Eastbury is a 4-18 all-through school
To give students greater access to music technology both within and outside the classroom, allowing them time and space to reflect on and develop their musical skills. To use technology to deepen their understanding of music and strengthen their performing.
The department had previously had no resources for students to make music using computers, so there was a need to develop ICT resources.
Research was conducted to find out how different schools used technology and how it could be used to support the specific needs of pupils. Two schools were visited and nine computers installed. Student surveys showed that they enjoyed using them and found it easier to create compositions. This provided a good platform to start building the case to the Head and governors for funding for this new facility.
As students’ interest and confidence grew, the number of pupils completing GCSE work on computers increased. To celebrate and promote pupils’ work, Soundcloud was used and it became a platform for pupils to listen to each other and their own work and identify areas for improvement.
The school funded three iPad trolleys and the department explored the use of iPads with four different classes. In evaluating their use, it was found that the technology made it easier to collate and share pupils’ work (on Apple TVs during class time), and that pupils believed they were making better progress and enjoying Music more. However, pupils still wanted to use physical instruments in class and there was also a concern that some of the dexterity needed to play instruments would be lost. There was also the issue of students having to share users and some tampering with each other’s work.
Based on evidence from the previous two years which highlighted the opportunities technology gave to students, the department was granted money for 20 Mac computers. This solved the problem of shared logins. A website was created for pupils to hear their work in lessons and share with their families. It has become a growing resource which, with the computers, has helped deepen pupils’ knowledge and understanding.
Classes were set on a rotational timetable, which gave all pupils access to computers but also developed their instrumental skills.
Student voice surveys
Careful planning of facilities has resulted in more pupils choosing Music as a GCSE option. On top of that, there has been an improvement in overall learning attitudes, enjoyment and self-esteem. Pupils are able to layer different sounds and experiment with ideas, and creativity and expression through sound have become the learning ethos. Pupils are able to hear their own and each other’s work, so can share ideas and identify personalised learning goals. The computers have also helped teachers to differentiate tasks and meet learners’ needs. Composition templates and short videos help pupils be more independent learners resulting in more focused time with pupils.
I have learned from this project how evolving music currently is and the challenges education has in paving the landscape rather than just trying to keep up with it. It has also identified the importance of using technology as a resource to support learning.
Ian Cain, firstname.lastname@example.org