In the final chapter of the book, Bauer (2014) offers several ideas for continuing professional development using technology, and for using technology to increase productivity and make life easier as a teacher. Being a band director, there is so much more to our jobs than just teaching music. Between creating plans, making resources, developing assessment systems, record keeping, inventory control, communication, recruitment, and music advocacy--we barely have time to breathe some days! Technology can be a lifesaver in this regard and using the right tools can really make our jobs a lot easier.
A few years ago, we became a Google school and started using Google Drive and the cloud for nearly everything we do. The students all have chromebooks issued to them, and the use of this service has made things much easier, because we are no longer tied to one machine. This is especially good for me as I seem to have an incredible talent for bogging down machines! The use of Google's cloud based software has made communication, sharing and creation of resources much easier. I am looking to start implementing Google Classroom this year to share information with my kids as well as to hopefully have them upload some video assignments for assessment purposes, saving me time in lessons.
Bauer also discusses online communication with teachers around the country and encourages the sharing of ideas through many platforms. I have been linked up to blogs and twitter and have used aggregators before, so this was nothing new to me. I have been searching for a forum to share ideas, and found one through MSBandDirector.com, but unfortunately the forum is not very active. I have tried to join the Band Directors facebook group, but had some trouble. Recently I saw that they've changed their security, so my re-application is pending and hopefully I will be added soon. Living in a university town, I am lucky to have many colleagues in town and the surrounding area with whom I communicate regularly, and six other music professionals in my own school. This communication is vital, but having contact with people who do exactly what I do, like my counterpart at the other music school, is the most important resource. We text and email frequently, and share ideas and resources often.
Bauer (2014) also mentions online courses, MOOCs, and online degree programs, which is what I am doing right now through Kent State University. My husband teaches online through Penn State, and has a lot of familiarity with this new and exciting form of education. I have been very much enjoying this program, and am learning a lot that will make a big difference in my classroom. This method of learning has been very helpful for me, too, because I don't have to interrupt my teaching career for classwork, travel out of the area, or disrupt my home life too much. Penn State's masters program changed, requiring a year of residency, which I could not do, so I needed another option. This has worked out very well for me.
I have truly enjoyed this class, and finding new technologies to implement into my classroom. I started with a pretty good knowledge of many things, but was happy to learn more and to find some new and different things I had no idea existed.
Bauer, W.I. (2014) Music learning today: Digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York; Oxford University Press.