Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shandra Prowell 20% Project for the Collaborating Community Course

My plan for promoting and modeling digital citizenship is two-fold. For standard 4c, “promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information,” I am using my pre-existing recorder karate program on both my recorder karate webpage and my YouTube channel.  After students show basic competency with initial pitches B-A-G, I introduce the Recorder Karate Program and all the tools that are available for use on the webpage. With the SmartBoard I show them  and how to navigate the various parts of the site. We discover how to find sheet music if it gets lost, how to access the pre-recorded sound clips if they need to know what a song sounds like (I would like to embed these files on the page rather than make them downloaded. Any ideas?), and how to access the video tutorials. I have allowed comments so that any time a student has a question I get an email about it and  I can respond right away. (I have already had a student comment on how I can improve a video and followed her advice.) As this continues, we will have discussions on etiquette and social interactions as needed. With these resources, students have the skills and materials to succeed in the Recorder Karate Program independently. They will practice at home and come in and test with me during extra-curricular testing time when they return from break. It is truly a flipped classroom. The beauty of this program is that kids go at their own pace. This means that they will all be at different skill levels at different times in the year depending on their motivation, practice habits, and level of comprehension. If they get stuck at any point, they have resources to help them and a way to contact me if they have questions. If I get my iPad grant, we will have the opportunity to work in “belt-alike” groups during class with headphones and a 5-way jack-splitter, accessing the video tutorials or sound clips as they need them and collaborating to help each other be successful.

This is the first Playlist for recorder karate-click play and watch all 4 one after the other.

Standard 4d, “develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital-age communication and collaboration tools,” is fulfilled in my PLN project in which teachers and students from other parts of the district, state and world are invited to participate in sharing their performances and creating relationships outside the boundaries of a school building. I have already talked to friends and colleagues as close as Edina and as far away as Alaska and India who have agreed to participate. It is my hope that this is only the beginning of collaborative sharing of performances. The standard is also fulfilled by my “Things from Class” page on my website. This page is dedicated to videos that others have made, some of which we watch in class, others are for students to watch at home if they want to explore further. These videos are  quality and/or interesting musical performances that illustrate an artists’ experimentation with the Elements of Music or show what can be done with both passion for music and a sound foundation in musical skills and concepts. Many of them also are very well made and produced. In addition to our discussion on musical concepts, I have included technological and musical production questions that get students thinking about what goes into creating and sharing a digital performance. 

The other thing posted on the webpage is videos of our own that we have created as a class. It is these activities that lend themselves to discussions about web presence and whether or not what we post is quality work. After taking a recording, we watch or listen to it and I ask them if they think it is good enough. If they don’t, we talk about how to make it better. This not only makes us think about musical and performing concepts but our digital footprint. We want to represent ourselves at our best and don’t make a post until all agree that it is ready.

In working on this 20% project, I spent a lot of my time going down the rabbit hole of twitter. One tweet would lead me to another tweet or a hashtag or person to follow until I looked up from the Chromebook or iPad, tense shouldered and bleary eyed, realizing I had just spent a couple of hours staring and clicking. Some of it was worth while, some of it I wish I could have that time back. In one sense, I would rather live my life and have healthy, personal relationships with those around me than superficial ones with strangers. In another sense, there is quality information to be had out there if you take the time to sort through it. As I  began to formulate my 20% plan and my PLN, I spent a lot of time looking for and playing with various apps for recording and posting sound or video. Some of my twitter contacts helped lead me in the right direction. So far, my favorite app for posting to my YouTube channel  is Google’s “Capture,” an app for directly recording, editing, and posting to youTube, twitter and Facebook. The down side is that you can’t differentiate between title and description. Whatever you post becomes the title and there is nowhere to put details about the video. I have also used the Avid Studio app with some success. It can create some impressive videos but is very time consuming and not for on the spot posting. For viewing videos, this year a colleague introduced me to SafeShare.TV which allows me to generate a video link without other YouTube suggestions popping up on a sidebar or when a video is done so I know students are not going to follow a link they shouldn’t after watching a video I post or suggest. In terms of posting sound by itself, after multiple attempts to upload sound files from a couple of memo apps and experimenting with apps like threering and audioboo, I stumbled onto “Soundcloud.” I am hoping this will be a good place to post audio files we make in class when I have to direct and can't take the video. I  have also spent many hours on YouTube looking for good video examples of musical innovation or excellence.
The open ended nature of this assignment was very difficult for me. I like to know exactly what the parameters for an assignment are with a clear cut goal at the end. This assignment was so nebulous I floundered for quite some time just wondering what was expected. Then I struggle to find something that would fit. In the end, I'm not even sure if I fulfilled the assignment but I was able to adapt some things I was already doing which is so much better than starting from scratch! It allowed me to keep doing what I am doing but with more thought and intentionality or purpose which will, hopefully, benefit my students and help them be more savvy when it comes to their online choices. I have already had lots of positive feedback from students and colleagues.

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