I’ve been on vacation all week and luckily have started to clear my mind and get motivated before our last big stretch before summer break. One of the things I did this week was head up to my Alma Mater to visit. I saw some old friends and was able to see a few former professors as well. As I was visiting one former professor I was reminded of the music technology class I took while going for my bachelors degree. To be completely honest..it wasn’t the best (I am SO sorry if my professor is reading this!). I of course did take it during the winter break but still..it was lack luster. We were taught Finale Notepad and Audacity, two programs that are important to know but that was all we learned. Where was everything else? the classroom equipment, the websites, the other software, hand held tools. If I hadn’t worked at our schools technology support desk I wouldn’t have known any of this. So I started thinking, if I was teaching a basic tech class for music education majors what would I want them to know? What basic tech skills should they be learning to help them in a real world job situation? Here are my top ten things:
1. Making a website or wiki page– I don’t mean coding in CSS or HTML or PHP, using a simple webpage maker or wiki creator is an important skill to help teachers build pages for your program. They can be the connection between you and the community letting everyone know what’s going on and how they can help out your students.
2. The right way to social network– It’s not just for staying in touch with friends. Social networking is now a great way to network with other teachers and be up to date on all things music education. Music ed majors need to start getting into this in college. It will make the transition from graduation to job so much easier when you have a PLN to guide you there! While you’re at figuring out how to work all this social networking why don’t you come join us for Music Ed Motivation Day! (http://www.cdwinal.com/musicedmotivationday.htm)
3. Setting up a speaker system– We all put on shows, there are speaker systems involved and a lot of the time you are the only one in the school who supposably knows how to use it!
4.Using video and audio recording equipment– All music teachers have some sort of performance or performing ensemble that needs to be video tapped or audio recorded. Knowing how to use recording equipment is an important tool!
5. Websites– It is so important to have a huge list of websites you can use with classes. That way when a reinforcement activity or a visual is needed for a concept you are teaching you already have it!
6. Apps and Ipads/Ipod Touches– Ipads/Ipod Touches and apps are becoming more and more important and prominent in the world of education. Knowing how to use them successfully and integrate them into your class is going to be a big must.
7. Interactive Whiteboards– Self explanatory, just knowing how to operate them and use them in a music classroom is another important tool in a teacher’s tech arsenal.
8. Creating Performance CDs– Recording all the audio, editing it, putting it in to a play list and then burning it to a disc might seem simple to the avid tech user but not everyone knows how to do it. Learn how to make one!
9.Composition software and midi equipment– Especially if you end up teaching middle or high school, music technology classes are becoming more well known and one class that a lot of students get excited about. Having the knowledge to work all the devices for creating professional quality music with your students will open up a whole new world and make you more of a well known prescience in school.
10.HOW TO INTEGRATE!– One of the most important things I’ve learned is to never use technology for the sake of using technology. Find a question you want your students to answer or maybe a concept you want to reinforce and figure out how to use technology as a tool to help you with that quest.