classroom pre-college because of the benefits that they haves on the education of students. It has never occurred that these programs would benefit the students that simply love music as a hobby, not as a career. I am beginning to see more and more the value of these technologies in education and how they can enhance the learning capabilities of students.


Reference list

Bauer, W. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Reflection to reading - Music Technology Week 1

            Based on what I read in chapter one of William Bauer’s Music Learning Today: Digital Pedagogy for Creating, Performing, and Responding to Music, technology has become, and continues to become even more, an integral part of everyday life and education. People have the capability to socialize, and collaborate with people from all over the world through the use of social media and digital technology. Students are able to communicate with their friends and family members through social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many others. They can also communicate with each other through the use of video games either on consoles or handheld mobile devices.
Educators use technology in their classrooms every day, whether is through use of computers, whiteboards, projects, etc. The use of technology, particularly digital technology, has shown to slightly improve students’ learning capabilities (Bauer, p. 7).  In my teaching situation, every classroom at my school has an interactive smartboard setup. I typically only use the smartboard to post my objectives for the day and show videos to my students. There are times when I have students come up to the smartboard and use it as a learning tool. Bauer states that today’s youth are considered to be digital natives and are immersed in technology (p. 5). My students are quite savvy when it comes time to interactively use the smartboard or any other source of technology in the room.
I would like to expand on what Bauer writes in this first chapter. I have found the digital technology not only enhances my students’ learning capabilities, but it also helps keep my students engaged throughout the class. I appreciate the statement made by Bauer (p. 7) that through the use of technology, students can take control over their own learning. In our school district, there is a push toward student-centered learning. The teacher should not be the only one directing the learning, the students need to take partial responsibility for their own education. The use of technology allows students to take on that responsibility with a hands-on approach to education as well as keep students engaged.
A shift in my teaching style was made at the beginning of this school year. I really wanted to focus on the “creating” component of music education. This year, and in past years, I have had my students compose brief compositions using tradition staff paper and acoustic instruments. However, the lesson was always prefaced with an interactive digital lesson on the smartboard where students used a website to create a “hip-hop” style musical background. The compositions were then performed, typically on the piano by the teacher, using the background music. In reading this chapter, I have discovered ways in which students can compose music using something other than the tradition pen and paper. While I thought my students did well with their compositions, I feel like students might be able to tap into their creative sides even more using certain programs such as Music-COMP. Technology in the classroom is there for a reason: to assist the teacher and the students in creating a learning environment suitable for everyone.    
References:

Bauer, W. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.