Collaboration, big word I know but not unfamiliar to everyone. We think of the word collaboration as a way for our students to work together in groups or by classes in our school to achieve independent learning and discovery with the facilitation and guidance of a teacher like ourselves. Before the wonders of technology came around we could only collaborate in OUR school we taught at and ours alone. Then those creative and full of idea people we like to call programmers started to collaborate and come out with hundreds of ways we could connect with students and teachers in other schools, towns, districts, states, even countries. With the websites and tools available to us now, there is no limit to the ways we can connect and collaborate with each other to increase our students knowledge and experience with music.
I am currently involved in 2 collaborative activities with other schools. One will start next week where a friend from college and I are getting our 2nd and 3rd graders to write A B and C sections of music and putting them together to make one song. We hope to possibly get a skype session in there to increase the familiarity with the classes and we’ll be passing our drafts back and forth using Edmodo!
The second activity is with Andy Bowman’s choir (@music_andrew23) in Missouri. We met through Twitter, we talked about it over email, Skype, and Twitter and we got our choirs together to sing for each other and evaluated each other after. Now we have our students connected to an Edmodo account so we can continue the connection made and keep it going until hopefully the year ends!
Some ways my students and I connect with eachother and other schools:
Skype!– Biggest and best, Getting on a video chat with another school to share songs, share stories and even just ask questions is a big thing (Want to chat with me or my classes? add me! musiccargirl14)
Edmodo– It’s like Facebook but you as a teacher can control it and use it for education. You can create groups, talk with students and connect with other educators.
Quavermusic.com– My students share songs within Quaver.com using our school account. They can save work and then another student can open it up later and add more.
Aviary.com– My 5th loves this. A project we do every year is going on to Aviary and creating a Roc beat then bringing it into Myna where they can add Quantum tracks to it. My students can share beats and Myna mixes they have made with each other and add on to theirs.
Now, we have our student collaboration, but what about ourselves? Collaborating keeps a teacher motivated, collaborating pushes the creative boundaries and keeps us focused and motivated. Get going on a PLN, it’s never too late and you will have friends from all over the world in no time ready to share ideas, lend a helping hand with troubles, and be there to support and motivate. Are you a music educator? Try these sites to GET CONNECTED:
musicpln.org– It’s Facebook for music educators. We have our profiles, we have our disscussion forums. It’s amazing.
twitter.com– There are so many chats and contacts you can connect with to make your twittering worthwhile. Use the hashtags, #musedchat, #mpln, or #mused to start getting connected. Join a bunch of us in a discussion every monday night at 8pm est to talk about music education and go to http://mustech.net/projects/musictwitter to add some of the top Music ed twitterers on the site. (I’m @musiccargirl14)
Plurk.com– Not as well known but has been a staple for me for years is Plurk. Its more organized than Twitter and provides a little more privacy. I love it as much as Twitter. (I’m cat2260)
Facebook– I know, used a lot to just post pictures and random statuses to friends. It can keep you connected though and is used a lot by students and parents a like. Great way to get information out or to keep friends you went to college with to become a music educator. Keeping up the connections you made in college are big.
I love being able to collaborate not only with other schools but also with other teacher. Get connected, get collaborating. Let’s build a web and unite to give our students the best music education out there.