Technology plays an essential role in our every day lives. We use technology and it’s many devices for example; computers, laptops, phones, i-pads, and tablets to help us gather information with the touch of our fingertips. Technology and the internet offers us endless possibilities and answers. As we are presented with an immense amount of information by only a couple of taps and clicks, the convenience has given technology power in our lives. The accessibility to many search engines, databases, social media platforms and websites promotes the sharing of ideas. The use of technology has been invited into the music classroom as a way of obtaining, sharing and expressing ideas.
Northern Beaches Christian School is a school that embraces technology and uses it to maximise potential in learning. NBCS steers away from the usual formation of a classroom where teaching is done in front of a blackboard in a classroom. NBCS instead shifts the classroom to informal learning areas such as in cafes and open learning areas so that students have the flexibility to learn socially and actively. An article from Ethan Hein expresses that“truly authentic practice should embrace the culture in which students live in” (Hein, 2013). Pop-culture and enjoying music is very much an active and social activity, from bopping along to radios and dancing on the dance-floor with with your mates at parties. NBCS has implicated informal learning areas to promote this sociable and active learning so that students are able to learn in an authentic practice. The use of technology as a tool for the students’ learning also means students learn in a more autonomous manner and assume responsibility. The teachers act as facilitators and guide the students on what to do rather than spoon-feeding them information. NBCS has also included the merging of classes and year groups together in one big classroom, so that the students in the year groups above become mentors for the students in the year groups below. The new and innovative approaches and the embracing of technology in NCBS encourages students to grow in a media-rich culture. As musicians have always embraced change and technology, whether it be through instrumentation or through new programs, NCBS believes that music educators should remain open-minded about technology and that it does not hinder music making.
Click on the link below to watch this cool video on some ways technology can be incorporate in the music classroom! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rexxum-urLY
Kamaroi Rudolph Steiner School is a school that resists fast change in technology and instead focuses on experiential and student centred learning. The strong focus on practical and hands-on activities encourages students to develop an original touch through a social and emotional learning which is pivotal to development as meaning and purpose is constructed, free from the influence of technology. Music, movement and arts are integrated in all learning and music is believed to enhance learning in all subjects. Music class in Kamaroi follows the Orff Schulwerk approach. http://www.orffnsw.org.au/ The Orff approach in music lessons is learnt on Orff instrumentation such as xylophones and glockenspiels and focuses on melody and rhythm on and is mostly learnt from memory through simple instructions like “copy” and “echo”. This learning enables students to keep up with one another as they play and perform as a class. Kamaroi is not against technology by any means and believes that it is a useful tool. However, they believe that technology should be introduced later once a holistic foundation of learning is constructed.
Both schools take on radically different approaches yet both have fantastic outcomes for their students. Both schools have different ideas in incorporating the use of technology in their classroom so is one approach better than the other? I believe that as music educators, we must find balance and incorporate and rotate with both approaches in the classroom so that students are able to experience a visual, aural and kinaesthetic learning experience where there is more doing and experiencing music which is a key idea in Kamaroi’s teaching philosophy. Students must also be able to experience music making that is relevant to the current 21st century media-rich culture and technology aids in being an important tool for translating those ideas in many ways, such as through videos and programs. The balance and incorporation of both approaches will enable students to learn from two different perspectives and will therefore reinforce their understanding of music as they are exposed to two different approaches. Students can take from both approaches in their own understanding. However, I do find that the informal learning spaces, whilst innovative might be an issue for some students to stay on task as the learning space is moved to a place in a context that is associated with “fun and leisure”. In my teaching approach, I will still be open-minded and will experiment with the informal learning space as well as in a conventional classroom.
In conclusion, I believe that both schools have wonderful approaches and strive for the best for their students. I will incorporate both approaches so that my students are able to embrace both practical learning and innovative learning through technology.