iPads in the Music Department
Fellows: Nathan Bakkum and Steve Hadley
Through this Technology Fellowship, we provided iPads, software, and relevant accessories to 6 members of the music department faculty and staff. The goal of our project was to explore the viability of the iPad and the iOS platform as an integrated set of pedagogical, curricular, and administrative tools in the department and in the College.
In the classroom, faculty members have used the iPads to fulfill basic classroom functions such as attendance-taking (which is quite fluid within Moodle's attendance structure), reading lecture notes, and playing audio from the iPad. Additionally, the iPad often became a handheld "controller" that faculty members have used to connect to the classroom setups. The faculty members involved in our project also teach in less conventional classroom spaces, from large rehearsals to private lessons. In those settings, the iPad has served some interesting and exciting purposes. Faculty have used the integrated video and still camera to record lessons and ensemble rehearsals and to provide immediate feedback for students. Our vocal faculty, for example, has been able to quickly show students how they are using their bodies to produce sound, resulting in a quick and efficient way to correct technical issues.
In the future, some faculty members would like to see the iPad become the default technology platform for incoming students. Currently, we could see students completing the entire music department core curriculum using only an iPad, but there have been debates regarding whether the device is appropriate for advanced students. As the market of apps continues to expand, some of the advanced, specialized uses of the iPad will certainly become a reality. Right now, the platform is not robust enough, specifically in the areas of music notation and electronic music composition, for our third- and fourth-year students.