Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music Ed Needs eLearning...NOW! - Part 2

By Mark T. Burke

If you haven't read Part 1, point your mouse here to review the first in this series of articles on the impact and opportunities created by several current educational trends. Article 1 covered the following:

Trend #1 -- K-12 Online Course and Program Enrollments Rising.
Trend #2 -- Year-Round School

In this article, I'll focus on Trend #3 -- The Social Revolution and 21st Century Skills.

21st Century Skills and the Social Media Revolution go hand in hand.  After all, a bulk of the technology and communication skills we all use today revolve around communicating in some form or another.  The largest shift in the way we communicate is certainly the infusion of Social Media. Therefore, 21st Century Skills = Social Media Skills.  What are 21st Century Skills?  Check out the following.


iNACOL's National Design Standards for Online Courses (See last Section on 21st Skills)
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The most important takeaways are:
  • Students will use information to make decisions
  • Students will have access to global information, to be informed citizens
  • Students will be self directed learners, choosing their learning path
  • Students will be communicative individuals, reaching out, sharing, successfully conveying their message
  • Students will manage their time to ensure learning and life mix
Looking at each of these, it is easy to see just how much we can learn by applying Social Media's impact.

  • Students will use information to make decisions -- where do we all get much of our information today?
    • Social Media
  • Students will have access to global information, to be informed citizens -- where do we sort through, choose and absorb global information?
    • Social Media
  • Students will be self directed learners, choosing their learning path -- where do we make choices about who we connect with, what resources we choose to interact with each and every day, and what news feeds are important to us?
    • Social Media
  • Students will be communicative individuals, reaching out, sharing, successfully conveying their message -- where do we spend the bulk of our online time including personal communication efforts?
    • Social Media
  • Students will manage their time to ensure learning and life mix -- where has life and information mixed more than any other technology resource available?
    • Social Media
So what can we learn from the Social Media revolution?  I've learned that kids can choose media wisely, they do know how to find what they want, they will share what is valuable to them, they want to consume other's media if it is good, they share A LOT, they want to be creative, they want to offer feedback, they are not media mode centric - ie - limit themselves to one type of media, they learn from others, are generally open to the view of others, and on and on....    

Enter Music.  The web has given music a new "tag."  Music, certainly is an art, but is also,  now more than ever -- media, to be absorbed, shared, and talked about.  There's no better time than now to embrace the impact music is having on our lives, and the lives of our youth and HARNESS that impact to build new and exciting music educational opportunities.  How?  Through eLearning.

How can we, as educators, harness the points made in the blue paragraph above?  Here's a quick view of how eLearning combines aspects of Social Media and 21st Century Skills for music education.


The days of students being isolated in music class, learning the birth dates of composers needs to end.  Students can and should be given hands-on opportunities to apply historically significant and elemental studies of music to their own creations.  They should have the ability to share those creations, and freely gain feedback from their teachers, their peers, their families and their community. They should experience the ease with which music can be personally created using readily available software and inexpensive digital instruments.  Most importantly, they should have access to musical content and information when and where they need it.  

We do need eLearning -- NOW!  

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For additional information on how viaAcademies can help you, your students or your school deliver quality eLearning programs, send an email to info@viaacademies.com

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