TMEA 2018 is off to a great start. Yesterday, the Technology for Music Education (TI:ME) held a pre-conference day that utilized technology in a way that reflects what I am currently reading by Liz Kolb titled, Learning First, Technology Second. In this book, it expands on certain technology models such as Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model of Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Liz introduces the Triple E Framework of Engage, Enhance, and Extend. In short, when technology is reaching portions of engaging, enhancing, and extending beyond the classroom, it is providing “a strong connection between the technology tools, instructional choices around the tool, and students’ focus and comprehension of the learning goals.” (Kolb, 2017).

Each session I attended today had examples of utilizing technology that engaged, enhanced, and extended learning beyond the classroom. From assessments to creativity to restructuring the current educational model, the sessions were rejuvenating and thought provoking. Here are some of the highlights:

SMARTBoard: Engaging Activities in Less Than Five Minutes 

Cherie Herring, the 2018 TI:ME Teacher of the Year, showed all of the tools in the SMART Lab, which is a part of Notebook 17. She showed activities such as order ranking, matching, labeling, shout it and more. No longer is Notebook a teacher-centered device where we created games in flash and the students came up to the board to participate. Now, many of the activities can be done in a 1:1 classroom as the students can access the activities through

Cherie would demonstrate an activity and then “level up” that activity. If the activity was sorting rhythms into proper categories, she would then level up the activity to have the students adding and subtracting rhythms. She would bring in a cross-curricular connection of math. In addition, watching SMART Lab in action brought about a feeling that it had a combination of Padlet, Nearpod, Socrative, and Kahoot! If one was looking to have a one-stop shop for those apps, then SMART Lab provides that well.

Creating on Chromebooks: Online Music Tech Made Easy 

John Mlynczak from Noteflight showed numerous ways to utilize chromebooks in the music classroom. He focused mostly on Noteflight, specifically Noteflight Learn. From the website, Noteflight Learn “has Noteflight Premium features plus the ability to organize classes, easily create assignments, and use the included library of musical scores and lessons. Every user can access their Noteflight account from any computer or device, including Chromebooks, iPads, and smartphones. Noteflight Learn also integrates with Google Classroom as well as other popular Learning Management Systems via the LTI standard.” John also spoke about Soundtrap, Google Classroom, the SAMR model, and how technology is a tool that can provide the students a way to do something in music that they could not do previously.

Online Music Education: A Model for the Future

Radio Cremata, from my alma mater Ithaca College, spoke about changing the traditional model of music education in higher education. He spoke of an online model and format. He drove home many points about why the current model needs to change and why some online programs are not meeting the needs of music education. I agreed with his point of when a college takes a curriculum and then places it online, it is lacking the needs of preparing the students for the future. This point about education, where we need to prepare students for jobs that are not even created yet, is one that needs to be addressed in higher music education programs. I enjoyed listening to Radio speak about this and listening to his research on the topic.

Basics of Audio for the Music Educator 

Barb Freedman always gives a great session. This session included info about microphones, interfaces, the basics of a mixing board, and the basics of sound. It was an excellent session. One that all music educators should attend to learn about the basics of audio. More info about Barb, her work, and her online summer classes (I will be teaching one this summer) can be found at her website:

Creating Video Game Music Step by Step

It was great to see Katie Wardrobe back in the States! She presented about movie scoring at TMEA two

years ago. This session was about video game music. She went through the history of video game music, which happily brought me back to memories of Ms. Pacman and Donkey Kong. She showed the progression from computerized music with two to four notes playing at a time to today’s gaming music which reflect movie scores.

Katie showed us projects that can be done with elementary to high school students. These projects included creating music to games such as Mario Brothers and Epic Battle. I adored the website she used to create Mario Brothers music: Through this intuitive website, students can create music that sounds like the game music from the 1980s. They can create music that would enhance certain parts of the game from the intro, to a loop, to a transition, to a stinger, to a cinematic portion, and ending with a tag. Beepbox will export as a midi file, which then can be opened in DAW or notation apps. 

To place it in the video game, she suggested having the students screencastify themselves playing the video game. The students would then put the music together with their video of playing the game. This can be done with a movie editing app like iMovie or WeVideo. To extend this lesson, a teacher could have the students coding the sounds into a video game.

The Triple E Framework

The Triple E Framework could be found in all of these sessions today. From Cherie “leveling up” her activities to achieve cross-curricular connections to John bringing up the point that technology should be used to enhance something that could not have been done without technology, I felt like the message was strong and a good one.

With Katie’s examples, I love how authentic these projects were because most students are playing video games. My daughters love Roblox and all of the games that go with it. When students are creating music for video games, they are connecting with the project on a personal level. When they can share that project with an audience, then they are enhancing the lesson further. If they can extend the lesson to outside the classroom where they could use an app to create or code a game at home, then the technology is a tool that is allowing the students to do something in music class that they could not have done before.

Looking forward to today’s sessions!




Kolb, L. (2017). Learning first, technology second: the educators guide to designing authentic lessons. Portland, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

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