Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 7 in Review

This week's focus was on assessment, organization, and Google technologies.

My previous class to this one focused strictly on curriculum design.  A big part of that design process is developing assessment.  With that said, the text provided information that was not new to me. However, the text did suggest a few ideas of how to use technology for assessment purposes.

The main suggestion was to use Google Forms for assessment.  Google Forms is great because the user can design a test that can have a variety of formats.  The user can do a multiple choice, checklist, text, essay, and other types of formats.  We also watched a video on how to create rubrics using Google Forms.  It's great.  In addition, there is an app called Flubaroo that can be used for quick grading.  It's very helpful!

In addition to technology that can be used for assessment, the text also dealt with potential technologies that educators can use to help themselves be more organized.  I was pleased to know that I use almost all of the technologies listed.  My school is a Google school, which means that we use Gmail, Drive, and Classroom.  I also use Dropbox, which is great to use for cloud storage.  We also use Dropbox with our state affiliation as they use it to upload our judges tapes.  During marching band, I use the blue tooth in my car to listen to judges tapes from my phone. It is very helpful.

I also use Charms as an organizational tool.  I learned about Charms at last year's Midwest Clinic in Chicago.  This program allows the user to keep track of classlists, finances, music library items, instrument inventory, along with many other features.  There is also a great tool for communicating with students and parents very quickly, either by email or by text messaging.  There is also a Charms app for smartphones that allows the user to do many of the same features as on a computer.  I highly recommend it!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 6 in Review

This week's readings focused on instructional design as well as information about copyright law.  Most of the information in the text is not new information, as I just recently completed a course on curriculum.  However, there were a few pieces of information that I found helpful.  

Before I get to the new information, I must make a side note that I completely believe in backward design.  It makes complete sense in that the teacher begins planning with the learning goal set first (stage 1).  After the learning goal(s) is set, the teacher's job is to determine how to assess student understanding (stage 2).  Finally, the teacher assembles what I call a "plan of attack" in that they devise plans that will get the students from point A to point B (stage 3).  

I found the three artistic processes, which are described by Schuler (2011), to be valuable when working in Stage 1 (Learning Outcomes).  The three processes, comprehensive, practical, and authentic are important to use as guides when setting learning outcomes.  For example, if I were to set a learning goal for my students, it would be important for me to determine if that learning outcome is covered by the three processes.  

Three researchers, Bauer, Hofer and Harris (2012), designed a comprehensive list of musical learning activities that not only cover music standards, but also cover technology standards.  The list of activities is vast and is included in a wiki.  This is groundbreaking because many teachers, including myself, are looking for more ways to integrate technology into their lessons effectively.  

Finally, the section on copyright is very important for all educators to take a look at.  As a director of a marching band that uses custom arrangements, it is important to know what music is public domain as well as who the copyright owner of a given piece is.  Even more important is for educators to follow through the proper steps to gain permission to arrange from that owner.  When we use technology, as we might do in a Webquest, it is important to know what links are okay to use.  Otherwise, the teacher can find themselves in a difficult situation.  It is very important for teachers to know how public domain and creative commons.  I did not realize how many different types of creative commons licenses that were out there!

In addition to the reading, we are beginning to work on a webquest project.  My project is going to be focusing on key signatures, as this is one of the most challenging concepts for junior high students to understand.