Well, Happy New Year to all of you! It is hard to believe how time does seem to “fly” as you get older. It’s been a while since I’ve posed any type of “roadmap” or “resolutions” for MusTech.net, but I think that, with this post, the time has come.
This year I will be focusing the majority of my online and research efforts to bringing together much of what I’ve learned about social media, Web 2.0, and digital relationships together into more concrete formats for others to use. I’m hoping to culminate this information in a series of books, publications, articles, web-based-media, computer applications, and postings on Websites. With all of this, I’m going to be focusing on bringing the “masses” up to speed with what many of us are already doing online… it’s time for everybody involved in education to stop taking “baby steps” and start “running” to catch up with the communication venues that are already available to us and have been adopted by much of business, digitalized social society, and our students.
MusTech.net will continue to function as a sounding board for my various projects and as a news outlet for cutting-edge music, education, and technology information. I’ve already put into place various software mechanisms to allow me to micro-blog alongside my regular posting on the site and I expect to start implementing these features in the very near future. By combining Tumblr, Posterous, Twitter, Facebook, and Evernote via WordPress, I hope to have even a wider ability to instantly disseminate and aggregate information and music education-related news via the Internet.
In 2011, MusTech.Net will begin hosting multiple webinar’s throughout the year. The majority of these webinars will be free and will focus on 21st century skills for educators. In addition, I’m currently looking at having a five-day course in all things web 2.0, social media, and education this summer, at my college, that would be open to anyone that would like to come to the digital ed. camp.
As a part of all of this, I hope to at least double the size of the MusicPLN.org this year and increase it’s functionality for the existing and future user-base. I am planning on starting a campaign to encourage college music education majors to become actively involved, right now, in discussions with the thousands of existing music teachers already online, not only on the MPLN, but in all of all our online outlets and communities. Undergraduate students do not need to wait until their student observations or practicum experiences to become involved in our “larger” community. By introducing to “them” to “us” as early as possible, through meaningful dialog, we can help each other learn about ourselves -where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going.
As far as music advocacy is concerned, we need to not only look at current methods of our advocacy efforts, but the concept of BELIEVING in them, ourselves, and our profession. We need to put out better, more prepared teachers. We need to encourage and better support existing teachers and we need to start advocating music for what it is and not for what it catalytically does for everything else… While the secondary and tertiary benefits of music are by no means unimportant or small, the primary benefits of music are astounding! We also need to be upfront with ourselves as a profession and stop pretending that there aren’t bad teachers out there… and, when there are apparent issues and short-comings, that “everything wrong” is “everyone else’s” fault. Just as in every other profession, there are indeed those in the music teaching programs that should not be teachers… we need to minimize them right from the start by igniting the desire for excellence in teaching in our college students and networking these students with other successful teachers and programs “out of the gate”.
Many programs have faltered simply because a good teacher decided to stop trying after becoming discouraged and after five to fifteen years that teacher has now become sub-standard and apathetic. How can we intervene to help those teachers before they are beyond our help? How can we reach out to them and re-ignite their drive to become better and excited about teaching again? I believe for many of the “beat-down” and circumstance-related apathetic teachers the answer is simply to re-connect them with people who are invigorated, inspiring, have drive, are are still excited about what they do and how they impact their students. In addition to the traditional support methods, targeted educationally-based social-media can be of great benefit to despairing teachers, but we can’t help them if they never “peek out” and see what is going on in the larger community (online or otherwise). Carpe Diem!
I plan to continue my reviews of iPad/iPhone music education applications and actually fast-track the announcement of many of the useful programs through the micro-blog portion of this site that I wrote about above. This year, I currently plan on having three to four of my own applications out for the iPad/iPhone/Android. One of them is currently in the works and should be available by late March! Another application will deal directly with the problem of the aggregation of all of the information about Music Education online and the next two… just wait and see! I will have an announcement about a new company that I co-founded this year that is related to the design and distribution of these smart device applications… and we will be encouraging others to put forth their music/arts application ideas for joint-development through it as well!
The Music Education Blog Carnival and Monday Morning Mix will continue for another year. I really do enjoy doing these two long-time aspects of MusTech.net. Also, Keith Mason, Darren Morton, and I have a number of podcasts coming out this year. I’m also looking at the concept of micro-podding within a social-media stream using SoundCloud and Cinch though my startup social-media venture, BuddyStream.net. More on that all at another date…
Finally, I hope to have a lot of fun and meet new and engaging people through all of this. I will be actively seeking grant money this year to help me with many of the aspects of what I’m writing about… so, if you know of any philantropists, or organizations looking for this type of “visionary” progress… please – point them my way and put a good word in for me! :) I’m excited for the new year and all that it will bring for Music, Arts Education, and us!
May you all have a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year!
*Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons