EdTech Interview: Apple Distinguished Educator

By Monica Burns 01.03.2016 blog
Boy spending time with notebook and modern technology

In this continuation of our series of EdTech interviews, I spoke with Adam Goldberg an Apple Distinguished Educator from New York. Adam shared some of the ways he uses technology as a teacher and provides a perspective on the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) program.

Please describe your current role in teaching and the student population at your school.

I am a teacher of Instrumental Music and Music Technology at P177Q in Fresh Meadow, NY. Close to 500 students attend my school, about half of whom are diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. The remainder are labeled as ‘I.D.’, or Intellectually Disabled.

What does it mean to be an Apple Distinguished Educator?

Words cannot describe! It is not only a great honor, but also an incredible opportunity to collaborate with the best educators on the planet. ADEs are always willing to lend their expertise and experience to anyone who expresses a genuine desire to learn, and to improve themselves. We are advisors, authors, advocates and ambassadors for the great values, principles and power of education.

ADEs represent the best of what educators are, but not only because we expertly use current technologies to support student learning. We have every student’s best interest at heart, and want to make sure that each is able to both receive and express learning in ways that are optimally suited to their individual learning style. That is where the technology comes in. We use tech simply as tools to service the learner, the learning process and the subject matter being taught. It is through our passion for both our students’ right to learn optimally and the subjects we teach that these technological tools become powerful supports for learning, and expressing learning.

What type of technology do you use in your classroom?

My students use various instruments to make music, but the iPad has become the centerpiece of my program. The incredible selection of viable, professional quality music-making apps give me a deep well of resources to go to in servicing each student’s ability to express themselves musically. And when I route audio and MIDI from the iPads into Logic Pro, this even further enhances the growing power of the iPad as a legitimate musical instrument and gives my students access to a world of sound possibilities with which to express themselves.

How has technology changed the way you teach?

Because the physical barriers put up by learning many traditional musical instruments are circumvented by my students use of the iPad, I can teach music on a much deeper level than I could before I started using iPad and Logic Pro. Instead of focusing on technique, or playing the right notes, I can much more quickly get into more advanced, abstract, aesthetic concepts of the art of music making.

So in this way I service the music, but at the same time I am more deeply servicing the learning needs of even some of my most challenged students. I am constantly amazed at how much they understand when I speak to them even in abstract terms. And most importantly for the student population I work with, they are learning how to work together in a highly interactive, collaborative social context. The thing I stress the most is the concept of listening. Listening to each other, listening to themselves and listening to the group as a whole. This really cuts to the most crucial aspects of social skills development, as it is based on awareness of self in relation to the self’s environment. Music, as I am now able to teach it via the supports that technology offers, provides a safe, enjoyable environment for the learning and application of these invaluable life skills.

Follow Adam on Twitter to learn more about his work with education technology.

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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comments

  1. katzwalk

    so cool

  2. Nicholas Campbell

    Pretty cool, I like the idea of teachers and others teaching with more technology!

    • Jordana Montegut

      Yay technology

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