Summer’s drawing to a close for a lot of our teaching community, and we hope you’ve enjoyed a well-earned break! As many of us are probably thinking about the year ahead, here are three ideas from BandLab for Education to help keep the fresh ideas brimming for the school year. By Jessica Vas
Go for easy wins to build student confidence
We believe that technology exists to make your lives easier, which goes hand-in-hand with functional tech tools that should be easy to use. That doesn’t mean your classroom tech has to lack functionality or complex features. But it should be straightforward to get started and see actual results! A couple of ways we see this working on BandLab for Education:
- Signing up and setting up your first school + class on our platform should take you less than a minute. (Seriously, let us know if it works for you. If it doesn’t, we should talk about how we can improve this process for all our users!)
- Try setting an open brief. Once you’ve set up your School and Classroom, hop into assignment creation and set a text-only exercise to get students playing around on the Mix Editor. You could make it a scavenger hunt to find features, or get students familiarising themselves with one set of features, such as adding FX to a track. This can help students build confidence and inspire them to create later on!
Lean on tech to keep inspiration going out of the classroom
Music class can sometimes feel like a nice-to-have in an already packed student timetable, or at worst, an hour of zombie downtime for academically disengaged students. Sure, sometimes a student’s focus simply isn’t there. The beauty of new technologies like Google Classroom is that students can take their work home and finish it at their own pace. It also opens up more opportunities for those ‘aha’ moments to happen beyond the classroom. Some BandLab for Education features that could help with this:
- BandLab for Education is built for Chrome and lives on the Cloud. There’s no patching or downloading of software required. Students and teachers can simply log in on edu.bandlab.com to start creating, and pick up their work at home or on any laptop. And, it’s all free!
- Diving into functionality, we have a built-in Chat where teachers can talk 1-1 with students, or students can discuss assignments amongst themselves. Collaborating has never been easier.
- As part of our June/July release, teachers can now send reminders about assignments to students and other teachers directly.
- And, you can use the Class Feed as a general bulletin board or inspiration board for all things music.
Most importantly, keep up the fun!
Demands on teachers – whether for measurement, assessment or after-school activities – are ever-increasing. Although it seems a little redundant to discuss the importance of fun to a group of music educators (who are creative at heart after all), we all know that when classroom engagement is up, students simply learn better! Some practical ways of having fun on BandLab for Education might be:
- Taking class outside: one example might be field recording or noise sampling from the outside world. Consider integrating technology on field trips or outings to help students engage musically with that experience. BandLab for Education has a mobile version in beta that makes it easy to record or capture ideas on the move.
- Create music for a trailer: this is an awesome (and free) template you can use from our friends at Inclusive Music.
- Using popular memes or references to engage students: Stranger Things 3 dropped over the summer, so how about riffing on that with a paranormal-themed track, or by making use of the Space Juice or Sinister Trap loop packs. (We have over 7,000 free loops available for teachers and students to use.)
As the maxim goes – when things are fun, we tend to learn naturally and effortlessly. We hope this article provides some ideas on how technology can help increase engagement with students in your music classroom.
So what are you waiting for? Log in at edu.bandlab.com and unleash even more creativity with your students today!
About the author
Jessica Vas, Community & Outreach, BandLab for Education
Jess is part of the Community & Outreach team at BandLab for Education, the free to use music production platform. Her role includes working with teachers across more than a dozen countries to help them get the most out of the BandLab for Education platform.