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Showcasing Betty Reeves and "Technical Music"

"It's fun to use technology in the classroom," said Betty Reeves. "At first, it takes more time and effort, but as we teachers and students become more comfortable with technology, the quicker and easier using it becomes. Technology is here to stay, and we need to use it."

Betty Reeves' students explore music through technology.

But in music? As she devises new ways to impart musical concepts through computing, Reeves, a fifth grade music teacher, is proving that technology has a place in every classroom. She was already using PowerPoint presentations to help introduce composers and eras of music history when Intel: Teach to the Future training opened her eyes to more possibilities. She learned how to more effectively involve the students, and now she relies as much on a printer as on her cassette player and VCR.

Reeves' more than 200 students at Borger (Texas) Middle School are divided into seven 45-minute classes. Each class uses the computer, PowerPoint presentations, and the Internet to view information about musical eras and various composers, to listen to music composed during different eras, and to create their own PowerPoint shows and publications.

"Listening Discoveries: Music History, Composers and Their Music is a fifth grade unit in which I present music and composers from different periods of time," explained Reeves. "Students are encouraged to discover, in class time and on their own, more about composers and their historical times. Students may use all sorts of references and resources, including the Internet, to get their information. They listen to music selections in class time."

Because the composers and their music are presented in chronological order, Reeves' students learn how music from the distant past has developed into the music we hear today. After listening to selections, students discuss the music and how it has developed and changed from music of previous eras. Students also theorize about what will happen to music and instruments in the future.

"Students love using the Internet," Reeves stated. "They love making their own PowerPoint shows and publications. They are very attentive when other PowerPoint shows are presented because they know how much effort goes into creating those shows. I find that students often are more critical than I am! Using technology is a fascinating and attractive way to present to students material on any subject."

Photo courtesy of Betty Reeves.

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Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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