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Music Educators and Technology
A Powerful Merger

It is 1:10pm on a Tuesday afternoon in Room 117 Schmucker Hall, time for Music Education 321, Secondary Music Education Methods, to begin. The students are seated around a table with their iPads open in front of them. They are discussing entries that they and their colleagues have posted on the class’s dedicated Trello electronic story board for group projects. The posts involve discussion topics for the day, questions for the instructor or their classmates, and ideas for the class project. The software allows the class to organize the posts and makes them instantly viewable and editable by all members of the class. Their mentor, Brent C. Talbot, assistant professor and coordinator of music education, arrives with his iPad and the class discussion begins. The students are exploring the topic of developing a curriculum for a music appreciation course at the middle school level. The students’ posts are the basis for the discussion which is lively and interesting. The students are obviously well prepared for class and are far from passive participants in their learning experience. Professor Talbot is an expert on using technology to motivate students and keeping them involved.

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Professor Talbot and the students in Music Education 321 discussing topics proposed by the students on the class discussion board

Board to Consider
Online and Blended Learning

Students in Sociology 327 researching information on Twitter related to recent media events

One of the hallmarks of a Gettysburg College learning experience has always been a close, individualized academic relationship between students and faculty. This has been greatly facilitated by a low student to instructor ratio. Small class sizes, especially at the upper division level, allow for lively interaction and intellectual stimulation. The rise and increased sophistication of technology, the exponential growth of information and resources on the internet and the ubiquitous use of social media have greatly expanded opportunities for learning and scholarship. Virtually anyone has access to courses given at Harvard, Stanford, and many other outstanding, large universities. A variety of online tools allow students to collaborate on projects and share ideas with colleagues who are not in the same geographical area, let alone the same room. In addition, students can explore ancient ruins, art galleries, and other venues without physically visiting them. These are just a few of the opportunities made available by technology. The important question for Gettysburg College is how do these opportunities blend into the Gettysburg learning experience in a way that is consistent with its historical mission? Full Story

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