Thursday, December 22, 2011

iPads in Music Class

We have been using iPads in the Seymour High School music department since September 2010.  iPads are completely integrated into our curriculum.  15 iPads were purchased along with a macBook, iPad cart, sound system, and TV display.

In 2002 I piloted a 1-1 program at Derby High School that unleashed 120 Palm computers.  A review of that program found that using handheld devices increased student test scores, attendance in school, and retention in the music program.  It was a qualified success.

The concepts of mobility and accessibility are often foreign to schools.  Here we believe that students and teachers should have access to information when and where they need it.  In rehearsal, the auditorium, on the bus, wherever.  This accessibility has dramatically changed how we operate in class.  

Students create using Garageband, Google Docs, Skitch, ShowMe, and Book Creator.  Students consume using Safari, youTube, New York Times, Netflix, and PBS.  Students communicate using Evernote, Twitter, and Instagram.  None of this would be happening without the iPads.

In May of 2012 we will be premiering iAlchemy by Douglas O'Grady.  This piece is being written right now for our students at SHS.  We will be performing as full members of the Waterbury Symphony.  There will be a brass section, woodwind section, percussion section, iPad section and iPad soloist.  We are excited to stretch the boundaries of orchestral music.  This project offers mentoring opportunities for our students as they will be working closely with the musicians at the Waterbury Symphony and Western CT State University.

We feel there is no going back.