Hi everyone,

I hope you feel good and ready for the Fall season. 🐿

Last week, I interviewed several teachers who have integrated Flat to their curriculum and use it as an educational tool with their students. This post is the first one of a series of success stories that we will release in the blog.

A special thank to Nicholas Conner, who took the time to have such a nice chat with me. 😊

The Classroom

Fairview South School District 72 is a K-12 education institution located in Skokie, in the area of Chicago, Illinois. Nicholas Conner started to work at the elementary school as a music teacher ten years ago. He designed and implemented the curricula for the 6th grade general music program and the 4th to 8th grade band program. The teacher is in charge of three classes between 25 and 40 students, on top of having the role of director of the school choir and jazz band. He is also the coordinator of the annual concert and prepares his students for the annual solo/ensemble contest.

The Challenge

Nicholas’ first goal as a music teacher is to enhance creativity within the classroom. Given the young age of his students, he started with paper and pencils but only obtained a limited success. So, he wanted to provide them with the best tools to develop their composing skills and creativity. Another problematic was to encourage collaboration within the classroom in order to create the best conditions for his students to learn and get a rich music experience.

When you integrate technology into the classroom, you also need structure and discipline to be productive. And the digital tools you implement must enable you to empower students, but also to correct their errors and evaluate their works. For it is essential to measure their progress and achievements, both individually and collectively.

All these aspects combined were the prerequisites for the success of Nicholas’ educational goal. The discovery of Flat constituted a key turning point in his efforts to create a new digital framework in his curriculum.

The Solution

Nicholas started online composing with his classes three years ago. However, he was not satisfied with the softwares available before starting to use Flat. They principally lacked educational features and were technical for 6th grade students.

He discovered Flat at the beginning of 2015. One of his students happened to be an early adopter and told him about the platform. The fact is that he already used it for composing at home. Nicholas was soon convinced by the potential of Flat as an educational tool, as he found the interface very intuitive and user-friendly. His young students quickly created music scores and added notes without difficulty.

“The combination of Flat and Google Classroom proves a lot more efficient with managing my curriculum”

Flat is also designed to adapt to the music teacher’s educational environment and tools. The platform is optimized for Google Chrome and even has its own Chrome app developed for schools equipped with Chromebooks. The platform is also fully-integrated to Google Classroom and enables Nicholas to keep his teaching habits while adding a new software to his curriculum.

The Capabilities

Nicholas achieved his goal of bringing creativity into the classroom.
“Flat gives my students both the confidence and the competences required to write music on their own”, he explained. He also noticed that the students felt much more involved within the class, especially the younger ones.

With classes equipped with one Chromebook per student, you need structure to be effective. According to the music teacher, “The combination of Flat and Google Classroom proves a lot more efficient with managing my curriculum”. Indeed, you can create your assignments directly from Classroom, have a simple follow-up and keep track of the past evaluations. It also makes him gain some precious time and enables him to focus on the content of his music lessons.

“Some of the students are very purposeful on the instruments they are choosing: they have a clear picture of what they want to play and what they want to create”

Flat also made live collaboration possible in the classroom. Nicholas managed to create a much more efficient collaborative environment. The students appropriated the product very quickly and were soon capable of working on individual and group assignments. He was impressed by the level of ownership of his students regarding the use of Flat. “Some of them are very purposeful on the instruments they are choosing: they have a clear picture of what they want to play and what they want to create”, he added.

Flat also proved to be effective with the coordination of the school choir and jazz band. Professor puts a lot of efforts in making the students rehearse for live concerts. On December 2016, he will present his students’ work at the 70th edition of the Midwest Clinic International Band and Orchestra Conference.

As the largest meeting worldwide for instrumental music education, it is a unique opportunity for Nicholas to share his innovative approach to a global audience. He will present students’ work and demonstrate how he made the most of Flat to achieve his educational goals and take his classes to the next level.

We are both happy and proud to share Nicholas' success story with Flat. 🚀

We wish him to keep on doing such a wonderful work and can't wait for hearing more great testimonials from the community. 👍

I hope you enjoyed the read and found it inspiring.
Feel free to write to us and tell us your feedback and opinion about the beginning of this new series of articles.

Have a nice day everyone!

If you wish to enjoy a similar experience with your music classes, make sure to get educational licenses for your school. ✌️