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Technology

  • Technology: Podcasting

    Mike Lawson | November 1, 2006

    Podcasting for Music Educators

    What Is Podcasting?
    Podcasting is fast, personal, convenient and cool. Podcasting is the latest method of posting audio or video programs over the Internet for listeners' can easily access. Some podcasts are free, but most require users to subscribe and download the files from the Internet and save them to their computer. Listeners can then use their computer, iPod or MP3 players to play back the content. Podcasting is being used for: band promotion clips and interviews; Talk Shows - Industry talk shows or organizational investor news, sportscasts, news coverage and commentaries; training; and story telling for children or the visually-impaired.

    Educational Uses of Podcasting
    Podcasting is fast becoming a regular part of contemporary teaching strategies. Professor Bernie Dodge is offers a class in a series of Saturday Seminars for Teaching with Technology entitled "Educational Podcasting to Future Teacher Candidates" at the Teachers College in San Diego University. This course is targeted to teachers at the K-12 and college levels as well as others involved in the training of adults. No prior experience with podcasting is needed. For a complete course syllabus, go to: edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec700/POD/indexS06.htm. At edweb.sdsu.edu/courses/edtec700/POD/resources.htm, you will find the best in-depth educational podcasting resources for educational podcasting information on the Internet.

     

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  • Making Room for Technology

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006

    It began about 15 years ago with one teacher’s vision: an efficient, streamlined music education program at W.C. Pryor Middle School in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. As band director Jeff Adams saw it, the introduction of music technology to his middle school program could effectively “multiply” his ability to teach his students the fundamentals of music. Instead of being one music teacher in a roomful of students, he could extend his teaching capabilities to 20 computer screens around the classroom.

    “I saw the potential for the technology to let me, for example, spend more time with the kids who were having problems, and the students who were not having problems could go on the computer and be doing other things. The computers would either guide their instruction or guide their evaluation,” Adams notes.

    While the school’s band room did not exactly fit his vision for a computer lab, Adams improvised by emptying out storage closets and occupying a hallway to house computer workstations. The uniform closet, an instrument closet and a practice room each have a computer in them now, and 13 computers line the hallway-turned-computer bank.

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  • Notation Software on a Budget

    Mike Lawson | October 22, 2006

    Music composition/arranging is perhaps one area of music standards in K-12 education that is even more neglected than improvisation. Instructors may rationalize that the cost of a music notation application is too expensive. Also, composing/arranging without music notation software can be a rather tedious handwritten activity.

    With computers, you can print, edit and transpose in seconds as well as instantly hear your composition for feedback purposes. But implementing this technology can be a tricky matter because most students can’t afford to have such programs at home, and school may have time limitations. However, there is good news to report. Music notation products under $100 are now numerous, versatile and rather powerful. There are also some good freeware options.

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  • Music Literacy Applications

    Mike Lawson | September 1, 2006

    A new frontier for music educators is interactive Web-based instruction and assessment. Why? Because there aren't enough hours in the day let alone class time to do all the great things music educators can accomplish. And now with music technology, it is possible to successfully augment your curriculum as well as cleverly assess all those pressing standards.

    Interactive Web-based instruction and assessment can bring you and your students together with 24/7 flexibility. Band, choral, and string performance techniques now have home instruction options because programs such as Makemusic's SmartMusic and Pyware's iPAS can improve the quality of home practice and provide accountability data.

    The most recent development is numeric data assessment on your Web site that is not easily obtained in the classroom setting where teachers are overloaded with so many responsibilities. I can't think of anything more precious to busy music educators than more efficient use of their time.

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  • Web Development for Music Educators pt 4

    Mike Lawson | August 1, 2006

    A new frontier for music educators is interactive Web-based instruction and assessment. Why? Because there aren't enough hours in the day let alone class time to do all the great things music educators can accomplish. And now with music technology, it is possible to successfully augment your curriculum as well as cleverly assess all those pressing standards.

    Interactive Web-based instruction and assessment can bring you and your students together with 24/7 flexibility. Band, choral, and string performance techniques now have home instruction options because programs such as Makemusic's SmartMusic and Pyware's iPAS can improve the quality of home practice and provide accountability data.

    The most recent development is numeric data assessment on your Web site that is not easily obtained in the classroom setting where teachers are overloaded with so many responsibilities. I can't think of anything more precious to busy music educators than more efficient use of their time.

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  • Web Development for Music Educators pt 3

    Mike Lawson | July 1, 2006

     

    Audio and video Internet streaming media has changed the Web as we knew it. Namely, the Internet has changed from a static text- and graphics-based medium into a multimedia experience populated by sound and moving pictures. This remarkable technology allows a Web site visitor to click on a button and, seconds later, listen to or view CD-quality music along with a video as a powerful presentation. Streaming works by first compressing a digital audio/video file and then breaking it into small packets, which are sent, one after another, over the Internet. As the packets reach their destination (the requesting user), they are decompressed and reassembled into a form that can be played by the user's system. To maintain the illusion of seamless play, the packets are buffered or preloaded, while packets play and more packets are being downloaded and queued up for playback.

    Music educators can benefit immeasurably by having their music ensemble groups/students featured online. I can't think of a faster way to stimulate interest in your music program than by featuring performances by your students and music ensembles over the Internet in real-time. Have you ever seen and heard a 200 piece marching string orchestra? Duluth High School in Duluth, Georgia has one and it can be viewed at: www.kuzmich2.com/parade2004/parade2004.ram. Once you have created a streaming file (in this case, parade2004.rm), it only takes one more step to prepare everything for posting on the Internet. Go to a text editor, HTML editor or a WYSIWYG application and create a one-line file with the URL of where the streaming file will be located on the Internet. In this case, the text or HTML file will read: http://www.kuzmich2.com/parade2004/parade2004.ram. Then just have a link for that text file as, http://www.kuzmich2.com/parade2004/parade2004.ram and you are ready to view the video-streaming file. For examples of how audio streaming can promote your students, go to www.kuzmich2.com/Reva_Gig/Reva_Gig.html and you will see many examples including a violinist sounding like Jimi Hendrix entitled, "Reva Song #7" (both audio and video streaming on that URL). The audio streaming file for this example is: www.kuzmich2.com/Reva_Gig/Track%2007.rm and its correlated text/HTML file with the streaming file name inside of it is www.kuzmich2.com/Reva_Gig/Track%2007.ram. Spotlighting your students and concerts is a perfect reason of using audio and video streaming on your school Web site. Viewers will need to download Real Player to view the audio or video streaming saved in the Real format.

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  • Web Development for Music Educators pt 2

    Mike Lawson | June 1, 2006

     

    As good as tables and frames are for improving the look of your Web pages, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are equally as important. A simple definition is that CSS is a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents. CSS gives you, the creator more control over the appearance of your Web page. CSS is an excellent addition to plain HTML. With plain HTML you manually define the colors and sizes of text and tables throughout your pages. If you want to change a certain element you will have to work your way through the entire document and change it whenever necessary.

    With CSS you define the colors and sizes in "styles." Then, as you write your documents, you refer to the styles. Therefore if you change a certain style it will change the look of your entire site. Another advantage is that CSS offers much more detailed attributes than plain HTML for defi ning the look and feel of your site. Finally, CSS can be written so you will only need to download it once - in the external style sheet document. When surfing the rest of your site, the CSS will be cached on the users computer, and therefore speed up the loading time.

    But CSS is not just a method for controlling the look your Web site or just a tool for stylizing text. CSS is the "gold standard" tool for the design and structure of a Web site. Let's get a bird's eye view of the power CSS can provide through a properly built HTML site.

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  • Setting up a music technology lab.

    Mike Lawson | May 1, 2006

    Although the process is not difficult, getting started with the right software for your needs is probably the single most important step. In four installments, we will help you take that first step with Web software applications and utility applications that offer shortcuts and improve Web pages without tedious tasks. For more insight for inspiration for dynamically developing your school music Web site further and about the upcoming installments, in this Web development series, go to our companion Web site at: www.kuzmich.com/webdevelopment_music_educator.html

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  • Setting Up The Music Tech Lab pt. 3

    Mike Lawson | April 1, 2006

    New Trends Testing software has become an important addition to computer- assisted instruction because it allows the teacher to customize instructional assessment and go beyond the individual software applications being used. Assessment has become a main stay in the academic education scene today with much emphasis on national testing in language arts, math and science.

    In the electives, it can be just as important because even in electives, teachers should be able to evaluate and document student progress and proficiency. Assessment data, when analyzed and understood, can provide key information about student progress: Pre-testing at the beginning of the school year confirms what students know and what they need to review while periodic assessments indicate progress and identify where students need remediation.

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  • Setting Up The Music Tech Lab pt. 2

    Mike Lawson | March 1, 2006

    Creative Considerations for Software/Hardware Use

    Compact Computer Furniture
    While computer furniture may not seem necessary if you have budget concerns and 4' x 6' tables seem just fine, it is an important category that should not be ignored. There are options to consider: modular studio furniture, height-adjustable workstations with built-in racks, 3-level workstations, modular studio stands and shelves and adjustable-height studio workstations.

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  • Up Close: Home School Bands

    Mike Lawson | October 21, 2005

    Home schooling is making a significant impact on education, with well over 1,000,000 American children engaged in formalized study at home.

    This population of students has been representing an ever-growing segment of academia since the inception of home schooling in the late 1970s and can no longer be ignored. States with the largest home schooling populations are: California, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, Alabama, New York, South Carolina, Kansas, and Illinois. Whether public school music educators realize it or not, they can still have impact on home school education in several ways.

    But, first things first: what is home schooling? Home schooling is a method of education in which the parents take sole responsibility, overseeing the entire education of their children in a personal, direct manner. As the name suggests, home schooling is characterized by a one-on-one tutorial method of education, using the parents as teachers/tutors and most often takes place within the homes of the students. It is one of many educational options outside of the public school sector and, while the parents choose to educate their children at home, this does not mean that all education is confined to the home. There are many opportunities and resources outside of the home that can enrich home schooling experience.

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  • Music Technology Courseware Options

    Mike Lawson | April 1, 2005

    Though multimedia was a buzz word ten years ago, it didn't really become a standard software application for the education professional (beyond PowerPoint) until recently. Hardware, advances like RAM, CPU and storage devices have brought about a multimedia explosion with Flash animation, newer graphics and audio and video file formats such as Flash, animated GIFs, QuickTime, .mp3 and much more. I can't think of a faster way to add impact to your teaching than to incorporate multimedia authoring tools in your daily presentations in traditional music classes and in music technology courseware.

    These new multimedia authoring applications can make it possible and even easy to produce professional looking instructional presentations. For a good summary of multimedia authoring applications, go to http://lorien.ncl.ac.uk/ ming/resources/cal/mmedia.aspx (this link is dated last updated Sep/03). With 30+ products and learning links that make it simple to use. Interested in learning what to do with multimedia authoring tools? Go to http://pd.121.org/linktuts/multitoc.htm which focuses on four essential topics: 1) creating student multimedia projects, 2) capturing Internet content for portfolios, 3) multimedia presentation software and 4) putting multimedia projects on-line.

    For on-line examples, Camtasia, a PowerPoint Add-On, illustrates e-learning for Qwest at: http://www.quest.com/solutions/application_solution_center/ASCdemo.aspx and for the University of Colorado: http://www.uccs.edu/~tlc/ SYMPOSIUM/part2.aspx. Michigan State University uses Articulate Presenter at: http://blog.articulate.com/customer_spotlight/index.php

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