SAMR, RAT…how do you actually integrate technology into the music classroom?

I am preparing for my “Technology in Music Education” workshop on Monday and Tuesday, and I am also going through old Feedly “saved” items.

One of the questions I am often asked is, “This is great, but how do you integrate this technology into music education?”  The answer isn’t hard, and it isn’t a sarcastic answer: you do it.

If you have one iPad (your own), you mirror the iPad and you teach from your iPad.  You use apps to SUBSTITUTE or REPLACE things you previously did without technology (e.g. sheet music, audio player, etc.) as well as to AUGMENT what you use to do.  Basically, you are simply ENHANCING your curriculum.  You don’t start trying to TRANSFORM, MODIFY, or REDEFINE what you are doing right off the bat, because you want to make sure that you are using the technology.  As you SUBSTITUTE and REPLACE, you will learn new techniques and you will take new risks.

These are all edu-speak terms that follow the SAMR and RAT models of technology integration.

Additionally, as you integrate technology, expect things to not work from time to time.  Your Windows Notebook, MacBook, or Chromebook may crash.  The wi-fi might go down.  There might be an app update that accidentally breaks the functionality of your app.  Google might, overnight, completely rewrite or replace a service.  This stuff happens all the time.

So as you teach with technology, you always have to have a backup plan in mind, even if you never use it.  And you know what, this isn’t any different than life before technology in your classroom.  You didn’t know if you would have a day where you lost your voice, something major interrupted the school day, or a grade level or class took a trip without reminding the entire staff.

Over the last twenty-four hours, I have seen two videos that exemplify using technology in music education.  The first is a video from my friend Paul Shimmons (who blogs at iPads and Technology in Music Education) which shows a first grade class using the iPad App Flashnote Derby to strengthen their note reading ability.  This is a model of a one-iPad implementation that is an example of Augmentation.  Note how one student is at the iPad, and the rest of the class in 100% engaged in the process.  Flashnote Derby is still a great app, and this could be done with a number of any other apps including StaffWars, which came out this year on the iPad.

The second video was tweeted yesterday by Steven Struhar, the Product Manager of SmartMusic with MakeMusic.  This is a twenty minute video by Dave Faires, the band director of the Willowcreek Middle School Band program in Lehi, Utah.  In this video, Mr. Faires discusses the various apps that they use in their band program.  This includes SmartMusic, TonalEnergy Tuner, Tenuto, Read Rhythm, Sight Reading Machine, iReal Pro, Vic Firth, and forScore (and a few other apps).  At the end of the video, Mr. Faires makes a joke about people lasting through the whole video–but if you are interested in integrating technology in your music program, this video is invaluable as it shows how one director is doing things–again, mainly with levels of SUBSTITUTION, REPLACEMENT, and AUGMENTATION on the SAMR and RAT models.  If you are interested, I wrote a similar post about how students used (free) apps in my middle school choir program this past year.

So again, technology integration isn’t a scary thing, and you just need to move forward and start with SUBSTITUTION and REPLACEMENT.  Set a goal, and go meet it. Expect bumps along the way.  Failure isn’t fatal in this arena, even if it can be annoying…but as we have been told, FAIL=”First Attempt In Learning.”


Posted on July 12, 2014, in General Musings, iPad Apps. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on SAMR, RAT…how do you actually integrate technology into the music classroom?.

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