Saving — and Enhancing — Music Education With Online Learning — from edcircuit.com by D. Travis Washington

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I teach Choir and lead the Young Vocal Scholars Program, and before COVID arrived, we were excited to move forward on the culmination of learning through live performances. With school closure, all that changed, and we were forced to adapt to virtual learning. Through the initial transition, we discovered that online learning options such as Soundtrap could not only extend projects we were currently working on but expand music learning to previously unimaginable heights.

When Covid hit and we couldn’t continue with the traditional choir program, my school looked for remote solutions. Soundtrap was exactly what we needed. We began conducting Young Vocal Scholars choir sessions remotely through Soundtrap and filled our extra Soundtrap seats with students from the District 8 Choir who weren’t being served music at all — doing similar projects that we had been creating previously in my classes. It was incredible to suddenly recognize that there were far more students interested in music who could connect via their laptops and tablets at home.

Also see:

Soundtrap for Education empowers students and teachers to explore creative sound recording in all subjects, for all ages and ability levels.

Soundtrap revolutionized my classroom in a virtual setting. Students became more engaged than ever before. My “4-star artists,” as I refer to my highly motivated students, kept making songs. I recall one of them saying to me, “Music class was cool because we sang together, but Soundtrap is cooler because it allows us to make projects together and they sound good.” 

 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 

From DSC:
In our future learning experiences, I wonder what taking a break might look and sound like…? That is, we’re going along learning something from/with others (virtually/digitally) and then the teacher, professor, Subject Matter Expert (SME), trainer, or whoever says to take a break. What could happen then?

In the online/digital/virtual-based realm, that could mean that you have the option to set your “break” setting to bring up Spotify, or Vimeo, or YouTube, or Pandora, some VR-based app, other. The lights in your “learning space” could dim and the music could come on. Or you reach for a VR headset and watch a sunset or position yourself by a picturesque brook. Or your favorite podcast/vodcast picks up where you left off.

Hmmm…should be some interesting innovation and affordances along these lines.

 

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 

From DSC:
Who needs to be discussing/debating “The Social Dilemma” movie? Whether one agrees with the perspectives put forth therein or not, the discussion boards out there should be lighting up in the undergraduate areas of Computer Science (especially Programming), Engineering, Business, Economics, Mathematics, Statistics, Philosophy, Religion, Political Science, Sociology, and perhaps other disciplines as well. 

To those starting out the relevant careers here…just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Ask yourself not whether something CAN be developed, but *whether it SHOULD be developed* and what the potential implications of a technology/invention/etc. might be. I’m not aiming to take a position here. Rather, I’m trying to promote some serious reflection for those developing our new, emerging technologies and our new products/services out there.

Who needs to be discussing/debating The Social Dilemna movie?

 

 

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To ‘Listen’ To Our Youth Voice — from gettingsmart.com by Michael Niehoff

New Film Addresses Mental Health By Challenging Us To Listen To Our Youth Voice

 


Also see:

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic and beyond

IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic & beyond — from inspiring-workplaces.com by Aimee O’Leary

For World Mental Health Day 2020, we have created a quick guide of 10 top tips for you. It has been compiled from experts around the world on how to support the mental health of your people during these challenging times.

It includes:

  • How to do your part to break the stigma
  • How to create functional routines
  • How to look out for colleagues without being invasive
  • How to stay connected
  • and more

Lastly, before reading the guide, reach out to someone you know today, who you have haven’t spoken with in a while and simply ask… How are you, really? It will make a huge difference.

*****************

 


Addendum on 10/13/20:

As the Pandemic Grinds On, Here Are 5 Big Worries of College Presidents — from chronicle.com by Michael Vasquez

Excerpt:

Campus mental health is the No. 1 worry. The college leaders were asked to select their five top concerns from a list of 19 Covid-related issues. Fifty-three percent of presidents listed student mental health, and 42 percent pointed to faculty and staff mental health as being among their biggest worries. Anxiety, uncertainty, depression, and grief — compounded by the isolation of the pandemic — have exacted an often invisible toll on people who study and work in higher education.

 

5 artist animators your students will love — from theartofeducation.edu by Jordan DeWilde

Excerpt:

Art teachers have often shared with students that animation is a potential art career path. However, few teachers take the art form any further in the classroom. With today’s technology, students have access to creating their own animations through software programs and smartphone apps. Art teachers can harness student interest with engaging projects in animation.

Harrison also worked on Hair Love, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2020.

 

3 winners for the GSV Cup: Abwaab, Prepmedians, and Ringbeller! Congratulations!! These three exceptional companies won out of over 550 applications.

First Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Abwaab

Second Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Prepmedians

Third Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Ringbeller

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

Editorial: Spaces is only a small part of Apple’s enormous AR/VR puzzle — from uploadvr.com by Jeremy Horwitz

Excerpt:

A demonstration of Spaces’ latest tech shows a cartoony teacher offering whiteboard presentations with accompanying lip and body synchronization — a gentle evolution of existing VR avatar technology. You could easily imagine the 3D model replaced with one of Apple’s current Memoji avatars, enabling an iPad- or iPhone-toting teacher to offer a presentation to a virtual class over Zoom.

 

Just released today! Jane Hart’s Top 200 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart's Top 200 Tools for Learning -- released on 9-1-20

Top 200 Tools for Learning — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

The Top Tools for Learning 2020 was compiled by Jane Hart from the results of the 14th Annual Learning Tools Survey, and released on 1 September 2020. For general information about the survey and this website, visit the About page. For observations and infographics of this year’s list, see Analysis 2020.

 

 

From Beth McMurtrie in this week’s “Teaching” over at The Chronicle:

  • Examples of innovative assessment strategies
  • An instructor’s request to help students engage with digital textbooks
  • Some resources for effective online, equitable, & antiracist teaching

Teaching -- over at The Chronicle

From DSC:
I especially appreciated the item re: the creation/use of multimedia-based content in place of a more traditional assessment. This type of assignment/assessment allows more choice and it opens up opportunities for more creativity and expression.

 

From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 

Using the TV as a key tool in our learning ecosystems

From DSC:

  • If one doesn’t have access to the Internet, a computer, or any such mobile technology as seen in the image above…could TV become the medium through which one could be educated during this next year of the Coronavirus situation? That is, until we can develop better and more equitable policies, plans, funding, systems, infrastructures, and connectivity for all students!
  • After that, could we see more televisions morph into smart/connected TVs?
  • Could PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other major networks collaborate with the U.S. Department of Education to help us educate all students? 
  • Could the largest internet company of 2030 be an online school as Thomas Frey predicts?

A few years ago, I had hoped that Apple was going to go all-in with their tvOS platform.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 9: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the New Apple TV during a Special Event; 9/9/15.

 

Though it’s still early in the game, that really hasn’t happened to the extent that I had hoped. That said, more recently, I was encouraged to see this article from back in July:

LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND LOUISIANA PUBLIC BROADCASTING TO TELEVISE HIGH-QUALITY MATH INSTRUCTION THIS SUMMER

 



 

Let’s ask the employees of PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and other networks if they would be willing to work with the U.S. Department of Education to help educate ALL students! Though educational TV is not new, I’m talking about taking things to a *whole* new level.

With that in mind, I created the following graphic:

Let's use television to minimize the learning gaps that will otherwise be experienced by many students this next year!

(One might ask why I used an old television in the above graphic. I was trying to get at the idea that one might not have a lot of resources to work with.)

 
 

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