Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Music to My Ears

It is easy to gauge success as a teacher of students. It is harder to gauge success as a technology integration specialist. Why I am thrilled by this success is because this came from the teacher! I only planted a seed awhile ago. But I never said, "Hey, for this assignment why don't you....." Our gifted music teacher did this by herself. She asked for help in its execution, but it was her idea. Hearing her interest in doing this was indeed "music to my ears".

In his SAMR model, Puentedera explains that  the best use of technology falls in the transformative stages of modification and redefinition. In her music composition class, +Michele Zuckman,  gave an assignment that did just this. For starters, she had students use Noteflight to compose their scores. At the very least, this component of the assignment already shifted the learning to the Augmentation level, though I feel parts of it sit at the Modification level as without a keyboard students can compose and then listen to the music they have created, which I feel is significant task redesign. More importantly, using Noteflight (somewhat) easily allowed for the next steps of the assignment of which you will read after the fold.

Michele asked her students to compose a song inspired an image of their choosing. As stated above, most students created these songs on Noteflight  an online music notation program. In its free version (we use the enhanced paid version at school) Noteflight lets you "create, view, print, hear and share professional quality music notation right in your browser..... You can keep your scores private, share them or embed them on your own web pages." Instead of Noteflight, several students used GarageBand (MacOS) to compose their songs. By the way, here are some GarageBand alternatives if you don't have MacOS or IOS. 

Once the students completed their music, most used iMovie though some used WeVideo to create videos of their mp4s and then uploaded these songs to YouTube. I used WeVideo for the first time as I helped a student get an mp4 up into a YouTube playlist. By the way, I really like WeVideo. It is very easy. However, you'll have to get the paid version if you want to use it often because of limits on uploads in the free version. 

Technology moved this assignment into a redefinition phase in the way students shared this work with others. Before technology, the only audience for these songs would have been the teacher and perhaps fellow classmates. But Michele's next steps were "game-changers" First,  Michele hung the pictures which inspired the music in our school's art gallery. Next to them, she created a QR code of the YouTube Playlist. Viola!, an interactive art and music exhibit. Viewers of art become listeners of music as they listen to the songs accompanying the pictures. 

Additionally this work can be archived, save and shared. I made a simple new Google Site so you can get a sense of the project and students' work.  

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