Today I sat on a panel discussion at the national MENC conference in D.C. on the topic of whether or not we should develop national standards for music technology.Â I had my own feelings and ideas about the idea, and I let my voice be heard, but several of my colleagues also had very interesting points of view on the matter.Â Don't worry, from what I saw and heard there will not likely be any national music technology standards in the near future, but the discussion was interesting and I have to say enlightening in many ways.
First of all, the reader should be aware that MENC actually published a set of national music technology standards back in the 1990's.Â They were intended not as binding documents but as general guidelines, and honestly I had not been aware that the document even existed before being asked to sit on the panel.Â The old guidelines were basically opportunity to learn standards (OTL) that tried to be something that a music educator could take to their administration and use as a way to demonstrate that funding music technology in the classroom was a valid request.Â Today technology has permeated every part of our classrooms and our lives and these OTL standards almost seem unnecessary.
What would instituting national music technology standards accomplish?Â It depends on what form they would take.Â I am totally against content standards in that I believe that technology is simply a tool.Â To use an analogy, music is like a steak, and any technology that we use in its instruction is little more than salt and pepper, something that makes the instruction even better and does not get in the way.
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