Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Technology Challenges in Music Education: Moving Forward

As we try to incorporate more and more technology into the classroom, better preparing our students for the world today, we still meet with resistance from a variety of sources. One of the main sources of resistance comes from teachers who are unwilling to try to new things. 

When the high school I work for was splitting into two campuses a few years ago, the administration wanted to offer certain classes on one campus and use long-distance learning technology to teach the same class concurrently on the other campus. Businesses teleconference with each other all the time, why not do the same in schools? However, the teachers at my high school were very upset about this turn of events! Perhaps they feared this was one step closer to their jobs being irrelevant? They fought and overturned the proposed long-distance learning project before anyone knew if it could work.

Last year the music theory class in my high school had the chance to move music theory from a regular classroom into a computer lab. The teacher declined because she was afraid of having to incorporate computers into the curriculum! And yet, there are so many terrific music theory training websites and software programs that could help the students improve their understanding of music theory. I am frustrated by this 'fear' of change in schools. But, how do we change this kind of thinking?

I am not sure, but I do think that we have to encourage our students to love learning and embrace change. We have to help our students understand that flexibility and adaptability are imperative in the 21st century! Jobs are changing at a more rapid rate than they ever have in history and if we don't equip students for this, they will likely experience much frustration. Hopefully over time this mindset of resistance can be transformed into a mindset of openness!