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I am enjoying writing this series of posts of the ten tech tools to assist an elementary music teacher in their classrooms. I am also loving Dr. Christopher J. Russell’s series of the ten iOS tech tools to assist a secondary school music teacher for a concert. You can see his blog posts here.
Summer, for an educator, can be defined from May to August or June to September, or some variable of that. For some music educators, a new school year signifies a change in their teaching style, their methodology, or their philosophy. If your change involves technology, I hope that Chris and my blog posts are helpful in your process.
The tech tool coming in at #3 is social media. Many elementary music educators are isolated as they are the only music teacher in their building or they travel to numerous buildings that they feel like they are never fully grounded in one school. Or the elementary music educator is not given the time to collaborate with other music educators in the district. Finally, some never get the funding to attend conferences. This is where social media can be a beneficial tool.
Choosing Concert Literature
There are a few social media avenues that can assist with music educators with choosing concert literature. Here are a few that have helped me greatly with choosing concert literature:
- Facebook Groups. There are numerous FB groups for elementary music
educators. In these groups, one can post about their concert literature or ask others what were the greatest hits from their previous concerts. Once one posts, the responses come in fast. Some of my favorite elementary music educator FB groups are: Music Teachers, Elementary Music Teachers, I’m a General Music Teacher, Feierabend Fundamentals, American Orff-Schulwerk Association Discussion Group, and Kodály Educators to name a few. These discussion groups are also beneficial to discuss concert techniques, decorations, setup, and more!
Pinterest. Following elementary music educators on pinterest is a great way to see their music interests, which can include their concert literature. For example, here is my pinterest page for this year’s concert music.
- Blogs and Podcasts. Many elementary music educators have blogs and podcasts. They post regularly and give advice and success stories about activities that they perform in their classrooms. Here is a short list from my website of excellent blogs and podcasts.
- NAfME Social Media. The National Association for Music Education now has a social media forum through Amplify called Music Educator Central. If you are a member, you can access and participate in the daily discussions.
Twitter can be a great tech tool. If you cannot attend a conference, many conferences will have a # to follow. There are also numerous music educators on Twitter who continuously tweet throughout conference sessions. They will tweet links to resources from the sessions, like handouts, which assist those who cannot attend. These resources could contain lists and videos to concert selections and choral reading sessions. There are also consistent hashtags to follow, such as #mused #musedchat #elmus #elmused and #edtech.
One year, my classroom skyped with another elementary music classroom in Chicago and in Spain. We sang songs from our concert and they sang songs from their concert. The students loved performing for another audience and loved asking them questions about the weather there and their school day. To Skype, you need to set up a free account, a device with a camera, and a decent pair of speakers. You also need to check the connection before class.
There are two more items (plus one bonus item) coming up to bring us into 2018! This will also bring about a new webinar that features each tech tool in this series.
Amy M. Burns is an elementary music educator, clinician, author, and musician. She currently works at Far Hills Country Day School in Far Hills, NJ teaching PreK through Grade 3 general music, grade 5 instrumental music, and grades 4-8 instrumental band. She is the author of Technology Integration in the Elementary Music Classroom, Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with a SMART Board, and Help! I am an Elementary Music Teacher with One or more iPads! She is also an author for Online Learning Exchange™ Interactive Music powered by Silver Burdett. She has given numerous presentations on integrating technology into the elementary music classroom as well as being a keynote speaker for music technology conferences in Texas, Indiana, St. Maarten, and Australia. She is the recipient of the 2005 TI:ME Teacher of the Year Award, the 2016 NJ Master Music Teacher Award, the 2016 NJ Governor’s Leader in Arts Education Award, and the 2017 Non-Public School Teacher of the Year Award. You can find out more about Amy at her website: amymburns.com