Sunday, July 17, 2016

Books about the Internet

I find it very interesting to read books on current technology, because when it seems like most of our tech is changing so rapidly, by the time a book is out it is almost obsolete. That being said, Bauer's book has a lot of information in it, combined with sound educational ideas, and I'm finding it to be a stimulating read. Though I wish he would have included more information on cloud-based and browser-based technologies, he has a lot of basic information on programs and ideas that I was not completely up to date with, and is enhancing my knowledge of some things I do not have much familiarity with, though I see them being used by my colleagues. As a teacher in a school that has moved to Chromebooks for the students, I am eager to find alternatives to the programs discussed, especially things like Garage Band that are used for creating looped compositions. The new notation software such as MuseScore and Noteflight are very helpful for my teaching, because they are available for free use, which is most school districts' favorite price! I am very interested in seeing how these technologies grow and change in the near future. One issue I am having is finding the time to distill all the information and find the best of the best. Now with so much easy access to the internet and various platforms, it seems there are great blogs, podcasts, and sites everywhere but my days are not getting any longer. I think the use of twitter for more educational networking will help me to find excellent resources, but I will still keep an eye out for a new way to distill information and find the information I want in the quickest, easiest format. As Bauer says, "critical examination of potential learning resources is necessary." (Bauer, p. 40) As demands keep growing in our schools, and contact time shrinks, we must make use of every minute and make sure our students are receiving the best we as educators can give them. It's a tall order. The goal becomes both efficiency and effectiveness both in accessing information for my own use, and in sharing it with my students. One suggestion Bauer makes is to use Learning Management Systems to consolidate information and resources for the students as well as using it as a portfolio to keep records, videos, recordings, and assignments for evaluation (Bauer, p. 42-3). This is a tool I am really interested in delving into, and hope to use one, Google Classroom, in my classes this year. As most middle school teachers are well aware, kids that age often struggle with their executive functioning skills. Keeping copies of scale sheets, fingering charts, warm ups, and assigned etudes online will prevent the "I lost my music" excuse! I am excited by all the possibilities, and looking forward to digging into these tools more--my students deserve it! Bauer, W.I. (2014). Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York: Oxford University Press.


  1. Does your school offer one laptop per student or do students need to share? I really want to be able to use something like Soundation with my 7th and 8th grade students for a project, but we have a very limited amount of computers and don't think I will be able to have the computers for enough time to finish a project. I thought about trying to get grant money to purchase something I could just have in my classroom. I was thinking that some kind of tablets might be cheaper, but my personal preference would be ideally to use a desktop or at least a laptop. I would also need to have headphones. I could ask my students to bring in their own, but with only having my general music students once a week, many of them are going to forget and I will need some back ups. I think I will just have to experiment in the beginning with what I have. Does anyone have any suggestions for affordable, durable technology products that I could use in my classroom for programs like Soundation and Noteflight?

    1. Hi Maria,
      Our school has one Chromebook per student, and they take them home as well. Most classwork is done on them, and I don't think any kids have textbooks they take home any more; it's ll done virtually. I know that some music teachers have them bring their own earbuds, but they also have extra over-the-ear headphones in the room for kids who forget. Chromebooks are a really inexpensive web browser, but they work great. I am using one right now! They only cost about $200/each.