METOS Conference October, 2010

As many of you know, Teachers College is fortunate to have a pioneer for the integration of music technology in the classroom.  Dr. James Frankel was the link my discovery of the Music Education and Technology Online Summit (METOS) that occurred October 11, 2010.  Fortunately, the conference lectures have been available as archived recordings since October 25th.  If you missed the conference, you can see the lectures by going to www.metosonline.com.

Lead by SoundTree-the leader in turn-key classroom learning systems-this was the first ever online music technology conference. Sponsors of the event included Korg, Noteflight, Ableton,Alfred, TI:ME, ATMI, and others.  It consisted of about 5 hours of online presentations, one session per hour, with the choice between 16 different sessions.  Each session was lead by expert presenters from all over the country in a live, interactive, and free online format.  All you had to do was simply find which room your desired presentation was in, log in, and sit back and enjoy.  If you had a question or comment, you were able to “raise your hand” and ask your question.  You could also chat with other people attending the same presentation.  If that wasn’t enough communication, Metos also had a twitter and facebook feed.

The first presentation I attended was Dr. Frankel’s “Technology Integration in the General Music Classroom.”  For those of you who have taken his Introduction to Music Technology class, the lecture was similar to an overview of the semester’s course content.  His presentation discussed technology’s future in the classroom, emphasis on reinforcing what we already do by using technology to expand the creative opportunity, and specific avenues of integrating music technology in the classroom.  Separated by focus such as instrumental and vocal, stand alone courses, the online music world for educators, online software programs and data storage, software and hardware, Dr. Frankel gave a brief yet detailed description of ideas and tools for using music technology in the classroom for specific purposes.

I was joined Justine Dolorfino at the lecture lead by Jamie Knight entitled “How a Popular Music Program Could Save Your Job.”  Mr. Knight described his high school music program that combined media and music.  If you’ve seen the Jack Black movie, “School of Rock” it might remind you of that.  We expected the lecture to be about integrating popular music in the music classroom and curriculum, but this presentation seemed to focus on extravagant facilities, equipment, and the circumstance of a performing arts high school in California with access to shadow music professionals such as record producers, and television studios.  Mr. Knight was creative in finding extra funding for his program such as applying for grants and seeking other outside funding.  In the end, the presentation seemed to be a showcase for this school and the incredible accomplishments of Mr. Knight instead of informing the general music teacher on strategies for including popular music in our classrooms.

Rick Dammers and David Williams’ presentation “The Other 80%: Reaching Non-traditional Students with a Mix of Technology and Creative Activities in Middle and High School” was the most informative about inclusion.  As music educators, we should have a duty to make music accessible for all and eliminate the notion that school music is an elitist activity.  With technology, it is easier to include more students in creative processes like composing and improvising.  By using what the students know and building upon their interests with the combination of technology we can create new opportunities for inclusion of the other 80% of students not enrolled in traditional music ensembles.

For those who are novices to music technology, Robin Hodson’s “Digital Audio Basics For Music Educators” is an informative presentation on how audio and movies work, and how to record and edit audio.  He also supplies a list of recording devices and microphones along with helpful software to create the best audio recordings.

Mark Lochstampfor’s “Free Digital Audio Software” lecture was dry yet informative.  If one had no one to recommend a digital audio software, Mr. Lochstampfor gives an unending list of audio software, including its compatibility with mac or pc, what it looks like, what its features include, and how easily manageable it is.  If you’re the type of person who likes to know every single detail about what you’re in for before you commit to a software, this presentation is perfect for you.

Although this review of the METOS Conference only highlights a few presentations, these presentations were a personal selection based on personal interests and needs for understanding music technology.  Go to Soundtree.com and find out more about music technology and cater your experience of learning to your needs and interests.