In the last class of this course, we talked briefly about virtual reality, augmented reality, and QR codes.
Virtual reality allows for students to experience different places and worlds without actually being there. Google cardboard is an example of a virtual reality headset by simply putting a smartphone into the viewer and opening a virtual reality app that can be downloaded from the app store. The virtual reality options are endless and it is a great way for kids to be engaged and suits all learning types especially for those who are visual learners. However, some people may experience nausea and it is not recommended for children under the age of 13 as it could disrupt certain parts of the brain.
QR codes are codes that can be scanned by a smartphone which leads to additional information in the form of a URL link. it is a super convenient way to share information and can be used by students and teachers for assignments and projects, on a bulletin board, worksheets, and helps to form professional develop connections. Augmented reality takes the idea of QR codes a little further. An app called “HP reveal” allows teachers to create hot spots on a piece of paper. When they are scanned, a 3-d object pops up and can bring students to audio files, pictures, and videos for deeper understanding of a concept.
Since the midterm, I have managed to sing and play the ukulele at the same time and even learned another song! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it’d be, as I was already thinking of the lyrics in my head while strumming the chords. With consistent practice, I was able to work on the following for the song “Can’t help falling in love”:
Having a more relaxed strumming hand. Before, I was focused so much on what my left hand was doing and what chords to play that I didn’t pay much attention to what my strumming hand was doing. Now that I am more comfortable with the chords, I have a more relaxed strumming hand. However, there is definitely room for improvement especially during the bridge section with single downward strums.
Smoother transition between chords. I had trouble with my chord transitions in the beginning, specifically shifting from one chord to the G chord and making sure that all the strings sound. With practice and better positioning of my ukulele, I am now able to move faster and more smoothly between different chords.
Using different strumming patterns. For my midterm, I did a simple D-D strum for each chord of the entire song. I thought it would be good to change up the pattern so I did a D-D-U-U-D-U pattern for the second verse of the song.
The second song that I chose to learn is called “happier” by Ed Sheeran. This song only involves three chords (Am, F, and C) and they are on the easier side, so I decided to fingerpick the beginning part to make it sound more interesting and to make it more challenging. I like how this song lets me focus more on singing because the chords are simple and repetitive. One thing that I can work on for fingerpicking is making sure I don’t play the C string too loud. This can be hard to do because I use my thumb to play this string which is stronger than the rest of my fingers.
Some things that I still have to work on include my thumb placement on the back of the fingerboard and making all my chords sound especially the transitioning to the G chord in “I can’t help falling in love.” I also want to experiment with using a pick for strumming. I will continue to work on these songs and fully memorize them so I can perform them to friends and family!
My greatest professional strength as an educator who will teach music is my natural ability to help and empathize with people. With my past experiences in taking music classes, I can apply the knowledge that I have learned into my teaching and help me to understand what my student’s needs are. I was once a student who knew nothing about music, but I remember a lot of the techniques my teachers have used to help me understand musical concepts that I can adapt and also use in my own teaching. Having these resources and my former teachers to ask for teaching advice will allow me to effectively help each individual student and meet their needs.
When I think about myself as a future educator teaching music, I picture having a piano in my classroom and playing the accompaniment to songs while my students sing. I feel extremely happy and excited to be sharing and teaching music to others, as it is a huge part of my life. I think that music is so important for the development of a child and for me to be a part of that is a wonderful feeling. Through my passion and enjoyment for music, I hope to create fun lessons that children will remember and impact students in a way where they will enjoy music too. I have a lot of ideas that I want to try out that I have developed through my many years of taking music lessons, my piano lesson teachings, as well as from this course and from my peers.
My greatest area of growth during the year/course has been in the area of integration of other subjects into music. Music is a universal language and can be tied into language arts through poetry and lyrics, math by counting rhythm and note values, science and socials through different song topics, and PE by playing active games with music or moving our bodies to create music. Before this course, I saw music as its own subject and wasn’t aware of all these different connections. By making cross-curricular connections, learning becomes more meaningful and purposeful for students’ learning.
In high school, I took a course online that was very self-paced and I had trouble staying motivated to complete what needed to be done. Because there wasn’t a specific teacher or supervisor that I was assigned to, there weren’t any guidelines for me to follow and it was up to me to set goals for myself and to determine how much time I wanted to put into it. Personally, I prefer face to face lectures as I feel more connected to the course material and the teacher. However, I can definitely see how some students may benefit from other ways of learning.
In this class, I have had the opportunity to be a part of two video conference sessions which was new for me, but they were very informative and it comes to show that learning can be effectively delivered in different ways other than a face to face lecture.
I think that distributed learning adds a new dimension for learning and it is nice to have a change from face to face lectures. Blended learning involves both face to face and online lectures. Not everyone can be present so distributed learning can help fit the box for those individuals. This way, they are able to be present and be able to learn. Not everyone has to go down the same path- there are different learning pathways that fit different students’ needs. Distributed learning can also help students with anxiety or those who live in a rural area who can connect with teachers online instead of having to travel for hours to school.
Similar to the module that we completely last week on scratch, I created another game using step-by-step instructions. This was called “rock, paper scissors“. There were many other lessons to choose from to program the microbit however you want, as well as a section for educators that contains curriculum materials and resources to teach students.
For the most part, the instructions to the lesson were easy to follow. However, because it was not the most descriptive and mainly showed where to put the blocks through pictures, it took me some time to find which blocks to use. There was one section where I had to create a new block that wasn’t already provided for me, so I spent a while trying to figure this out as the instructions did not state to do this. Overall, I had fun with this program and it’s a great way for students to use their creativity and develop skills in coding to make different games and animations. Click here to watch a video of us playing the game we created!
Today, we learned how to take visual notes created from a mix of handwriting and drawings. I have never heard of this before and was a little hesitant to begin with as I don’t consider myself to be a “good” drawer, however I quickly realized that people of all ages and skills can excel at this activity. I started off by drawing simple lines and objects, and learned about designing titles with thin lines for letters, bubble letters, shading for a 3D effect, and adding other simple details for it to stand out. Unlike simply writing out notes or typing them out, sketchnoting helps with memory recall by condensing information faster and connecting it to visual diagrams that the brain is more likely to remember. On top of that, it is also fun, engaging, and it helps with concentration.
Another neat activity I explored was creating an interactive story on Twine. This software allows a user to create a story in the form of web pages, by typing out any information they would like on the page, and adding double brackets around a word or phrase they would like to hyperlink to a different page. It feels much like an adventure, going from one page to another virtually. You are also able to see the whole layout of your story on the main page, which shows boxes of text that are connected by arrows (the boxes being each new page that is created). Best of all, you can easily publish it to html to revisit it and share it with friends and family all across the world!
This week we worked more in depth with scratch.mit.com to create a game. I discovered modules that can be dowloaded with checklists for how to create lots of different games. I started with the basic backdrop and the uncoded “sprite,” which is the character that can be coded.
From there, I followed the instructions for what codes should go where. It goes some-what in depth to outline what the code will do. I thought this was a great way to learn more about coding instead of self-discovery because I could see more advanced, multi-step codes and understand how it works. For Example, to add a timer to the side I needed the block “wait 0.1 sec” above the “go up by 0.1.” If the waiting block was not there the time went up significantly faster by 0.1 because it was not waiting 0.1 seconds like normal time would. The game I worked on consists of a boat that travels along the water wherever you move your mouse. The goal is to bring the boat to the island without hitting the wooden structure. It was cool to see the changes that were being made to the game just by adding more steps and controls to the code.
Although the instructions that were given for the module were clear and easy to follow, they seemed to be missing key points and I ran into some complications half-way through when creating a “hit” boat. When the boat goes through the obstacle and hits a wooden structure, it should break into pieces. I created a second boat and gave it a “broken” appearance, however it did not work when we hit the wooden structure. The instructions for this part were vague and so I were unsure whether or not to add controls for the “normal” boat as well as the “broken” boat. After much time and thought, I thought it was best to move on and add more features to the game.
Some of these features I added include a timer to keep track of how long it takes to move the boat to the island, speed bumps to give the boat a bit of a boost, and seaweed to make the boat spin around. Adding these features made the game more fun and complex.
Overall, completing this module was a great learning experience and a lot of fun!! Not only did we learn more in depth about coding patterns but we also had to use our problem solving skills.