Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Google Site

In class we have been working on Google Sites. This is a pretty decent website builder that Google has set up. I have had fun building a website that I can either use for a classroom website, or have as a professional site.

I believe that classroom sites are almost mandatory for band programs. In today's world, it only makes sense for music programs to have announcements, forms, music, and a calendar on the web. Parents can now go online and view notes from booster meetings and really know what is going on in the band program. I think that these sites are also good because media can be shared.

These sites can be seen as a site that helps to build community for the band. You can check out some sample band websites and a professional site:

Band Websites
Beech High School Band
Halls High School Band

Professional Website
Craig Duncan Music

Check out my own website here:
Aaron Duncan's Music Educational Services

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Movie for 486

So in my 486 class, we had to make a movie using 12-15 pictures. We had to add audio, titles, and use transitions in our movie. This was a pretty fun project, but gave a few headaches at the same time.

I could see a project like this being used in the music classroom. First off, I made my soundtrack for my movie using Garageband. It would be a good exercise for students to try their hand at composing music and editing music clips using this program. It was really easy, and I am sure some students already have a handle on Garageband. I know that my nephews are both avid Garageband users.

I could also see myself using this type of media at band banquets. As a teacher, I could also use it for teacher conferences, so parents have pictures and a video to watch of the band. At one school that I have worked at before, a teacher edited clips throughout the year of the competition show. The students were then able to take that home and have a scrapbook of the year. It was pretty cool.

Overall, I feel that this assignment is one that could fit into a music classroom. I as the teacher could use it for showcasing what students have done, or students could use it edit and mix their own stuff.

Anyway, here is the movie I made. (It's pictures of my wife and I from high school to now.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Halfway there

This week it will be July. That means that my Instructional Tech class is almost halfway done. June has been a pretty good month, but I'm definitely ready for July.

Anyway, last week I was introduced to a program called VoiceThread. It's an online presentation program where you can share presentations with other members. For class, we went around and took pictures of music things (cause we're the music group in class), and then put them up on VoiceThread. It was pretty neat how you can comment and doodle on the pictures. My favorite part was leaving the voice comments, even though I bet my voice sounds dumb online.

You should definitely check out VoiceThreads though. It's a pretty legit program. (It reminds me a lot of stuff my brother does on his web-site at Duncan Booth.)

Oh yeah, our presentation from VoiceThread is the next post on the blog, so check it out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer Class 486

This summer I am taking my last nine hours of coursework before I student teach in the fall. One of the classes I am taking is Instructional Tech 486. (This class is the whole reason I have this blog in the first place, as it is an assignment for the class.) But anyway, for this class we have been working with blogs, wikis, googledocs, and other web-based functions. It has been interesting to see just how these different applications work.

I think my favorite app so far has been the wikis. (Here is the Music Education wiki we have made It is really nice to be able to collaborate with other people on a web-site. A wiki seems to be a very easy way to share information and knowledge with a broad base of people. It is also cool because the people that work on the wiki can continually update it and edit information on the web-site. Formatting a wiki can be a fairly easy task with so many people working on it. It also helps to avoid burnout by one person having to do everything for a web-site.

But the application that I think has the greatest potential is googledocs. I think googledocs can be pushed to include much more than just documents. There could eventually be powerpoint, excel, finale, iphoto, imovie, etc shared and worked on with a format like googledocs. It will be interesting to see if copyright regulations and other applications will allow their files to be shared on google.

Anyway, I still have about seven more weeks in my 486 class, so we'll just have to wait and see what else happens.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Teaching Percussion at a New High School

This past year I had the experience of working with a percussion section at a brand new high school in Knoxville. I believe that this experience has stretched me in many ways and pushed me to be a better teacher. I had worked with other groups before, but this particular experience was very new to me.

When I was first asked to come and be the percussion teacher, I was very nervous about the idea. It was also scary to leave an established school that I had been working with. But anyway, I had worked with the director before and new that it would be a good experience for me to take the job.

At band camp, I learned just how different this experience was going to be! For one, I was only teaching freshman and sophomores because there were no upper level students enrolled at the school. Also, we did not have enough people to put out a battery, so we only had a front ensemble. I had always been a better battery tech than a front ensemble tech, so it pushed me to really research front ensemble teaching. That was the best thing that could have happened to me. Throughout the fall, I was able to implement new theories into my teaching, and I was able to see the students improve and jump on board. It was amazing to see these students progress through the season and really come out as a real award winning ensemble. I thought that I had been teaching these students all year, but really they had been teaching me.

When the indoor season came along it brought new challenges. We now had to move on with new music and new instruments. (Since we marched a battery.) But once again the students pushed me to be a better teacher, and I learned so much about starting an indoor program.

If you ever had the opportunity to teach at a new school, you should jump at the chance! I learned so much about starting a program and hope that one day I can again implement everything that I have learned. It is a completely awesome experience.