I truly believe we are at a tipping point in the field of K-12 education in the United States. We live in a world that provides a constant and continuous flow of information to our brain anytime, anywhere. Never before has technology advanced at such a rapid rate, barely allowing for any trickle down to occur before newest “next best thing” has taken over. Not only do people have access to the internet in the palm of their hand, but they also have great accessibility to the internet via a wide range of phones, music players, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Our students know of no other world; this is the world in which they are growing up.
So then why do I believe the field of education is at a tipping point? Because the world is changing so quickly, within the next few years education will require technology to be at it’s center core. No longer will it be an extra, an add-on, or an incentive for motivation; it will be the main vehicle for driving student learning in our classrooms…and beyond. Textbooks, desks, and whiteboards will all become a thing of the past, as they won’t be able to keep up with future trends in education. Students will be so accustomed to having web access that “powering down” when they enter a classroom will no longer be an option. “Bring Your Own Device” classrooms will emerge as the norm, and students will be expected to be an active part of their own personal learning networks.
As a music educator, I am well aware of the great hesitation towards technology that exists in my field. I am glad that I have already approached that intersection in my career, and embraced the potential technology holds in the music classroom. While an iPad will never fully replace a child’s experience of playing a musical instrument, it can provide the tools and resources to keep a child motivated to continue learning to play. A MacBook will never replace the creative process involved in composing music, but it will facilitate a student’s experience with writing, recording, listening to, and assessing their own music. Technology has the potential to provide music educators with a vast array of tools that will apply across the spectrum of our curriculum, and that is an exciting prospect to consider as we continue moving forward towards this tipping point.
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