New Mexico English Teacher’s Garage Band Course Goes Viral

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Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, Ma-TESOL; M.S. SpEd

Albuquerque’s public schools are dedicated to integrating technology into their classrooms, and are able to so thanks to a collaborative effort between the school district and Apple. The Apple Vanguard Team trains teachers in practical things like using their iPads to generate content for their classes.

English teacher Kartrina Hart of Cibola High School was initially intimidated when the team introduced her to the Apple music program Garage Band on her iPad. However, with the help of colleagues, she was able to figure the program out within several days and decided that she could use it in her classroom.

To put lyrics to the music, she started by having students pick out major themes from the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Next, she had them write about them, incorporate their own lives into the theme, and put them to music in Garage Band. The students expressed their thoughts on equality.

Hart found that her students opened up as they expressed themselves through words in Garage Band. She was able to make personal connections with even the shyest of students. Her students talked about home problems, sports, and bullying that they were experiencing.

Now, Hart routinely has her students incorporate their essays and poems into music with Garage Band. The strategy has worked so well that she and a group of students outlined a course using this method. The course contains a step-by-step guide on developing lessons with the Garage Band app, customizable sample lessons, and the standards used in the lesson.

Apple picked up the free course for iTunes U where it is one of the top downloads. In fact, the course went viral around the world.

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