Ms. Karen L. Garrett
Instrumental Music Technology Teacher
Central Park School, Birmingham, AL
As a music teacher in times of economic difficulties in our area, I have learned to combine using technology with music instruction to provide students with an exciting way to learn about music, as well as making my teaching position more valuable to our school and school system. Combining the use of technology with music has helped me include many more students to participate in instrumental music classes using keyboards and computers. Students do not need a keyboard, computer or the Internet to participate in the class, making it accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities. Parents and students love the class format and appreciate the fact that their children learn to play an instrument in a flexible class environment without the burden of requiring the student to need a musical instrument. Many of the students eventually play in the band or participate in other music classes as they go on to middle school and high school. Instilling a love and appreciation for music and music-making are important to the students and helps them develop a life-long enjoyment of learning about music.
I also learned that helping with technology-related projects around the school makes your teaching position more valuable. Taking digital pictures of school activities, working with the school website and helping other teachers who are not as technology proficient will help promote the school in a positive way and assist others in communicating more effectively in a digital world.
I created a website that specifically relates to my teaching subject (music technology). Creating the website for my students and for other teachers to use helped make our music technology program a success by extending the learning time from the classroom to the home. Students can access lessons, quizzes, worksheets, music and other activities anytime and that helps students retain the information learned in class. The website is literally an extension of our classroom.
By posting information and links about DonorsChoose.org on our website, we were able to publicize our Music Technology Project and successfully raise the funds needed to purchase four keyboards. This was our first DonorsChoose.org project, so I was very happy that we did receive the funding needed. We will use the keyboards to expand our music technology program to reach more students in the coming school year. We will use our website to post information as we receive the new keyboards and how our students are using the instruments in class this year. The students will be so excited to find that we have more keyboards and that more students will be able to join the class soon!
While technology does not replace teaching, it is a wonderful tool that can be used effectively to promote your class, your students and make you an invaluable member in your school system.
For more information about our Music Technology Class, visit http://www.musictechteacher.com/