A few days ago, I stumbled upon a link that advertised a new App to help students be more engaged and practice more.
I thought to myself, ” Hmmmm… this is interesting. How are they going to do that?”
We all know that students are not practicing as much as when we were growing up (wow-that made me sound so old!), so what's so special about this thing that will change this downward trend?
So, I clicked on the link, and was brought to a site called Practicia.
“Cute name,” I thought.
As I watched the intro video, and scrolled down, I got really excited.
No, not because I am such a geek (that's beside the point), but because I saw the huge potential in this App actually being effective in creating interest in practicing for students.
Practicia is an App that is a comprehensive practice management system. It allows teachers to give clear, multimedia practice instructions, and it allows students to accurately log their practice time and activities.
What does this App do?
When I spoke with Sam Rao, CEO and Co-founder, for my Radio show, he told me that this Cloud-based App can:
- help teachers better understand how students are practicing at home
- allow teachers to send instructions for assignments, including video instructions!
- allow teachers to send practice instructions to their ensembles or sections of their ansembles
- calculate how much each student is practicing, so the teacher can create reward systems
- gamify the experience through incentives
- allow teachers to connect with parents and students throughout the week via real time feeds
- allow teachers to see when and how much each student is practicing
- allow teachers to hear what the student is practicing
- allow parents to see that their children are practicing
One huge benefit…
What intrigued me about this App was that I could get a better sense of when and what my students were practicing. Many times, students will say they practiced x minutes for x days of the week, but all we see are practice logs that are usually not completed.
But here's the huge benefit I see from this. Teachers always say, go home and practice. But what does that mean? Well, as teachers, we have to remember that “practicing” needs to be taught and reinforced.
With this App, we can send a Video with instructions on how to practice either a particular technique, or a passage from a piece, anything that needs to be worked on. We can also see and hear what and how their students are practicing. This is tremendous, because it can show us if the student understands the concept or assignment, and can help teachers tailor future lessons to address issues that might not have been apparent in the classroom setting.
Isn't this another way for Big Brother to watch over us?
No! This is just a great educational tool that can help your students improve and help you become a better, more efficient teacher. Don't you ever wonder if your students are practicing properly?
Where can I get more info?
Parents and teachers can go to the Practicia site and learn more about the App. Teachers can also become Beta Testers and get free early access to the Beta Version for themselves and their students. The Beta testers can give feedback and help shape the product that is best suited to teaching music.
The App will be available first for iOS devices (iPad, iTouch, iPhone) in the Beta version, due out later this year in 2015. The Android version will be available soon thereafter.
Most of a student's learning is done at home. The teacher gives the information, allows for classroom interaction, and it is the student's responsibility to take the material and work on it outside of school in order to understand it better and master it. The Practicia App can provide incentives to practice, clear up any confusion about practice assignments, and inform parents and teachers of students' progress.
- If you are interested in this App for your program, check out the website and sign up to become a Beta Tester.
- Listen to my BAM Radio Network show interview with Sam Rao here.
- What do you think of this App? I am very curious to know your thoughts, so write them in the Comments below!
- If you know of someone who can benefit from this article, use the Share buttons below and help them out!
Going off of the previous comment discussion, how do you feel about a very shy, introverted student attempting to get the same sort of information from a teacher as an open and outgoing one? I myself am not a very good speaker, and am very introverted to say the least. In fact, I have some major social phobias which have led me to skipping classes altogether for fear of being called on. For some people this makes sense if you are unprepared, but I typically am up on all my work to the best of my abilities. In response to your video, do you agree with how school systems function with normal test procedures? I find studying specifically for a test is rather self-defeating to actually learning something. If everything not on the test is thrown aside, and a person is really only studying for a good grade, then nothing is really be learned (and more importantly, retained).
Thanks for your thoughts Ryan. I agree with you when it comes to testing. You do have to wonder how much retention there is when all the focus is on studying for a test and trying to get a good grade as opposed to learning for the sake of learning. I think, as adults, we can appreciate the difference, but younger students do not understand this. The creators of Common Core, I think, are trying to get students to think on deeper levels, so that it is not just fact based learning. In time, when teachers are not punished for students’ poor test results, allowing students to experiment and make mistakes will allow them to learn better.
In terms of shy students getting the same level of information from a teacher as an extroverted student, I think the playing field has leveled with the Internet, and in particular Online Lessons and Video lessons. However, if a student wants to go far in music, they will need to learn to present themselves in order to network and get playing opportunities. Here’s where they can use the internet to do research on how to network. Ramit Sethi (www.IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com) has a great course on Networking and another on Social Skills. I would highly recommend checking those out. Good luck!