All Said And Done…

This was a great way for me to explore Web 2.0.   Going back to how we started this class, talking about the keys to success and learning, I think the approach of taking time to play with technology and learn it is such a successful way for me to begin to really think through how and why to use each tool.  When we go to a class and sit there, we are so focused on just HOW to make it work, that we don’t really get the chance to think through why and when.  In the end, we forget the HOW because it didn’t fit into any useful context to us, and eventually we don’t bother.

I think some of the most fun with the class was the relationship building that happened through comments and emails – something that I always feared would be lacking in an on-line atmosphere.  The experience in and of itself was a learning opportunity for me.  I’m no longer as worried that eventually technology will take over and we will all be obese, smelly, light sensitive, in door dwellers who sit at computers all day and never have reason to leave the house or interact.

Clearly, this class is by no way the end of an education.  As all good learning experiences should be, the class was really just a beginning.  It gives us the tools we need to begin to explore and find out own way through the web 2.0 tools, but it never took us away from the idea that we are not teaching web 2.0, WE ARE USING IT TO TEACH.  Back to what I said earlier, this is a crucial point that this class had the time and took the effort to address that is usually lacking in the “workshop” environment.

I plan to continue to add little by little to the technology I already use, but my hope is to find a good balance – I don’t want a blog that is so full of stuff that no one can follow the main idea – I’m hear to teach my students.  If I get to the point that time spent working with technology takes time away from students, then I will need to adjust.

Have fun everyone – we live in the future!

Thing 14 – Back to the future

Here I am at the end of this thing and I’m going back to thing 14.

Digital story telling?  Before I explored I had one idea, but now I have another.  Initially I thought it would be great for the story-er to put together, but not as fun for the story-e.  The fun of a story is that you can inject your own imagination.  A story that is missing a piece, be it soundtrack, pictures, voice, etc. is so inviting because you can become a part of the story process.  A story presented to you complete is not nearly as intimate – we are just observers in that instance.  Why do you think everyone says the movie was not a good as the book?

After I investigated, my mind changed a little bit.  First I watched Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  It fulfilled my expectations – I watched it.  nuff said.

Then I watched a second grade production of Star Wars XXIV. At first I thought, “Hey look, a bunch of second graders acting out some star wars stuff.”  But then I read some of Mr. Needleman’s comments about doing the project with his class – he admitted that there were a few loose ties to citizenship, courage, etc. that they discussed in the room, but then said that the real purpose here was that making this movie was a great motivator to get his students to practice reading so that they could read the cue cards fluently on camera.  Cool.  He was successful.

Then I found my favorite.  Denisse Sangiovanni used a timeline tool.  I was intrigued because I hadn’t really considered a timeline to be a form of story telling.  I was wrong.  Afterglo Music turned out to be a structured almost journal/diary/blog that allowed me to read, inject my own voice and emotions into the story.  I connected – was she going to be ok leaving her solo career to join forces with someone else?  What will happen if she doesn’t get that record deal she is looking for?  Is there something more between her and the guitar player?

Web 2.0 demonstrates a shift from me-to-you information to me-to-you-to-everyone information.  Actual collaboration.  It is my hope that this means we can shift the focus from student projects being all about what the student did and the grade she got to focusing on what the student is creating, how it will effect others and what will become of it once it is out there.

This is how I want to teach students to be artistic, creative and thoughtful in the world outside of school.  We can use storytelling as a process to motivate learning behaviors and to teach technology, but big picture wise this is an unprecedented opportunity to let students explore how these art forms effect society.

Thing 22-wait, I’m gonna get online to find a catchy title for this…

Funny how it is all a big circle.  As I recall, we all started this class talking about how in the end we are still teachers teaching and that technology will just enhance how we teach.  In the end 2+2 equals 4 on the abacus, on paper, the calculator or on the computer screen.

Digital citizenship is a fancy way of saying that you have the same responsibilities in the virtual world as you have in the real world.  Now I’m going to be a preachy teacher for a minute and say that digital citizenship should be taught by the same folks that teach real in-person citizenship – YOUR FAMILY.  I’m not a fan of the idea that we are supposed to be responsible for teaching citizenship.  We are responsible to model, uphold and to expect it, but without mom and dad expecting and modeling citizenship at home, there is little chance the students will really absorb what they need.  That said, if we are using it in our classrooms, we are responsible to outline clear expectations and enforce respectable conduct, just as in any other classroom instance.

The thing that strikes me about this video is not that kids are finding a new way to cheat, but that it doesn’t occur to them that they are cheating.

See the YouTube page here:

***Just  a brief update to this post – I forgot to include my Citizenship score.  Um…lets just say that my teacher will probably send a note home to my parents.  I’m not very clear on the scoring of this thing…Apparently I didn’t do very well at supporting the victim.  I sat with him on the bus, offered to go with him to tell someone about his troubles, etc., but still didn’t score the brownie points.  I’m thinking about starting a website to pick on the people who put together this quiz…what do you think?

Thing 7c – Reader finds

I could not limit it to two, but I’ll keep the writing to a minimum and let you see the videos of what I found.

1. Musician v. Global Airline Monster.  Score one for the musician.  The interesting thing here is the power of arts and Web 2.0.  Had this guy written an angry letter to the editor of his local magazine, no one would have noticed.  Instead he posted a song on Youtube, got a settlement offer and a several thousand dollars worth of free guitars.

2. Creepy sciencey music stuff – This scientist recorded a voice, analyzed it and then calculated the frequency response required in a piano to recreate the voice.  Then he built a machine that would accuratly play the piano to make it sound like a voice.  He has too much time on his hands.  See it here:

Thing 21 – um…brain full. no words make.

I am exhausted.  No kidding about that warning that we need to take our time – not absorb EVERYTHING we see.

Here it is in short, so after this, you don’t really have to read the rest:

I like that making music together means we have to occupy the same space and the same time.  I like that we are doing essentially the same task with essentially the same tools using essentially the same basic principles of physics that musicians have been using forever.  Speaking as a musician, social networks are for keeping in touch with friends who live far away.  Speaking as a Facebook user and emailer, I sometimes miss actually talking to people.

**this ends the whiny portion of the blog post

Social networking is a great tool to see what others are doing, to find out about the tools they use and to share resources, ideas and tools with others.  I am terrified that it will one day take the place of, well..ACTUAL NETWORKING.

I found some cool stuff on the Music Techie Teachers Ning, and I found a great tool for including music in my blog posts and allowing students to publish their own at Noteflight.  A lot of the social network sites I found were questionable, however.  Music tends to be copyright material, so when I can download my entire itunes library and share it on a network, I have to wonder if its legal.  Ideas are free unless they are not, and I have to wonder who patrols these things, what are the consequences and are we in some cases doing more harm than good.

At this point, I see far more use for social networking to me as a teacher than for my students.  I understand the value of it as a tool, but in the end I get 30 minutes 1 time each week to get my students playing music…we don’t have time to learn about networking tools, and I literally don’t have classrooms (let alone computers available to me).  I am a tech junkie and have looked into lots of ways to keep parents and students connected with the classroom.  Ultimately I like the blog because I can control the content that my young students see.  I can’t control a social network, and so I’m uncomfortable sending my students there yet.

Thing 20 – Google is taking over the world

Its true.  They just announced that they are launching a cell phone, so now they have all of our communications.  I’m pretty sure that Google docs is just a way for them to download our brains.  Then what will we have left.  I admit that it is nice to have the central location for everything.  Its almost to the point where I can sit on a beach with a piña colada and my laptop and still not miss anything.

After messing around with the Google revolution I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:

  • I still don’t trust the technology (as a whole) to be there when I need it.  I want my spreadsheets/documents, etc. accessible offline as well.
  • Because I don’t have a whole lot of people to collaborate with (my job is a bit lonely as I’m the only one who really does it), I don’t have much of a need for a lot of this yet.
  • My thoughts about how to use this with students is precluded by the fact that I cannot make everyone everywhere use Google.  Its hard enough to get everyone to check emails and blog postings.

All in all, I think this is a little ahead of me.

That said, here are some ideas for how to use it:

  • The music department can track, across the district, our stats for participation, instrumentation, instrument inventory, music inventory, schedules, etc.
  • Students can use this as a clearinghouse for online music arranged (legally, of course) by their teachers or each other.  Download and play!
  • I can create a national network of music teachers to share ideas, documents, methods, materials and even music libraries or instruments (as transportation permits)

Thing 19 – I’ll tube, but do you have to be so demanding?

I love YouTube.  Now that we can embed, it makes things easier for me because I have an everliving fear of sending students to a site that I can’t control.  I love YouTube because it makes it possible for my students to see things that they would not necessarily go out and find on their own, or even that they can’t see anymore.  In Jazz Band right now we are beginning to work on the tune Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by Cannonball Adderley’s piano player, Joe Zawinul.  I’m working with students who have never spent time in a jazz club in the 1960s, and so getting a sense of the tune is not natural for them.  We sat last week and looked at several different interpretations of the tune.  Boom – they started to get it.

Then we talk about interpretation, and I show them this video.  I have to tell you that this is one of those videos that no matter how many times I see it, it makes me both happy and jealous.  I want to play like this:

On the side of content production, it has always been a dream of mine to send home a resource that would allow parents to re-live the first lesson students have with their instrument.  If a student could go home, sit mom or dad down at the computer and go through a step by step process of exactly what we did in the classroom that day, I think there would be a whole new level of respect, understanding and support available to a lot of students.

I know the assignment was to embed just one video, but I can’t help myself.  Get past the first 20 seconds of this one and I promise you will not only laugh, but you will understand all of the complaining I’ve done about a lot of the technology videos/presentations I’ve been watching.