Mother's Day (or Father's Day) is a great time to make gifts for parents at school. Why not take this opportunity to carry out a stimulating project for your students while making use of digital technology? This is what Ms. Brigitte-Louise Lessard, an elementary music teacher for more than twenty years and lecturer. Pedagogy and computer music delivered online via Laval University to future music teachers.
The École branchée had the opportunity to meet with this passionate about the integration of ICT in education around this project which is both creative and technological.
Tell us about the project you are carrying out with your students. What are the objectives and how do you integrate the school curricula?
Obviously, this project develops the transversal ICT skills (6) of the PFÉQ, however in music we do not assess the transversal skills. This does not prevent me from developing them throughout the 6 years of my primary school music program. This particular project had few instructions. Children had to record a message for their mother with Audacity. They had to say “dear mom”, say two things they like and then say “I love you”. On this first track, they had to find a bird sound on SoundBible (which allows downloading without having to use an account) and overlay it with their own voice.
This activity made it possible to work on the recognition of voice timbres. Indeed, no name appears on the Padlet, which gives students the opportunity to recognize the voices of their classmates and to share this same experience with their parents. Therefore, students should be skilled with Audacity (recording and sound manipulations), with navigation as well as with upstream and downstream uploading.
Is this the first time that you have integrated digital technology into your music lessons? What place does it occupy?
Children touch the computer world from their first year in my class. I find it an excellent way to vary my approach and especially to put them in charge of their learning. I am integrating more and more the iPad for learning parts (skill "interpret") via first generation iPads (which slept in a warehouse) using the space with tutorial videos that teach the part to play . For my other projects, they are more fixed moments in time, for example the creation of a Rondo on Soundtrap which is usually held in the computer lab in April. I continuously use ClassRoom to stay in touch with my students.
Why do you think it is important to vary the teaching approaches? What are the effects on motivation, engagement and student success in music lessons?
All means are good to keep students active in their learning. I use all the means at my disposal for this, whether digital or not. Also, when students are interested, discipline is much easier to maintain. Technological means allow me to "clone" myself, which gives me time to be more observant in addition to developing autonomy as well as peer learning, because in this project the children work in teams of three or more. four. Thus, the realization of the first student is a bit laborious, but the team has to redo it for all the members, so that they will repeat the same operations three or four times.
Tell us about the parents' participation in this project.
Parents are invited to visit the Padlet, to "find" their child's voice, to comment and "like". I receive real-time notifications on my cell phone to moderate parents' comments. So I can directly delete those that would be inappropriate, which happens very rarely.
What advice would you like to give to music teachers who would like to integrate digital projects? What resources do you offer them?
The first element, essential in my opinion, is to keep the proportions small at the beginning. Small projects to experience success and gain confidence. The first times my students worked on Audacity, we don't save anything, we just play with the software. I avoid all the difficulties of collecting work, but the students learn anyway. Later I add steps.