Reading this week’s assigned chapter was a refreshing review of familiar technology. In my experience, digital natives and digital immigrants benefit the most from the various forms of technology that are helpful in terms of productivity and organization. Although we have learned about a variety of valuable technologies throughout this course, it is those focused on productivity and organization that have reshaped how our classrooms are run and how we interact with the world around us on a daily basis. Bauer (2104) breaks these technologies aimed to improve productivity into several categories. They include organization, communication, public relations and advocacy, creating and acquiring instructional support materials, data management, travel, and financial records.
In many cases, a well-organized class website can address issues within multiple of the categories listed above. I have recently been told that I will have access to Google Classroom for my new position this school year. I have never used Google Classroom in the past, but I hope that I will be able to use the service to have a page for each section of chorus (I will have five choirs, with two sections of each). On each class page, I will include the course documents that will be sent home during the first week of school, like the class handbook. I will also upload practice tracks for our songs, concert announcements, festival information, before and after school ensemble information, and homework assignments. A class website can also be an excellent location to link other resources, such as tutorial videos, music theory resources, performances, etc. Since it is on the Google platform, my website will easily be connected to my email and Google Drive via the cloud, which is very useful for working on multiple computers.
As music teachers, we often have added responsibilities of organizing participation in festivals and out-of-school activities. There are several other websites that make organization for these events much easier than was ever possible before. For example, SurveyMonkey.com and WhenIsGood.net are wonderful tools for scheduling meeting times with small or large groups. When I directed an a cappella group in college, we used these tools to figure out rehearsal times that would work best within our extremely busy schedules. I imagine they would work equally well to determine the best time for a before or after school ensemble to rehearse. SignUpGenius.com is also wonderful for organizing volunteers within specific time slots. As the membership chair on the Board of Directors of the choir that I sing with in Boston, I have used SignUpGenius to organize our annual auditions. Before using this service, each auditionees (and there were sometimes over sixty of them) would have to email a preferred time to the membership chair individually, which would then need to be organized into an audition schedule. SignUpGenius allows each individual to select their own available time. It also allows the organizer to easily message all participants. This would also work very well to organize parent volunteers. With my choir, I have also used GroupCarpool.com to easily organize carpools for our annual retreat out of town. This could make the organization parent carpooling to festivals hassle-free! When I think back to my high school days, we didn’t have any of these tools in place to help with organization. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without them!
Bauer, W. I. (2014). Music learning today: digital pedagogy for creating, performing, and responding to music. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
(2016) GroupCarpool. Retrieved at www.groupcarpool.com
(2016) Google Classroom. Retrieved at www.classroom.google.com
(2016) SignUpGenius. Retrieved at www.signupgenius.com
(2016) SurveyMonkey. Retrieved at www.surveymonkey.com
(2016) Whenisgood. Retrieved at www.whenisgood.net