The Blair Finch Project
I see huge benefits with Skype Edu! I always love to collaborate, especially since I’m usually alone in my building, and it makes the kids much more excited about learning too. While scrolling through the music teachers on Skype Edu, I saw a lot of people offering guitar and piano lessons via Skype which is a great idea for those who are isolated or who don’t know where to get lessons. It’d be easy to get help in that way, for me to freshen up some skills or for my students. I didn’t see many elementary music teachers looking to collaborate on classroom activities but I will certainly keep looking. So often we work on our own and get stuck in a rut teaching the same things the same way, and I would love to connect with another teacher somewhere who could even do mini lessons as someone mentioned in the Skype Edu Youtube video.
A friend of mine in England actually approached me to do a collaboration project this spring and we are in the midst of figuring it out. My students are composing music on a DAW (Digital Audio Workspace - Garageband in this case) using basic chord structure from the 12 bar blues, as are her students. Our thought was to swap projects at a certain point to receive feedback and even to add to each others’ compositions. For example, one group of fifth graders composed a song and created an mp3 of the music but did not add lyrics or a melody line yet - the boys in England will be able to listen to it and add live instruments to the recording or lyrics. It’s very exciting to be able to share with another group of students on the other side of the world, and most students kept that in mind as they were working, editing and offering each other feedback to really “wow” the kids in England. Currently we are finishing our songs and converting them to mp3’s, and waiting to see how this final collaborative step will work. I can see how Skype Edu would offer more opportunities like this, but it could also give me and my friend in England the chance to share what we’ve done to perhaps inspire more teachers to try the same. We just happen to be in different countries, but if we were just across town we could do the same sort of project.