When teachers design learning modules, they start by selecting the resources that they believe to be the most useful. The teacher is the expert on curriculum and pedagogy, so these resources may be the best but they tend to be centered around how the teacher learns. Each student has different learning needs, so curated menus can be a great resource for teachers to expand their learning modules. As I am researching resources to design a module, I maintain a list of everything I look at and feel is well designed. After selecting the resources that I find to be the best to design the lesson around, I provide my students with an additional resource list that they can explore for different perspectives. I also include a video that provides a quick overview of each resource.
Resources based on Engaging Pedagogies
Ableton Education Resources (Learning Music and Learning Synths)
When I am developing modules, the first place that I look for resources is from standard industry professionals. Ableton is a company founded in 1999 that develops the digital audio workstation (DAW) Ableton Live. Ableton’s DAW is one of the most innovative created focusing on being an instrument for live performance, in addition to standard DAW functions. Ableton has developed two sets of curriculum that are free, interactive, and can connect with their DAW. The first is Learning Music which teaches the basics of music and music production. The second is Learning Synths which teaches the basics of sound synthesis and sound design. The best part about these resources is that they provide students with information on a variety of genres and have interactive elements for students to play and learn with.
After looking through what the standard industry professionals have developed, I start to look for who is new to the industry and trying disrupt with innovative approaches. This lead me to Hook Theory which aims to take music theory, a concept that is vital to learning how to compose music, and modernize it for contemporary use (such as shifting to MIDI notation rather than traditional notation). The website itself is a treasure trove of resources for students. Beyond the original tool called the HookPad, there is a repository of popular songs that students can sift through and analyze, a curated list of the most common chord progressions and examples, and a way to build chord progressions based on the progression trends. All of these together provides students with a multitude of ways to learn and approach topics through data-driven choices (trends), analysis (common progressions and theory tabs), or pure creation/trial-and-error (HookPad).
Music Theory for the 21st Century Classroom
After collecting a variety of interactive resources, I always try to find and include at least one resource that is more content-dense. This provides a fantastic opportunity for students to extend and deepen their learning if they wish. Music Theory for the 21st Century Classroom by Robert Hutchinson is an other resource, this time a textbook, that takes traditional music theory and modernizes it. For different lessons, I am able to reference different chapter for students to utilize, including practice exercises and homework assignments for each chapter. Students can then choose to explore the resource further if something piques their interest related to the lesson, or in their own free time. This also provides a more “traditional” learning resource for students that enjoy having a textbook to reference.
Candidate provided 3 or more artifacts that demonstrate s/he monitors and observes the effectiveness of educational resources in real-time and suggest or seek alternatives as needed.
Using Padlet, you can create individual notes and links to each resource curated for the students. Student can let me and their peers know if they thought a particular resource was valuable by using the up/down vote feature. The more up votes, the more students that thought it was worthwhile. Additionally, the students can comment on the individual resources with any questions, comments, or tips about that resource for me or for their peers. This allows me or their peers to comment back with additional or alternative resources based on those questions or comments.
Using Discord or any other instant messager app. Anyone in class can easily share related resources that I might not have found when curating content. This is great for encouraging students to explore on their own and developing the research skills. Similar to Padlet, students can react to the individual messages to indicate if the resource was helpful or not. There is also the opportunity for students to have immediate discourse about the assignment, which others can go back and read to determine if it might be something useful for them. Often times when someone shares a resource, it will remind someone else of something they saw which they end up sharing. It helps create a cycle of students sharing things they have come across when browsing the internet.
At the completion of a project or assignment, I will often ask students to reflect on the resources they used to help them. These questions asks the students to talk about the resources that were the most helpful and why, in addition to the resources that were the least helpful and why. While this isn’t necessarily immediate feedback, it does provide me with deeper feedback on why some resources are or are not working. It also gets the students to not only reflect on the resource, but what things tend to help them when they are going on their own learning journey or creative process. I’m able to take these responses and then adjust the types of resources I provide for the next assignment.