Teaching the Teachers: Professional Development Between Schools

Video

I was invited to speak today with staff from Catholic Cathedral College who were part of a Professional Learning Group (PLG) that is focusing on the impact of technology in the area of literacy.

Unfortunately, I could not be physically present after having knee surgery, so made use of Skype and Screenflow to record the videoconference that took place instead. A wide ranging discussion took place over the next hour and I’ve edited this down to the following:

Early Reflections on 1:1 Computing Launch

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Mr David Bevin (Head of Teaching & Learning) and Mr Sam McNeill (Director of ICT) discuss the launch of St Andrew’s College inaugural 1:1 Computing Programme with the Yr9 2014 Cohort.

A more detailed breakdown of feedback from students, staff and parents will follow, along with a recording of students discussing their thoughts on how Term 1 has started for them.

Technology and Music – Let’s start at the very beginning

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As the first blog post that provides a look into how technology is being used in a classroom at St Andrew’s College, it seems appropriate to start with a department that has been utilising the power of computers in teaching and learning for a long time. This is, of course, the Music Department.

Sitting down and talking with Head of Department Mr Duncan Ferguson it is apparent that technology permeates all aspects of music composition these days. He notes:

Mixcraft (composition software) reinforces traditional teaching of the elements of music by giving students a visual representation of abstract ideas such as ‘texture’ and they can literally see the structure of a piece of music by looking at the timeline in the software.

This works particularly well for junior students who have perhaps not been previously exposed to musical theory. With more advanced senior students, the technology enables them to create quite outstanding work. An example of this is a requirement for a Level 3 (Yr13) Standard, simply called Making Music (3.4).

This standard requires students to take inspiration from an area of the Visual Arts and compose an accompanying musical piece. An example of student work comes from Harry Guy who focused on this task:

  • Compose an original piece of music inspired by a visual art work, which could be a painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph, or graphic art.

Check out Harry’s video talking through the connection between Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and his own composition:

Unsurprisingly, Harry’s interest and skills in composition started a number of years ago, Continue reading