Lecture notes week 3

Google docsThe third lecture in the series was split up into two distinct parts. In the first half, I abandoned the real internet out of mistrust of UWS’ wifi, and had captured a series of different websites into a Powerpoint. You can view this Powerpoint here using the mighty Google Docs (another tool we’ll have to look at).

As you may have read in my last blog, I had the idea that rather than write out notes for the slides for you to read and revise, I would instead again “perform” the lecture as a voiceover, and then share it here via YouTube. Well, I’ve still done that, but unfortunately the slides are not always in sync with what I’m saying due to a bug/feature (depending on your point of view) than made the timing get stuffed up if I didn’t play all of the videos.

So I’m going to provide you with the videos, imperfect as they are, but I’m also going to provide some dot points on what is covered in each one for those of you who don’t find them useful or just can’t be bothered to watch them…

Part 1

Summary:

  • This lecture is about how you deliver your content to students online (LMS or website construction), what content is out there and ready for you to use and how you can make content yourselves.
  • The idea of the teacher as producer – we now have the tools to present content to our students at a v professional, ‘published’ standard.
  • LMS stands for Learning Management System. You all use vUWS, which is a Blackboard system. The other big open source one is Moodle. In this lecture we also look at a private LMS (MLC) and a commercial one (Studywiz).
  • I showed the MLC LMS and examples of some units of work I have delivered using them
  • I talked about how blogging is really useful for music students. It especially works with performance and composition diaries, which fit the NSW syllabus. Students can record their practice, or upload their composition in progress, and teachers can mark work in progress without having to take it in.

Part 2

  • I showed examples of using video to deliver lessons – screen capture and live video eg video of how to play some chords
  • I showed some resources that I had made showing how to finger chords using Pages which is the Mac version of Microsoft work – DTP for dummies! InDesign is the pro version of that kind of software.
  • iWeb is the program I use to make my website. It’s web design for dummies, and doesn’t involve needing any code. There are equivalents for Windows PCs. And below I show how to make the same kind of sites, but without as much design flexibility, using your Edublog static pages.
  • I showed the Apple Learning Interchange, a fantastic site with lots of lessons shared by educators who use Apple products and with lots of free resources and research from Apple themselves. I mentioned that this won’t be around forever, as it’s being superseded by the even more amazing…
  • iTunesU, which you all must go and explore – it’s in the iTunes store, strangely enough, but everything is free. Hundreds of universities and colleges have shared all sorts of learning resources and there’s all sorts of good music stuff.

Part 3

  • YouTube is a wonderful resource for your listening lessons. There is research that proves kids listen better if they can watch video of the performance at the same time. Be aware access is currently restricted in government schools but this is being revised.
  • YouTube is also great for delivering your own resources. We’ll look at setting up a YouTube channel later on.
  • Studywiz, a commercial LMS. Go and watch their demo video if you need to learn more.
  • Naxos Music Library, a subscription service with half a million recordings.
  • MusicNet, developed at MLC as a repository for resources which we make ourselves.
  • Grove Music, now called Oxford Music online – another subscription service
  • Social networking: Ning, which I’ve just written a separate blog about, which is a group network site; Facebook and MySpace. I explained that these can be used as LMS, and you should know about them because they’re what your students use, but with the current state of untested child protection legislation in NSW, I strongly advise against communicating with your students

Part 4

  • We looked at using static pages on your blog to create a website that delivers a unit of work. I showed how pages can be structured to jump easily from one to another. On this very site (just scroll back up to the top) is the example site that I made, so you can get an idea of what is possible. Gosh I’m nice to you. Don’t forget the difference between a Post, which is a blog, which will automatically be archived by date and is written like a diary or magazine entry, and a Page, which won’t change and will always have the presence on your website.

Twitter

Tweet TweetIn the tutorial I horribly made you sign up for Twitter. I know that many of you are resistant to this, but trust me. There are two good reasons to try this, if only the few times we do it in class.

The first reason is that you need to know about these technologies, because they’re how your students communicate. I can think of plenty of reasons why Facebook is a blight on modern society (tho I use it myself), not least the privacy issues, but you need to know what it is and how it works so you have insight into the communication of teenagers. So at the very least, do a few Twitter searches on some topics, see what’s “trending” (most popular) on the homepage, and what people are saying. Yes, a lot of it is complete crap, but you can work out how to filter it.

The second reason is that if you are prepared to give it a bit of time and energy, you can develop a fantastic network for sharing ideas and collaborative thought. This is fantastic for your professional development. And I mean fantastic. We established the hashtag #uwsmteach (click it to see what people thought at the time and since) and watched the ideas come together in one place. I introduced you to another one called #musedchat (you can click that too, if you want to look at what music educators are chatting about all over the globe right now).

As you discover interesting people sharing interesting information, you should click on their names and choose to ‘follow’ them. Their tweets will then be streamed to your homepage. You can follow me @jameshumbers (click on that to see my tweets and find the button to follow me). The likelihood is that many of these people will also follow you, especially if you have interesting things to say. This is called your PLN – Personal Learning Network. Why personal learning? Well, you can ask a question like “where should I start with Twitter in music education” and you’re probably going to get a few answers. Now try asking it and adding the hashtags for #uwsmteach and #musedchat and you’ll get answers from everyone following those topics.

Yes, some of the people you follow may tell you more than you need to know about their personal lives too, but hey, this is social networking. You just have to get clever and be thick-skinned about filtering information. If you go to my profile again, have a look at the people I’m following and you’ll find a wide range of music educators as well as some interesting people… Ken Robinson, Apple Australia’s education staff, and so on. Anyway: give it a go. We’ll do some more playing around in class. Last but not least, I asked my PLN what websites they would recommend to you to find out more. Here’s what they suggested:

[ Update – 21st March 2010

A member of my PLN (who also happens to be a librettist I’ve worked with and the author of many literacy books and the 1500 free worksheets included in Sibelius) sent me a Tweet suggesting this blog post is great for explaining a PLN in terms of education. I found the video especially good. It will make you rethink your role as teachers! ]

Sibelius

Last but not least, we learned to use Sibelius. Luckily for me, I don’t need to write this up because I just used my Learn Sibelius in 1 Hour course which you can review any time you like on my website! We also looked in detail, at the end, at how to export Sibelius scores in a variety of formats for you to think about delivering your arrangement for the first assignment. I showed you how to export graphics, how to export PDFs, how to export audio files (eg for backing tracks), MIDI files and Scorch files. I suggested if you want to try the latter and don’t have your own website, have a look at SibeliusMusic.com.

As ever, if you have any questions, leave a comment here on my blog or email me (and keep emailing me if you don’t hear back – I get a lot of email!).

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