I watched/read two suggested sources. The first was Daphne Koller's 2012 TED talk on what the Coursera founders have learned about online educations from their offerings. I was a bit distracted when she described all the cool things that Coursera had in place in the beginning that no longer are part of their platform. Getting a (free) certificate and mid-lecutre quizzes were two that I really miss.
But anyway, one interesting and very beneficial thing about delivering content to a global classroom that hadn't occurred to me was the sheer amount of data that can be mined from the thousands of assessments and how one can use that information to tweak learning strategies, pinpoint pitfalls, and provide more personalized feedback for students.
Dr. Koller was really proud of the peer-grading system that has, unfortunately, become a standard with Coursera offerings. I, as a student, have never found this particularly useful for learning as very often the students have little or no guidance in assessment, resulting in feedback that is based more on uninformed opinion rather than understanding of an assignment's intended outcomes. She offered no firm data, but only anecdotally said that thousands of students are grading each other "quite successfully, I have to say." I would have appreciated an example or two of this.
The second source is close to the discipline I teach. It was the opening chapter to Andrew Brown's book Music Technology and Education: Amplifying Musicality. In this chapter, he examined briefly how technology in the music classroom can be viewed as any one of three metaphors…it can be a tool, a medium, or a musical instrument.
As a tool…an aid to "get something done," he cited the piano as a compositional device that helps one test out ideas. He then likened this function to today's notation and DAW programs, describing them as a sort of virtual sketchpad for working out musical gestures and other ideas.
Technology as a medium can be seen in the modeling of acoustic instruments by synths and samplers, and in the easy manipulation of symbols (music notation) with computer engraving programs.
Finally, the concept of tech as a musical instrument was discussed with the author concluding that, if the technology is approached in the same way as one approaches study of a traditional instrument…with methodical practice and the reward such practice brings…, then a greater potential for a meaningful learning and music-making experience can be had.
Unfortunately, I'm not challenged by any of Brown's introductory remarks. I wholeheartedly agree with them, so this reading didn't get my critical thinking process going for this assignment. But I'm very interested in further exploring his book.
I feel a bit constricted by this assignment because there has been so little time allotted to exploring the research, so I don't feel like I can really address some of the issues presented in a truly objective way yet. I found the comparison of the NBCS music classroom and the Orff classroom at Kamaroi fascinating. But without more detail on the pedagogy used in the former (do they just "jam?" They used that word a lot!), it's difficult to draw meaningful conclusions at this point.
However, in pondering "how much technology and the cultures around digital technology should influence education, and music education, in the 21st Century," I really think that it depends on the the outcomes of the course or program. In a recording arts class, one cannot be without it. In an aural theory class, although there are fine technology tools, a lower-tech approach might be just as valuable to certain students than a high-tech one.