Final Reflection

Re-Imagine School

My Final Thoughts

After taking this course, I noticed that I learned a lot about technology to use in a standard students-sit-at-their-desks type classroom. As a future elementary music teacher, I personally hope my students are never sitting down but rather up, active, and engaged. A lot of the tools I've learned about are nice, but don't exactly apply to my typical classroom, so for my final project, I'll be researching technology for elementary music classrooms.

Limited Technology

Quite often, music classrooms lack the technology granted to other classrooms. I observed a music teacher who was the last to get a projector for his computer (the other teachers had theirs for a couple YEARS already!) and he uses it every day for music theory for his middle school class.

In my own experience, while all the other classrooms had SMART boards installed in my school, both the band and choir classrooms weren't offered the same luxury and if the music teachers wanted to project anything on to a screen, it was back to using the old overhead projector and a white wall that we needed to borrow from the library.

How One Teacher Makes It Work

I found "Kelly Riley's Music Classroom" where she had a SMART board and five computers available for her class and she came up with a brilliant lesson. Students worked in groups on Do-Mi-Sol compositions, make their compositions look shnazzy with the computer or SMART board, and practice them on barred instruments. It worked in stations and the kids worked in teams, making Mrs. Riley available to walk around and help students. I thought this was a great idea for when I have my own classroom.

The bulletin on the left are all the final compositions by her students!


SMART Notebook

Reading through Mrs. Riley's blog, she uses a program called SMART Notebook, and I've come across it in other blogs and research that I've done. So...what is it?

It's a program for SMART Boards but can also be used on iPads and computers. It's an interactive software that allows for more engaged learning, especially since it integrates such cool technology. I remember when SMART Boards were first introduced, everyone couldn't wait to get up and do a math problem or correct a sentence. Since a lot of classrooms are using SMART Boards nowadays, I'm hoping that at whatever future school I teach at, I'll have one in the classroom. If not, I'll definitely ask for one!


Interactive Music Room Book 2 Unit 1 Lesson 2 Demo

Band In-A-Box

Band In-A-Box is basically a revved-up version of Garage Band and available for both Windows and Mac. It's a program with audio tracks from virtually every instrument and each sound has been recorded by an actual musician rather than a computer-generated sound. It's simple to use, all you do is plug in the chords you want, choose instruments, and the program generates the song. It can also generate songs for you, allow you to input your own solo track, mute other parts for practice purposes, and even converts the songs into sheet music! This is probably really great for high school music teachers, but this can also be used as well by elementary school teachers. It can be used for a composition lesson, keeping the beat, and even playing instruments along with the tracks that can be created. It does cost and it is a little pricey, but I think it would be a worthy investment.



That being said, if I am fortunate enough to be in a school with iPads available to my class, Garage Band is then available and can be used for creating beat tracks, composition, etc. I've decided to do some research on some iPad apps for music teachers and here's what I've found.

This is an eTextbook (believe it or not) about engaging learners with listening to music ranging from ancient, to classical, to contemporary. "Every page uses audio, video, 3D instruments, tablet drawing exercises, or instant listening tests to actively engage learners."

It saddens me that it only has about 120 listening examples, but hopefully updates will come to the book soon. In the meantime, I see this eTextbook being a great for cross-curricular learning.



This is an app about note recognition. It's more suited towards piano students as it heightens sight-reading and note-reading skills, so I may use this for my older elementary students when they get into note reading, and could possibly use it for the gifted students who have an easy grasp on reading music. This game can heighten their skills.



This app pays homage to the group STOMP for it allows you to create everyday objects into instruments. This goes hand-in-hand with my future elementary class because I do plan to use objects like coffee cans, buckets, cups, lids, etc. as percussion instruments.


Pitch Painter

This goes hand-in-hand with techniques I'll be using in the classroom. We often make "roller coaster" lines and have our voices follow the line so students can learn the difference between higher and lower pitches, and also explore their vocal range. This app has the same principle but uses instruments to create the sounds.


iPads+Music Challenges


These are some of the other techy tools I would like to use in my future classroom.


Clearly I like this program since I'm using it right now. It's a great way to make Newsletters that I can send links out to parents and give them updates on what's going on in the classroom. I would love to use this Newsletter to showcase student work especially but to also let people know about events and such, and even what activities that parents could do with their children at home so the music learning doesn't have to stop when the school bell rings.

Phrase It

This is a comic-strip maker that I can see myself utilizing in my class. I would like to have my students create their own comics and then play their own "soundtrack" of sorts along with it as the comic is presented. This could easily be a group project with students using household instruments to accompany their work.


Voice Thread

This is an online program designed by teachers as a collaborative program. It could be used for tutorials, group projects, etc. I used it myself to create a tutorial on the parts of a saxophone. I can use it to create tutorial videos for the classroom xylophones, use it for group projects for the older students, and a variety of others.



This is an online program that allows you to create very professional-looking slideshow-type videos. The downside is that you're only allowed 30 seconds.

I “pinged” an idea on how to use this in my future elementary classroom. If the school I have is fortunate enough to have iPads or some other form of mobile computer, then I would have students use these videos to do mini presentations on composers, or as an introduction video to their presentation. Or they could make a video of their favorite instrument and would give a short speech to the class why it was their favorite.



Surprisingly, Pinterest is actually a wealth of resources for teachers and I'm taking advantage of that by following music educators, elementary teachers, music education organizations, etc. It's incredibly handy, especially for finding games and classroom management techniques.


Windows Movie Maker

This is a program that is pre-programmed on most PC computers or it's available for free download. It's a rather basic video editing software but I like it and it's pretty user-friendly.

This video (below) is one I made in May 2013 as an introduction to Vocal Pedagogy for a future middle/high school choir class and interested parents. I made the video using footage I shot myself, my own narration, and a PowerPoint converted into a video and refined using Windows Movie Maker.

I plan to use this program frequently in the future.


Mechanics of the Voice

Google Drive

This is something many students and teachers are already using (including myself.) Google drive is a great way to work collaboratively with others, especially when you have busy schedules and can't always meet at the same time.

I use it to make documents on the go via my Samsung Galaxy Tab. I use it a lot for completing assignments when I'm away from my own laptop, creating study guides with my classmates, and using spreasheets to select music from the choral music library. I haven't tried it yet, but it does have the Drive version of PowerPoint that looks pretty handy. I have been told that some school systems have been using Google Drive as a free replacement of office suites, which I think is a pretty good idea. I hope I'm at a school system using Google Drive!



Spotify is a free music service, similar to Pandora, that's available anywhere (computer, smartphone, tablet) as long as you have an internet connection. What I like about it is the variety of music it has. A classmate of mine plans to use it in her future classroom because of all the ethnically diverse music as well as important pieces from the different musical historic eras (baroque, classical, romantic, etc.) Because it is free, it does have adds, but I think the variety, playlist capabilities, radio, and it's user-friendliness makes up for the fact. And if I wanted no adds, I would just need to pay $5 a month which I think would be worth it.



This is by far the best free audio recording/editing software I've ever come across. I have been using this program for a long time and it's very easy to use. It's great for making recordings and to convert files to .mp3 format. It's also how I recorded my narrations for my vocal pedagogy video above.



This is a wonderful, free music notation software that I have been using since I got to college. It takes a little getting used to, figuring out all the tools and shortcuts, but once you get the hang of it, it's very easy. I can easily make handouts with this, compose, transpose, etc. I recommend it to anyone who wants a versatile music notation program without spending any money, especially to college students with a very limited budget.

Also, it has very nice tutorial videos as well as a lengthy handbook. The only downside is really is that it's made by a British company so some of the music terms are different than what we use here in America. It's pretty easy to adjust to though.



Reading one technology for education blog, it had a teacher's review/use of Evernote which is online note-taking and file-sharing. This teacher used it for not only taking notes in the class, but posting study guides that all students could access, projects, presentations, and even for sending reminders to students. This is something I could see myself using with the older elementary students for projects.


The Teaching Channel

This is basically a video resource of lessons, strategies, etc. posted by veteran teachers available to the public. It even has some videos of music lessons in elementary schools that I particularly enjoyed. It's a great resource for ideas.



This is an online resource of public domain media (such as images) that are legal to use and safer to use rather than finding something from google images that may be subject to copyright. It's a great resource for any educator and for students.



This is one of those cool text bubbles/pictures that you can make by just imputing some words and out pops one of these cool images (pictured below) This would be a fun project to do with my students where they create a Wordle with adjectives that they use to describe a certain song or songs. It would be something good to do at the start of a new unit and post it on a bulletin board in the classroom.


In Conclusion

This is just a fraction of my research, I just decided to put up the most relevant. But there are some music education blogs I now follow that feature many tips, tricks, ideas, etc. for music education, as well as technology blogs specifically for music educators. I've discovered that there's a vast availability of free or low-priced tech for music educators.

Before this class, I really didn't think about integrating technology too much into my classroom because I want my class to be very hands-on and authentic, but I have now come to realize that technology can be hands on and authentic where I had thought otherwise.

I still need to do some more exploring and experimenting, and probably do a lesson with technology at the elementary school I will be student teaching at to see how it goes and fix the "bugs." Nice thing about technology is that it's always changing and improving, which is one of the many reasons why we are constantly learning, and constantly re-imaging our classrooms.