Smart Music 10.0 workshop at my school

May 30, 2007

I was contacted by a representative from Smart Music today with an offer to have a hands-on demonstration at my school for the new 10.0 version.  I jumped at the chance!  If you haven’t seen the new version, it has some very intriguing aspects including an online assessment module, which is extremely promising and a GREAT addition.  I’ve played around with the new version just a bit, and am also interested in the new concert band titles that are “smart-music assessable”.  I have gone the arduous route of inputing music in finale and translating it to smart music (a very time-intensive task even when scanning) and I welcome the expansion in this area!

Since it is summer, blogging will be more infrequent but I will update you all on any progress in this area.  I am sure that this new version of an already excellent product will be of great interest to the music education community.

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Digication campus- Leadership Tryouts

May 18, 2007

Today was our meeting for next year’s drum corps leadership candidates. I decided to try Digication Campus as a way to extend the learning and interaction beyond my classroom. Basically, I set up a course called “Leadership Seminar” and invited the leadership candidates via email to the course. The first task is to respond to a prompt on why they are seeking a leadership position.

The nice thing about digication campus is that you can set the preferences so that students can’t see other students’ replies. This is, in effect, a dropbox for assignments. Digication campus offers a comprehensive set of tools to communicate- forum-type posting, assignments, announcements (all forum style) but by clicking access checkboxes in the preferences, you can customize how those posts function and who can see/reply/access.

Another nice feature is the calendar- which allows all participants to be notified of upcoming events. There is an area to upload files (which are attached to posts) and a “links” area that is visible to all participants. Digication campus incorporates many of the features that make yahoo groups so versatile, but has given consideration to the special needs of teachers.

I have posted my first assignment and am awaiting student responses. Next, I plan to post several links related to leadership for my students to explore and reflect on. As a final project, I am going to have students create “spotlights” (another digication feature) that will be in effect their leadership portfolio. I will blog about the result of this “experiment” in future posts.

A Bloggable Moment: Visual learners in the Bandroom

May 15, 2007

Today confirmed something that I guess I’ve always known- the vast majority of my students are visual learners (Dunn, Thies, & Honigsfeld, 2001). After 18 years as a high school teacher, I certainly have been through my share of professional development and the study of learning styles, but it is only recently that I have made a concerted effort to bring learning theory into my daily teaching practice.

As a band director, I am always focused on my next performance. There have been countless times that I have “rote taught” rhythms (It goes like this, kids….) because of time constraints or some other pressing matter. In the past few years, I have dedicated myself to teaching concepts and assessing whether my students have learned the material. More about this in other posts, and I am also considering writing a book on the subject…

On to the “bloggable moment” which compelled me to write this entry- a wonderful “a-ha!” moment for my students during the study of that great gem of musical literature “Highlights from Pirates of the Carribean”. Yes, you read correctly. This particular arrangement has some wonderful opportunities for teaching 12/8 time, which was the focus of my lesson for the day.

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