Hi! I'm Sam. I teach music theory at a community college in New York.
I have always experimented with using digital resources in my teaching, but this semester I'm going to try something new: I'm going to load my course with social media. And this blog is my way of documenting, processing, and sharing that experiment.
Wait, social media? Like what?
YouTube videos, podcasts, blogs, Facebook groups, Twitter feeds, Instagram, Pinterest... There's so much amazing stuff out there!
Cool, so what's your class, and what's your blog?
I teach an introduction to music theory for freshmen and sophomores who have little to no knowledge of music theory. Many of them are incoming music majors, while others are simply interested in music. Concepts include the basics of staff notation, simple vs. compound meter, scales, triads, and basic chord progressions. Students will also learn how to play all of the "white key" scales and triads on a piano; our classroom is equipped with 20 digital pianos for this purpose.
So this blog, which I'll update every Tuesday during the Fall 2018 semester, will be a journal of sorts:
Isn't social media just for, uh, socializing?
Ok, so, to rebut this common myth, I'm going to quote an English professor. (Obviously, right?)
Dr. Ryan Cordell, Associate Professor of English at Northeastern University, has noted that a lot of people dismiss Twitter, because (so they say) "I don't need to know what a bunch of people had for breakfast this morning!"
And they say the same about Facebook, and Instagram, and Neopets, and -- let's face it -- basically the entire internet.
“If that's what you’re seeing on Twitter, you’re following the wrong people. Twitter can help academics make and maintain connections with people in their fields, find out about interesting projects and research, or crowdsource questions and technical problems."
In other words, no, it's not just about casual socializing.
Social media is still so new, especially in academia. In fact, many teachers have banned all computers and phones from their classrooms, for fear that students will be distracted by texting and surfing (i.e. by using social media for casual socializing).
But social media can positively transform our teaching and learning in soooo many ways, if only we know how to use it effectively. Most of us just don't know how. And honestly, that goes for me, as well, which is why I'm so keen on pursuing this teaching experiment and blog.
In sum: this blog is not going to give you fail-proof, guaranteed methods for successfully using social media in your teaching. Instead, it is going to be an awesome adventure, full of curiosity, questions, quite likely some mistakes, lots of exploration, and hopefully, in the end, a few useful insights.
I invite you to join me on this adventure by contributing your thoughts, questions, complaints, and so forth in the comments section below each post. Honestly, I do really enjoy reading my own blog posts, but what I like even more is engaging with others in meaningful conversation. So, please, post away - I look forward to talking with you! (unless you're a troll, of course; I love to see trolls in fantasy novels and movies, but not in my blog.)
Let's do this!
Let's go! Looking forward! :-)