In reading the ISTE Standards for teachers (International Society for Technology in Education) I was struck by the first standard, “Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity”. I learned that teachers are supposed to use their knowledge of technology and subject matter to aid students in having experiences that inspire their own creativity. I feel this is important because the use of technology in the classroom can be incredibly inspiring to students or it can destroy them. If students are not shown how to properly use a technology, they can become frustrated and disillusioned with that technology. It creates a barrier to learning and will cause a distrust between students and teachers. If on the other hand, a teacher is able to show students how to use a particular technology in a way that makes it interesting and inspiring, students will be more interested in using the technology in other projects, they will become more creative with their work and will likely continue to find new and innovative uses for that technology.
For example, in class we were asked to create a quick video that could be used in teaching such as a public service announcement. We got into small groups and my group decided to go into the cafeteria to show different types of food. We used an iPhone and took video of us talking about food and showing the different healthy options that were available. After we had completed our task we edited the video using iMovie. For some reason, iMovie was not working for me on my computer and I became incredibly frustrated with the technology. (Which is why I am only writing about this project NOW.) I gave up on the idea of using that technology as a result of becoming frustrated with it. I am lucky however that I have a fiancé who is a computer software developer and he encouraged me to get familiar with iMovie. I have since used it to create other video projects and appreciate it’s purpose. I am glad that though my first experience with video was not a good one, I was given other chances by my professor to use this technology because it is good and does inspire creativity. All this to say, teachers need to ensure that they facilitate these creative projects and give students many chances to get familiar with a technology so that they can become inspired and integrate it in their lives for the good of learning.
Over the course of this term my view have shifted slightly and yet I have stood firm in my philosophy of teaching. These shifts I have experienced I can see manifested in my teaching style itself and the flexibility with which I approach my lessons and the open-mindedness I am finding with using technology in my teaching. Witnessing the teaching styles of different professors that I have had the privilege of listening to each week has inspired me. I find that my teaching has changed for the better and my thoughts about teaching and learning have evolved. I am more enthusiastic with my students; I have employed further use of technology in my teaching such as utilizing music notation software and video recording my students and myself to aid in learning new techniques. I feel that the use of media and technology in teaching can aid in creating an inclusive classroom as there are many different ways of using the tools that are available to us and everyone is able to choose a different method.
Throughout one’s career and life of teaching and learning, I believe that as educators it is our duty to continue learning and that even as we teach we are learning new things through our teaching. I have continued to notice how much I am actually learning from my students. They show me things that I may improve in myself, they show me ways in which I have been unclear and most importantly, I learn how I may improve my teaching. There are even instances where my students, both younger and older have ideas in how to play something in a different way. I am constantly finding new ways of explaining concepts when I am teaching and new ways of discovering music.
In addition to learning from my professors and my students, I have learned new methods of utilizing technology in my learning and teaching. While I had composed two other blogs in addition to this prior to my media and technology course, I was given the opportunity to explore many different forms of technology. Technologies I was able to use in addition to social networks included learning how to use iMovie and Quicktime to create and edit screencasts and video. I also discovered new music notation software and social network for composers, “Musescore” that in my opinion is just as good as Finale or Sibelius and is free! I was able to use my skills in explanation to create a video about putting the flute together and used different methods of filming this with a new device from Garmin; the VIRB Action Camera. I was also afforded the opportunity to use Audacity and to create an original recording of myself that touched on key issues of our society in the disappearance of Indigenous Women.
If this class has done one thing for me, it has opened my eyes to the possibility that technology affords us endless options for education. I am finding myself more comfortable with exploring these different options and more at ease with just jumping into using new software and media platforms. During the term I found myself using ideas and skills I learned in my media and technology class in other classes and other projects and vice-versa. This tells us that everything we do within the vocation of Education is connected and that we will always be able to learn from one another and from our students as well. I am looking forward to seeing what new technologies are introduced in the next years and how I can include everything that I have learned in my future teaching.
This is a link to the website of the National Center on Universal Design for Learning: http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/whatisudl/3principles
I feel it is important to include the UDL in my philosophy for teaching because not all students learn the same way. There are three principles in UDL the first of which is to provide students with multiple means of learning. This principle demonstrates that in the way students learn differently, as teachers we must provide multiple ways for students to get to a common goal in learning. It is essential to provide students with options. This is described by the National Center on UDL as the “what” of learning. I see this every day with my music students. I adjust my teaching method for each student I teach, depending on what that student needs from me that day.
The second principle is to provide students with multiple means of action and expression. The “how” of learning. In this principle, students may differ in the way that they express what they have learned. Some students may be comfortable with speaking, while others need to use actions and some may need to write what they learn. Students will have different ways of showing us as teachers what they have learned and it is important to provide them with options in demonstration of what they have learned. For example, in music it is customary to give playing tests. As a teacher I can give my students a choice whether they prefer to play alone, in a group, in a recording or in front of me. There are many ways to see how a student has learned and what they have learned as well as many ways to assess this.
Finally principle three states to provide multiple means of engagement. The “why” of learning. Students will always be interested in what learning something will give them and they often need to know “why” they are doing something. While some students may love composing and improvising on their instruments, others may simply want to play what is on the page. It is important to know as a teacher, when to be spontaneous and when to play safe with certain students, while at the same time engaging all students equally and providing a means to an end.
The clip below is the best video I have ever seen that clearly and concisely explains in what way playing a musical instrument benefits your brain. Anyone involved in music and music education should watch this.