Reading/Video List to Inspire Debate: How much technology and the cultures around digital technology should influence education, and music education, in the 21st Century?

My class assignment below is addresses a debate of the use of technology in the classroom.  Some classes use technology as a tool available to be used any time, some take place online and use only technology (MOOC classes are an example), and some classes don’t use technology at all or at least very sparingly.  Which is best for students?

Technology Does and Should Influence Music Education

Bauer makes some wonderful points.  While music can be created with only acoustic instruments, technology can be used as a “tool, medium, or instrument.”  I like the analogy of doing math without a calculator.  It can be done, but it makes sense to use a calculator.  Curriculum, the way teachers teach, and music classes need to change to accommodate the use of technology.

Heppell, Koller, and Price all made interesting points in their videos about how education is changing and what can be accomplished by using technology to collaborate.  Students are capable of so much when they are taught how to collaborate.  Teachers have to trust their students and guide them along the way.  Teachers become more facilitator and less lecturer.  Using technology, students can collaborate with students from other towns, states, and even countries.  I have really been impressed with the MOOC classes that I have been taking.  I look forward to collaborating with students from around the word while taking these classes.

Brown says that technology has always been somewhat magical to him.  It has always been magical to me as well.  It is amazing what you can do with technology.  You can do things with technology that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.  It makes sense to use it in music classes.

Although some educational philosophies believe the technology should not be used by young children, tablets, smart phones, computers, online videos, and tv can really enhance learning.  My daughter has grown up in a technology based household and has learned so much at an early age that she would not have learned without the exposure to technology.

I taught elementary music for 8 years.  I did not have any funding for music text books or traditional supplies, but I did have technology funding.  I received grant money for kindle fires, floor pianos, Android tablets, and midi controllers.  I used these as tools to teach music theory, how to play piano, and for composing.  My students learned a lot more than they would have in weekly 35 minute music classes without technology.  Most of my students had technology devices at home, but not many of them have their own instruments at home.  My students started working on music assignments and expanded upon what we were learning at home for the first time.  I also used a projector, document camera, and videos of musicians from around the world to enhance learning.  I also taught singing and used rhythm instruments, boomwhackers, and resonator bells.  I think it is important to also teach in the traditional ways as well and not always rely on technology alone.

Many of the sources below stated that we live in a technology world and it is constantly changing.  As I read this, I reflected on my years in education, first as a student, and now as a teacher.  I remember when we got a computer lab in my elementary school.  My parents bought me a midi controller and music notation software when I was in junior high.  I loved composing and arranging music.  I was mostly self taught and learned a lot more about music theory using this program.  Music technology use was pretty limited in my public school and college.  When I first started teaching very few students had cellphones or their own tablet or computers.  As students started to get these devices we made them keep them off and in their backpacks or told them to leave them at home.  Now we have wireless internet in our schools and are starting to use personal devices more and more.  We are even going to start rolling out a district wide policy of having a device per student over the next few years.  This is exciting to me!

I had totally embraced technology in my elementary music classroom.  Then my teaching assignment changed . . . Now I teach 6th grade band at four elementary schools and junior high bands and choir.  I’m struggling with how to effectively use music technology in the new setting as a traveling music teacher in a more traditional setting.  That is why I am taking this MOOC.  I hope to find more ideas and find a balance between new and old technologies.


Bauer, W. I. (2014). Music Learning Today: Digital Pedagogy for Creating, Performing, and Responding to Music. New York: Oxford University Press, USA. Sample chapter available from

Brown, A. (2015). Music Technology and Education: Amplifying Musicality. New York: Routledge. Sample chapter available from

Cunningham, A. (2014, Aug 12). Steiner schools should adapt modern reading methods. The Conversation. Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016.

Heppell, S. (2013, Jul 17). Coalition curriculum is a death knell for UK youth.Financial Times Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016.

Heppell, S. (2014). EduTECH talk by Stephen Heppell on teaching technologies on the cusp. [Website.] Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016.

Koller, D. (2012). What we’re learning from online education. [Website.] Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016.

Price, D. (2014). David Price on The Open Learning Revolution | Amplify 2013. [Website.] Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016.

Tezuka, T. (2014). The best kindergarten you’ve ever seen. [Website.] Retrieved from 24th Jan, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Teaching Music Experiences

I have taught private music lessons for 14 years, K-6 Elementary Music for 8 years, 6th Grade Band for four years, Elementary Choir for 7 years, Junior High Choir for 2 years, and Junior High Band for one year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment