Wednesday, August 11, 2010

11 Tools Reflection

I definitely enjoyed playing with Photostory and digital storytelling. There were vast resources for me included in those tools, sources for music and photo applications, that I have really been needing in the classroom for a while now. I "made do" with others, but these do exactly what I need and will save me a TON of time and energy.
I'm always looking for more ways to use technology in my classroom effectively, and these tools will certainly help. I think that some of them applied to music more appropriately than others, but I can see how just knowing that they exist will come in handy down the road.

Tool #11

Digital citizenship is a big deal in education. The first thing students need to understand is that once they post, or publish, or tweet, or state their status, or anything it is PERMANENT and cannot be deleted. There are infinite copies and they can never be erased. Students need to be vigilant that what they are contributing is viable and worthy of sharing.
Etiquette is also important - we create rules for class and small group work that as teachers we can easily monitor, but when it comes to outputting information digitally, it is much easier for students to publish without self-monitoring. This is dangerous for us as educators as well; why weren't we monitoring our class appropriately when Susie posted that statement about George? It all happens so quickly, without well-established norms in the classroom we can run into problems.

Tool # 10

The first app I viewed was the NASA app through iTunes - I thought it was pretty cool to access the launch schedule, mission information, and beautiful photos. The second app I found was Baby Piano Lite also through iTunes. This one presented a piano onscreen, and the user was able to create songs by playing them on the "piano"

I'm not a hater, but I think that for the money spent on this technology (itouch, etc.) in elementary schools particulary, we could have gotten technology better geared toward actual curriculum. The piano app is cool, but will not substitute for a digital keyboard and recording station, which would allow the student to develop proper instrumental technique and still enjoy the benefits of recording technology.

Its not that I don't like itouches, etc., but the whole purpose of them, and the apps, is to create a piece of technology that is highly personalized. This is impossible to do efficiently and effectively when 25 kids in a room are sharing the same 2 pieces of equipment. It also focuses on entertainment based learning instead of enquiry based learning. I appreciate it, personally think its cool, but don't think it has much place in an elementary school when we could use so many other things.


I can see using Jing with my colleagues more than my students, simply because of the nature of the beast. However, I can definitely see where such an application would be great for explaining homework instructions in detail and reviewing expectations, etc. Skyping is one of those things that is fantastic when it works, but cruddy when it doesn't. The potential here is so great, but requires web cameras, which were not in our technology upgrade. I would love to see more communication between schools, but I see the wiki as being a more usable tool in our district currently. Although, if they were willing to pay for the technology that we have learned in this "inservice" (hint hint) I would certainly be willing to use it, and could apply it effectively.

Tool #8

Love this video for demonstrating musicianship to kids! I have found Blinkx to be helpful, but only on days that I would have time to continuously mute the ads for depression medications. The videos it finds are very good, but tend to be buried. I was happy to find that the "minus" feature was usable in the search box, however, so I was able to separate the wheat from the chaff a bit. Definitely a tool I would use in the planning stages of a lesson to jot down ideas for using video media effectively.

Tool #7

I loved this activity - it was very easy to use and I can see using it with my students in the classroom very easily - particularly with their research projects. It was fantastic to find a music resource for royalty free music - I will be sure to use it again. Though I forgot to credit him in my photo story, Kevin MacLeod is my hero!!! Keep creating free music!

Tool #6

I did all of the tools last week, and am now, rather reflectively, blogging about them, due to issues with scheduling etc. Anyoo - this weeks subject is the WIKI. I like using Wikipedia when I need basic knowledge about a subject, but I always tell my students to treat anything they find on the web with suspicion and verify with secondary sources.
In other news, creating a wiki would be a useful tool for my purposes to coordinate with music teachers on other campuses, researching a subject like "composers" and creating a wiki for it. Each school could be responsible for different people, and they can publish their results and see what other people posted - a little compare/contrast exercise. Now that I think about it - thats really a pretty good idea...I've got a phone call to make...