We interviewed several teachers who use Flat for Education in their daily work. Each discussion was rich, and so we wanted to share their knowledge to help you get the most out of our platform and take your classes to the next level.

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Challenge: Technology in the evolving in-person music classroom

There is a common misconception that technology was a way to "save education during the pandemic". This is closely linked to wanting to get everything “back to normal". But what is "normal"? And does it really make sense to simply go back to the way things were? How can schools stay up-to-date and become efficient with these new technologies?

Overcoming this challenge with Flat for Education

With 2+ school years significantly impacted by the pandemic, music education has evolved and teachers have seen how technology can facilitate student success. With all incoming generations being digital natives, technology in the classroom shouldn’t be ignored anymore. Luckily, it is undeniable that music and technology work very well together.

The last few years have been so unpredictable. Most of us had to overcome a fear of technology and adapt to new tools. I hope that, even though we are starting to see a shift back to something pre-pandemic, they won’t just let go of technology. There are some great aspects of that. Now you have the tools to do so much more. When students hit that play button, there is something so magical, because every student will be able to play, even the simplest melody they write. If technology is going to give them that opportunity to play, why would you deny it? (Mrs. Burns)

  1. Create time

Many teachers I’ve had the pleasure of talking to, mentioned that Flat for Education has helped them not only manage their time better but ultimately gives them the feeling of creating more time. Flat for Education's technology helps with some of the mundane aspects of teaching, for example with automatic grading of the music theory worksheets. Then as teachers get more and more used to using the tool, it allows for more time to do fun and exciting things in class that aren't possible without technology.  A great example comes in the fact that many schools have limited access to musical instruments. Flat for Education allows students to experiment with pitches, timbers, and instruments that would otherwise be unavailable to your students, developing their ears and creativity.

Of course, there is a slight learning curve at first, but Flat for Education was designed to be as intuitive and user-friendly as possible to make this transition as smooth as possible. Plus, we have these video tutorials to make it even easier to make the most out of the platform.  

2. For interactive classes

Interactive teaching is about actively involving students in their musical learning process. In traditional music education, it is easy to think that this can only be done by playing an instrument. However, there are many ways to keep your students actively engaged and curious during in-person classes.

Let's start with the most obvious: interactive screens or whiteboards. An increasing number of classrooms have such a device that lets teachers display sheet music, compositions, or any type of musical concept. What you do with it is up to you, but Mr. Blake had a very creative way of using his whiteboard in the classroom:

I’ve actually opened all of the tabs on one screen and projected it onto the board, so you could see all of the scores being edited on the whiteboard, so students could see each other's work. It was brilliant!

This is a good example of how Flat for Education facilitates collaborative work. It is the perfect tool to apply a “think-pair-share” methodology, a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question on a given topic. There are many ways to have students compose collaboratively; here are some suggestions from Ms. Joncas:

  • Finish the phrase: one student composes the first half of a phrase in a shared composition. The other student composes the second half of the phrase. Then, students switch roles.
  • Melody and harmony: one student composes a melody, and shares their composition with a classmate for them to harmonize it.
  • Theme and variations: groups of students all start with a theme. Each student adds their own variation to the composition.
  • One note each: students share a composition. The first student adds one note, then the other student adds a note. Continue alternating. This could also be done with alternating measures.
  • Arrange it: students work together to create an arrangement of a song. They can add multiple staves for different instruments, create harmony parts, add percussion, or whatever other ideas they can come up with.

Don't hesitate to inspire other teachers by sharing your collaborative composition assignment ideas!  Email edu@flat.io 🙏

3. On all devices

Educational tools must be flexible and able to be used on a variety of devices in order to fit the busy and versatile schedules of teachers and students. Flat for Education does exactly that. The web-based software requires no installation and works on all web browsers (PC, macOS, Chrome, etc.). There is also a web application for iPads, tablets, and smartphones, ensuring that students and teachers will be able to access Flat for Education from school or home, or anywhere else with Internet access.

“Cloud-based composition is the absolute way to go. The thing I really like about Flat is that sometimes the student will have the interface open on an iPad, sometimes on a laptop, or on mobile... transferability is revolutionary. I would never go back to having to download something.”

For those who are unfamiliar with the mobile version, here is an example for you!

Ultimately, successful technologies are those that make teaching and learning easier and more productive. Flat for Education is dedicated to providing the best tools for music educators and students around the world to make the overall experience as engaging, powerful, and valuable as possible!

Results

✅ Increased student engagement and musical curiosity

✅ Time-saver for teachers, allowing for more creative exercises with students

✅ Collaboration between students to solve a problem or compose

✅ Convenient access to the material on every device, even on mobile!

Flat for Education features used

Auto-graded worksheets

Instruments (over 100 available!)

Live collaboration

Composition assignments

If you have questions, comments, or would like to share creative ways you've used Flat for Education with your students, please reach out to edu@flat.io!