Times they are a-changin’

Why would I take time to bother with this foolish notion of blogging when I have a marching band show to produce, class lists to pour over, instruments to be repaired, music to select, camp to plan…etc…etc…?  Because after 18 years of teaching I have been challenged to fundamentally question the way I have been teaching music for my entire career.

For me, it started in 2003 when I recieved my Master’s Degree in integrating technology in the classroom.  I have to be honest- I thought that this would be the quickest and easiest way to the next pay column and was perfectly content to go through the motions (being a tech-saavy band director what could they possibly teach me that would impact the band classroom?)  Then I saw Dr. David Thornburg…and everything changed for me.  When I heard him speak so eloquently about how our kids are different now “digital natives” and that they are “wired differently” to learn differently because of their access to technology- that was all it took to start the wheels turning.

Last year I was selected (one of 50 teachers from my district) to participate in the NeXt Generation Learning project in Sarasota County Schools.  Inspired by the writings of Thomas Friedman and his book The World is Flat we set out to define what teaching and learning will look like in the 21st Century.

This year’s three-week Summer Institute (That’s right, 3 weeks of my summer for 8 hrs. a day) included two Keynote Speakers that caused me to question how effective my classroom really was.  Alan November and David Warlick introduced us to the world of blogging and podcasting.  In example after example of hard data and research they showed us that kids really do learn differently and that we are losing them by trying to force them to learn the way we did.  While listening to them I couldn’t help but picture my rehearsals (and those of my colleagues).  I realized that music education has really not changed all that much since its beginnings.

I decided to invest some of my precious “band director time” into this blog to share the way my classroom will change (and has already begun changing) with those that, like me, have seen the incredible potential that the new technology tools bring to education.  I welcome comments from my like minded colleagues sharing how they have changed their classrooms- we are at the very beginning of an incredibly exciting time for teaching!

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3 Responses to Times they are a-changin’

  1. Owen,

    Congratulations on your new blog, and great luck to you on the coming school year. I think that in a lot of ways, band is taught the way that kids learn. The don’t learn to learn. The learn to be better, to contribute, to be a member, to be more than any one of them can be. There is so much, and being in the band helped to make both of my children’s high school experience much richer than it would otherwise have been.

    Again, great luck to you!

    — dave —

  2. […] July 10 The Digital Music Educator Owen Bradley starts out with Times they are a-changin’ […]

  3. Mary Kelly says:

    Hi, i just thought i’d post and let you know your blogs layout is really messed up on the K-Melon browser. Anyhow keep up the good work.

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