eTwinning Project: A Virtual Orchestra

eTwinning Project: A Virtual Orchestra

Livia Casamassima (Istituto Comprensivo di Ferrandina (Matera), Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2122-0.ch061
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This chapter aims to explore new possibilities in musical, social, and cooperative learning offered by new technologies. The author worked on an electronic twinning project creating a virtual European orchestra (choral and instrumental). It was formed by pupils from 6 to 19 years in 5 countries: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, and UK .The common goal was to create a spirit of community, both among young people than among teachers who do overcome the difficulties of communication and enhance commonality and specificity. Music was chosen as subject because of its valences in multidisciplinary and inclusive educational activities. Some of the pupils had special needs, and they were very involved in the project. At the same time, the Greek Music School’s pupils created a Braille Scores’ Library for their schoolfellows. Participants used the European eTwinning platform (part of the Lifelong Learning Program of the European Community) to communicate, exchange files, and publish some of the works.
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We wondered about how much and in what ways we used music in our teaching: stimulus element, integrating background, specific learning goal-technical executive, sensory belt to facilitate other activities. We were interested to compare our experiences with other colleagues working in a variety of situations as possible and, simultaneously, offer our students the opportunity to experience the relationship with others through a channel such as that of their loved-music sound.

Many of italian teachers hadn't a specific musical education, but experienced how music is one of best icebreaking activities for pupils. The twinning was an occasion to have help from more expert colleagues, to learn and apply the tools in real contests, both for teachers and pupils. The Music Schools' pupils practised very hard but needed real occasions to use their abilities to make a product that could be used in other contexts: arrangements made to measure for the orchestra and special needs schoolfellows, playing their instruments, making translations, mixing sound tracks. Younger pupils used sound tracks to sing and play rhythmic instruments and it was very exciting to use their twinners instead of commercial ones.

In everyday life most of our children used a lot of technological tools (as CDs, DVDs, MP3 readers, electronic games) They used to see PowerPoint presentations and videos, to find pictures in the net. Their approach to all technological instruments was just as consumers. Few of them had no access to new technologies because of their family background and had never used a digital camera or a PC. In both the situations the school had to help them to enter the ICT world in a more creative and active way.

So we started to make recordings, presentations, and videos, not just use ready-made ones. Our products were born to share ideas, to build up new products, to help each other to overcome difficulties: ICT were means we must know to use at their best, not something to buy because it's charming.

This required to plan school activities that helped pupils to become planners of their work (that is not so easy, especially for younger ones), to develop their critical abilities to choose among different patterns and proposals, to learn to share their ideas and accept critical essays. We think these abilities are really important in growing up as good citizens and workers.

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