Those working in music education face considerable challenges in thinking about and planning how they are going to work with ICT and music technology.
First of all, classroom teachers have a National Curriculum which directs them to “use technology appropriately”. This is the only reference across all Key Stage documents. Obviously, many teachers will require help and guidance as to what that might mean for them!
Those who work for Hubs or in partnership with Hubs face similar challenges. Their annual returns to Arts Council require detailed responses to these searching questions:
- What music technology have you used in delivering the core and extension roles?
- How are you integrating and utilising music technology into the work of your Music education hub?
- What are your future development plans in this area?
Fortunately, we have a detailed Annex in the National Plan for Music Education [NPME] which outlines exactly what schools and hubs should be doing. The problem is that it does not go on to explain how they might do some of these things.
Therefore, I propose a complementary plan is required. A detailed guidance document that properly addresses these areas:
- what technology? – showcasing the best that is available
- how is it used? – step by step guidance
- musical contexts – cameos showing effective use in practice
- progression plans? – what skills do we teach, and in what order?
- practical considerations – classroom management of technologies
- home – school? Using technology to make stronger connections
We need this and we need it now because we know what a positive difference ICT and music technology can make when it is used well or ‘appropriately’. Students find it engaging, and it is often affordable, inclusive and accessible. It can help drive up standards and can help teachers address problems of work overload and time management.
We no longer have bodies such as BECTA or QCA to do this on our behalf. We therefore need to find organisation[s] who are willing to take a lead on this important task. They will need to identify a team of experts from across the sector who can provide quality resources, they will need to source funding to pay for this and they will need to ensure that this important work can be distributed effectively