On Electronic Technology In The Classrooms…

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From my discussions on http://digitalmusiceducator.wordpress.com:

As a both a technology and music professor, I am, personally, not convinced that everyone and/or every class needs to implement some form of electronic technology for their classes to be a success. I believe that teachers do not need to use electronic technologies to be successful, but I do believe that most of today’s successful teachers are implementing them in some form or another.

I have observed many a teacher/student teacher, over the years, perform outstanding lessons both with and without electronic technology used in their class. I say “electronic technology” because a “pencil” is an advancement in technology as well… though, usually, not as cool!

I have seen expert marching band director’s perform miracles with their light boards and/or penciled field plots all without touching a computer… and… on the other side of the coin, I have seen students who DO NOT grasp the concept of marching band routings, at all (or marching band for that matter), come up with some rather impressive drills using Pyware and Drill Quest. What does that say about their levels of understanding within Bloom’s Taxonomy?… Does the end justify the means?… Are the outcomes the same?… Is another vehicle of learning created, one that allows you to produce something without a great understanding of what is being produced yourself?…. Something to think about, if nothing else.

I have been contemplating a lot, lately, about using electronic technology in classes and how it affects the true learning of a subject, or better yet, the teaching and learning of a subject. There can be no doubt, that the “overhead” was a great technological adjunct to the chalk board and that the projector, coupled with PowerPoint, was another great leap forward. Programs and software developments such as DyKnow are now adding instant collaborative features as well and taking us to the next level of these technologies; but do we need these types of technologies in every class situation or for every subject?

I encourage my students to use the various types of electronic technologies with their teaching efforts,as they have understanding and as they can effectively use them. The technologies can and do many times, make things easier, but should not do so at the expense of the actual teaching and learning components of the class.

I make sure the students know that “teaching the technologies in the classroom” or “using the technologies in the classroom” must not make “teaching the subject matter to be presented” come second.

I have seen people spend an awful lot of time tangling with the various electronic technologies in the classroom (many times due to a lack of understanding themselves) only to have their class time dissipated and the actual teaching of the subject matter completely glossed over; not a good day for their lesson plans!

It will be a challenge for colleges and universities, as well as schools, in the very near future, to determine a way to incorporate technologies into their curriculums in a near-transparent way. A way that is cross-curriculum, immersive in nature, integrated with the subject and allows the subject matter to be the central focus, not the presenting technology. I believe that, not unlike a liberal arts core required at many colleges and universities, there may very well be the need to have a technological adeptness core. This core will go well past they “comp. 101” and “comp. 201” classes being offered now that have little, if any, direct connection to core subject matter. Having a knowledge of computers and electronic technologies and knowing how to use them by integrating them seamlessly into a curriculum or for business are two, completely, different matters…


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Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is an industry innovator, education clinician and lecturer, trumpeter and conductor, and the creator of many education websites. He is currently the Vice President of Innovation and Engagement at Keystone Ridge Designs, Inc. After twenty-three years as a professor and administrator at Grove City College, he made the move into industry in 2018.  As one of the youngest full professors in Grove City’s history, he served in various roles over his tenure including the Technical Director of the Pew Fine Arts Center, Assistant and Associate Chairs of Music and Music and Fine Arts, Director of Music and Fine Arts Technology, Director of Jazz Studies, Stage Manager, and he finished his tenure as the Director of Bands where he directed the college’s Symphonic Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Pep Bands, and various small ensembles.

He been named a TI:ME Teacher of the Year, received the JEN Jazz Educator Award, the PA Citation of Excellence, and named a “member for life” of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association. He is a past Vice President of the Technology Institute for Music Educators, an associate member of the American Bandmasters Association,  a past President of the PA Intercollegiate Bandmasters Association, and a member of various education and music honoraries. He has written for numerous publications including DCI Magazine, Teaching Music Magazine, and was the Educational Editor for In-Tune Monthly Magazine for eight years; he has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. He is an active conductor, trumpeter, clinician, and educator. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.

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