Essential Elements Interactive: The Powerful Assessment Tool for Everyone

Steve Smith • April 2021Commentary • April 7, 2021

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Video recording is available for student assignments in the EEi Music Studio.

Assessment! Sometimes that word gets a bad rap. However, if used correctly, it can be an amazing process that can keep students engaged, reward them for their hard work, and provide needed motivation.

EEi – Evolving and Constantly Moving Forward

Essential Elements Interactive (EEi) is the online music resource that is included with the Essential Elements method books. It continues to evolve to be even more valuable in the music education landscape moving forward. Let’s take a look at how the tools and resources of EEi can provide powerful assessment opportunities.

Audio & Video Assignments – Not Just for EE Exercises

The Music Studio in EEi has proven to be an engaging and helpful tool for middle and high school students to use in their home practice. While students can practice along with EE Music, the All-Music Studio in EEi offers a place for students to record non EE music to share with friends, family or their teacher, opening this up for assessment for any music teachers and students are working on in class. Students have always been able to make audio recordings, but recently, the option to make video recordings directly from the music studio was introduced. This allows students to practice, record, refine, re-record and submit performances to their teacher for feedback or assessment. Many students, from beginners through advanced high school musicians have enjoyed the features in the music studio and recently, EEi surpassed the ONE MILLION student recordings mark!

Assignments and Grading

Teacher feedback and commentary is always the most effective way for a student to receive applicable information on their performance. EEi has created the easiest way for teachers to hear or view many student recordings and get specific and timely feedback to their students. Teachers can create audio and video recording assignments for all of their student’s musical needs and students can create and submit those assignments all within EEi, which provides secure storage and quick access via the cloud. The color-coded gradebook allows teachers to easily organize and review these submissions in many ways in the Student Recordings area in their EEi Teacher Account. The Show Ungraded feature has proven to be popular with many teachers, allowing them to view and grade all submitted recordings for each and every student from one page, without needing to reload for each student or submission.

The color-coded grade book in EEi makes grading student assessments very easy.Teacher Audio Feedback

Positive and helpful feedback is one of the most effective motivators for many students. In EEi teachers can provide that feedback in multiple ways including written comments, grades, pass/redo designation, and the most recent update, Teacher Audio Feedback. This last tool has proven to be very popular with teachers as a favorite method of getting information to their students. Teachers can speak or even play their feedback in an audio recording for students to listen to in their EEi account. Demonstrations of the music and recorded messages with positive and encouraging words can add a much-welcomed personal touch to assessment.

The in-class recording and grading feature in EEi helps connect assessments taken at school to home practice!

In Class Assignments

One of the newest features to EEi allows teachers to add grades, performances, and assessments from class to their teacher accounts. Anytime a student takes a playing test in class, the teacher can grade, record and provide feedback on that performance from their EEi Teacher Account. While this keeps both in-person and submitted student assessments in one place, organized for the teacher, it also instantly adds that performance to the student’s EEi

Account so the student can hear and review that performance at any time. The ability to hear their in-class performance with teacher feedback can provide a beneficial connection from the classroom to their home practice.

Moving Forward

Essential Elements Interactive offers powerful assessment tools for teachers and students. The ability to create audio and video assignments for any music students are performing in class puts everything in one place for teachers to assess efficiently. That assessment can take many forms as well, allowing teachers to connect with students in a variety of ways. EEi is great for class use as well, not only as a play-along option, but for in-class assessments, truly connecting the classroom to home practice. A hybrid approach to student learning will be essential and ultimately help our young musicians grow as they meet their musical potential, and Essential Elements Interactive is there to help meet the needs of teachers and students in this ever-evolving world of music education.

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