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Things Technology has Fixed in my Teaching Part 2

by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

The second in a series showing HOW exactly technology has improved the quality of teaching or music therapy.i.e. Problems and solutions. No how-to's, just what impact is seen with students and clients

I'll only use technology for two reasons:

  1. It solves a problem in my day to day work life
  2. It does something that I can't do as a teacher (or human being)

I won't use it because it's trendy and shiny or because I want to look clever. I'm simply interested in doing things better and more efficiently than I did yesterday.  I find it's the small day to day challenges that really wear me down as the year progresses.  So with that in mind here are some of those problems that have been solved by technology.

Problem Solution
Massively heavy 3-ring binder filled with lesson plans. I read my lesson plans on my iPad using Evernote.
It's awkward/inefficient teaching with only one drum set. (Imagine teaching with only one violin or clarinet.) I place my ipad on the music stand and students watch a video of me performing an exercise or song while I pay attention to how the student is playing. (obviously I model in person with the student as well)
I never have enough printouts of materials for private students. I turned all my handouts into pdfs and attached them to students notebooks in Evernote OR place my iPad on the music stand and the student reads off of it like its paper.
75% of the population are visual learners. I use the iPad to record personalized video of students performing correctly during a lesson and attach it to their practice notebooks.
I never have blank CDs to burn recordings I've made for students. Also burning CDs takes too long.  I turn them into videos and then post them to Vimeo.  Here's an example:
My students think it can be boring to practice with a metronome all the time. I created play along tracks using Garageband and turn them into videos again:
Writing down things like "keep the back of your hand facing up when holding snare drum sticks" doesn't mean much to students. I take a photo with my ipad of the students hands holding sticks correctly and place it in Evernote so they look at it when practicing at home.  
I lose my voice every Winter In partnerships, I'll occasionally replace an activity with a video lesson of the same activity:
Parents want to hear their students progress.

I use Roland: Cube Jam on the iPad to record students playing along

with music minus one tracks.  Then email the mp3 home.

Students don't believe me when I tell them they are doing something(ex. fingers coming too far off of the recorder). I use the camera on the iPad to video record them playing, turn the ipad around and show them. They get to do the same to me if I'm not following my own directions.
There is no white/chalk board in a partnership I'm teaching in. I project my ipad on the wall and write on my iPad like its a chalkboard. I walk around and hand my iPad to students and they write on it. 
Students play technique exercises erratically even with metronome use. I use Audacity during the lesson to create a personalized play along that includes a click track and me playing the rudiment or rhythm. Then send that track home with the student.
Students don't "get" what it sounds like to play out of tune or out of time. I record them on the iPad and then immediately play it back to them. 
I fear that I'm going to lose my usb drive with all my lesson plans on it for Community Partnerships. I use Evernote to store all of my lesson plans, eliminating the usb drive.
Microsoft Word doesn't like me.  Keeping all my classroom materials in Evernote is quicker and easier to use.
Students forget the number to their assigned recorder. I have a list in Evernote(that doesn't take 10 minutes to open on a slow computer)
The "fill in blank here" book I use at a partnership is huge and I only need 2 pages out of it this week. I have enough stuff to carry already.

I take a photo of the page I need with the iPad.

This falls under the Fair Use clause of copyright because it's for educational purposes, not for public viewing and doesn't reduce the sale of the book.

"Of course I'll remember what we did in class today, I don't need to write it down." False. I use Evernote to note how much of the lesson plan we got through in today's class.
Students want to hear/play along with songs that they pick AND "It's too  complicated to carry around all these CDs for my partnership." Spotify allows you to stream music on demand for free. spotify-logo  Artists still get paid.

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