Jazzin’ It Up with Technology

photo (2)Chances are you grew up doing research by visiting encyclopedia pages. Also, chances are that you presented your learning by writing a research paper. And…(one more), chances are, you don’t remember anything you learned by doing that assignment!

Today’s digital tools make possible a plethora of multimedia information resources for research study; these same digital tools also enable new, highly creative ways for students to share their learning.

imageA project recently completed in Brandon Spidel’s, general music classes at Fishers Junior High offers a great example of how technology can unleash creativity to make learning fun and meaningful. Mr. Spidel’s general music classes are studying jazz–both the movement and the musicians. Instead of learning about jazz greats through likely outdated books, Spidel led his students to sites like The Radio Hour, where they could not only read, but also listen the work of the musician under study. All in one location.

photoThe eighth graders augmented their learning with key images, using these to create unique PicCollages of their chosen jazz musician. Through an app called ThingLink, the students were able to link segments of their PicCollages to music and information on the web–links that could easily be visited by others wishing to learn more about the particular musician. According to Spidel, the ability to research online has given students a much fuller picture of jazz music and jazz musicians. Being able to use their own creativity and digital apps to display their new-found knowledge…well, these eighth graders won’t be forgetting what they’ve learned any time soon! Sometimes you need to write a research paper. Sometimes you don’t.