What is a MOOC? If you've missed the movement, it's a Massive Open Online Course, and I've been studying one these last few weeks. We've been set a few questions this week and I'm finding it tricky to tie them all together, so here they are as individual points.
- In the MOOC, we were introduced to the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or sequencer, which apparently were different things but now are basically the same. Notation software and its capabilities were also discussed. I have a lot of experience with Sibelius (notation software), Garageband, and have also used Soundation in schools that didn't have suitable software available. These are such fabulous tools, especially Sibelius, which is my number one in music technology.
- We've also had a few videos throughout the MOOC trying to convince us that DJ-producers have "an awful lot of sophisticated musical skills", which they do. 0've chatted with a few colleagues about this who have pointed out that DJ-producers 'produce' music from pre-existing music and my limited experience with DJ-producers is that they are trained at places like artschools or DIY rather than conservatoriums. Regardless of the debate, I am considering buying a Launchpad just to see what it's all about - my kids also like the look of it. See the video below for an example.
- In this week's MOOC, we were also introduced to David Price and his insight into the future of education. I was lucky to hear him back in 2007 when my old employer, the Music Council of Australia, began to work with him and his 'Musical Futures' project is now widely used in Australia. In the MOOC video, Price points out that open learning, where amateurs and experts share knowledge via online environments such as YouTube, is not a future but is something that has already been. I know I've relied on expert/amateur online advice, most recently when I had to remove over 20 'Molly Bolts' from our lounge room walls. I didn't even know the plugs I needed to remove were called molly bolts until I found the videos! I've seen open learning happen a lot in my own studio, where students bring in something they've learnt via YouTube videos, and I also encourage them to share their own performances online. Other open learning happens via places such as this MOOC's Coursera, where top universities can be accessed for free by anyone who has a computer and access to the internet. Some examples of open learning in music include:
- how to play a basic samba
- too many tutorials of how to play on the guitar 'Love Yourself' by Justin Beiber
- how to conduct a choir
And the page I will need when I buy a Launchpad...
In this exciting environment, one of our main jobs now as teachers is to help students develop quality filtering skills so that they recognise a good course or video when they see one.
- My final point for this post concerns PBL or project-based learning. This type of learning already exists in music as students often undertake large-scale projects when composing, performing, or researching. These are real-life musical activities that require individuality and initiative to succeed. Musicians also work together and learn from each other so are used to solving problems from several different angles. However, the online environment offers so many option for worldwide collaboration across classrooms and technology allows for efficiency in completing projects. Musical projects such as the Virtual Choir demonstrate just how successful the blend of these can be and are leading examples for other subject areas.
Currently in Australia, not every student has access to quality music education in schools, which is outrageous. A lack of teacher-training, resources, management of curriculum demands, have contributed to this problem. To solve this, music specialists need to be put in every school in Australia. If you're not sure why this is important, please have a look at my earlier blogs, or read about the benefits of music education here. The newly-established 'Music Trust' has put together a campaign to petition government for a better music education in schools. Details of the campaign can be found at http://thefulldeal.com.au - the stats on this site are alarming. Please sign the petition, and push for more music in schools so that all of our children can benefit.
Reflections/news on music, piano and music teaching, and anything else that pops up.