I have really enjoyed looking at the different models of 21st Century teaching and learning in this MOOC. Over the past 5 weeks I have done so much reflecting on my own school and my own practice, and I would have to say that I am pretty satisfied about the program that I have put together over the past 12 years. I have spent the last 5 years really reinventing myself so that I can be an effective teacher in the 21st century. I have had the opportunity this year to share that with other teachers around the country and New Zealand as I have presented for Music EdNet Daytime conferences.
At my school, we teach the Kodály philosophy of music education. It has taken a long time to implement this into the school, and the results are well worth the hard work that I have put in over the past 12 years. I really related to the Orff program that Kamaroi is offering. At the heart of this education are the children. Both Orff and Kodály have very similar philosophies – “that the child is at the centre of learning”. Richard Gill – also in his very passionate way, expressed his absolute passion that the child must come first; that you educate the ear and mind, then read notation. He also said that the voice is the child’s most natural instrument. I absolutely wholeheartedly agree, but …… we live in the technological age, we are not living in the 19th Century where this was all that Orff and Kodály had. We must make sure that we relate to what children want. I’m not saying “throw the baby out with the bath water” (as James put it), but what I am saying is that you need to have a good balance of both and at my school I believe I have done just that.
My school is very proactive in making us look beyond the text book so to speak. Every year we are to create a “prototype” – something that requires the children in our classes to strive harder, engage more, or think outside the box – and this needs to be backed with solid research. These are some of the things I’ve done:
- Created an iBand orchestra. Originally in 2012 I convinced Neil Johnston (England) to teach us the ins and outs of GarageBand. He created an iBand program where students would learn the song “You Make Me So Electric”. I did this program with my year 6 students (and still do today). Once the children learn the song we then employ a sound engineer to record them, this gives them the feeling of what it is like to be a “real” musician.
- Digital Feedforward. I did a study on the influence of live feedforward over a recording of children’s assessment. The study was really fascinating and it was great to see that due to feedforward 15% of children went from failing to passing.
3. STEAM Education. I looked at a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and maths) project which involved students looking at a variety of instruments (both orchestral and non-orchestral) and then design and constructing their instruments. Using the 21st century style of “staff meeting” or teachmeet (invented by educationalist Ewan McIntosh – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeachMeet) students were able to present their findings in a non-threatening environment.
4. Student engagement. This year I wanted to get my teaching time back. In a primary school everything takes a long time. It takes a long time to hand out books, glue, pencils
etc. It takes a long time to put them back too!!!!! So I wondered how I could get my time back? I like to do aural skills at the start of every lesson for 5 minutes (in a primary school this can blow out to 10 – 15 mins, yes cause it takes a long time to get books etc.!!!!) So what did I do? I wrote an iBook using Book Creator. I then “app smashed” and used the app Showbie to upload the book. Here the students are able to edit the book then save the annotations. I’m then able to mark the students work from my iPad. Gone are the lugging a mountain full of paper. It worked so well that I then wrote their exams in Book creator too. Later I surveyed all the students to see if they liked this style of learning and about 80% of the students enjoyed it.
I absolutely loved the lecture on BL’s. I think that this is exactly where I am at the moment. With an impending Masters thesis on STEAM education it makes me think more and more about this buzz word STEAM and is it really just an interdisciplinary PBL in disguise? When I spoke with STEAM researcher Dr. Danah Henriksen (Assistant Professor of Leadership and Innovation – Arizona State University) I asked her whether STEAM is just a PBL. She did acknowledge that they are heavily related, but perhaps have differences in their approach. She thought that PBL was part of STEAM, but PBL could simply be a teaching approach or a way of presenting the content or crossing disciplines in an activity or helping students to think about ideas. It was definitely food for thought.
I’ve shared my critical thinking of my program – so I guess it’s time to share my plan.
Where to next????
Firstly, I’m going to gather my research on STEAM education looking at creative and critical thinking. I’m going to write a fabulous thesis looking at this and share it with the world.
Next, I have purchased 4 Osmo coding kits that I am going to introduce to my junior kids (Prep – Year 2). This is a great way to introduce them to the world of coding and composition. I then intend to share this journey on my blog next year. It has been lovely to interact and share my ideas with you over the past 5 weeks and I look forward to further reading some of your blogs to be inspired.