Elkton Middle School Practicum
I learned a lot from my visit to a Middle School technology class. This was the teachers first year teaching this technology class, so while he has a basic outline of what he wants to do with his students, since this class is new he can try out a bunch of different technologies and assignments and see which works better. I think his class ran very smoothly, and for most of the class the students were engaged.
He started the class in his classroom, and he explained how to put their tracks in Ableton together so it was one coherent song, instead of stopping in between tracks. I think the fact that he had his own song, and he was demonstrating before the students actually went and did was effective because he made sure they understood it before they moved into the computer lab. Also, the fact that they went over it before they moved to the computer lab was good because the students were distracted, and could focus on what he was saying.
After everything was explained the class moved into the computer lab so they could work on their own projects. For the duration of the class they worked silently and independently, and occasionally asked questions.
I think what made his teaching so effective was how patient he was. Before the class started, the students were a little rowdy, but he didn’t ever raise his voice. I think this is much more effective in the long run then yelling, especially since it seemed that he had the student’s respect.
What I really enjoy about this class is that it’s available for everyone. There were 2 students who are autistic and they are still able to take the class. The teacher didn’t treat them any different from anyone else in the class, so I had no idea there were people in the class until he pointed it out. I think this is good because it goes along with Dr. Hammels label-free approach because he didn’t isolate the students or treat them any differently, he approached each student in similar ways.
He told us that he was trying to get the students to DJ a school dance toward the end of the year. I think that this could be effective because it allows students to see the practical application of what they are creating and learning in the classroom. This is also good because they are able to collaborate and make something that they can perform other then classical music.
Overall, I enjoyed observing this class. It gave students the opportunity to create music using new technology. It is open to kids other then the one’s in band and chorus. They have/will have the opportunity for a practical engagement, and to give a concert with pop music that their peers can enjoy. Lastly, I think that this class is good for being in its first year, and with some minor improvements and new exercises/technologies the class will continue to be a success.