Saturday, 17 December 2011

Carols by Candlelight

I went to my local carols by candlelight tonight. It was a great and relaxing evening out. One of the music teachers from a local school had volunteered a small group of her students to sing at the carols. The students looked so nervous but so excited and this is exactly the sort of thing I was referring to in my previous post!

However, instead of using the live band as their backing music, the music teacher had brought her own cd with the music burnt onto it. The cd frequently skipped and stopped playing during the children's three songs and the whole performance became a bit of a joke. It was plain sad to see students - who had evidently spent a while in the lead-up to the event practising their singing - end up having to embarrassingly laugh at a technology glitch that was spoiling their moment in the spotlight.

The music teacher was doing a great deed by involving the students in their local community, engaging in authentic teaching and donating her Saturday night to the cause. But the best intentions went astray. It's easy in hindsight but she should have arrived early and checked that the cd had burnt the song properly. Otherwise, she should have simply used the live band as the backing music, or ditched the cd after its failure during the first song rather than have it ruin the next two. I think as teachers, when the stakes for our students are high, such as a public performance for which they have ardently practised, we need to make sure if we're using technology, it works and, for when it doesn't, we have a back-up plan or create one fast.

Do you have any nightmarish examples of where technology has let you or students down?

In all-valuable hindsight, what could you have done as a back-up plan?

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