Tag Archives: Assessment

Gigajam&Yamaha BETT 2010 – Creating Musicians

Music Classroom of the Future - Creating Musicians

Gigajam&Yamaha will be launching their Music Classroom for the Future education solutions during the BETT show at Olympia in January 2010. BETT is the world’s largest ICT in education show and will be visited by over 27,000 delegates involved in education.

Brian Greene, Managing Director of Gigajam said, “Gigajam&Yamaha have shared a vision that all children can have the chance to experience learning a musical instrument over a sustained period. We have been advocating, through the government’s Music Manifesto,that increasing participation requires a technological solution to support and enhance the existing methods of delivering musical instrument tuition.

We believe that 100% participation is possible with Gigajam&Yamaha – music instrument tuition through eLearning – and that the focus now needs to be turned towards young people in secondary education, ensuring that programmes are progressive, sustained and provide continual assessment.”

John Hillier, Commercial Director of  Gigajam said, “This year we are heavily focused on Local Authorities,  Schools and Academies who our looking at transforming learning for the creative arts through the use of technology.”

Gigajam will be joined on stand by Yamaha ‘s much respected Education Manager Bill Martin, together with David Cooper, Director of One Man Band, Gigajam’s appointed Yamaha supplier. To demonstrate Gigajam’s use in UK schools music teachers Ian Wright, Head of Music at Tiverton High School and Sean Ashmore, Head of Music at Pleckgate High School will be visiting the stand to demonstrate their schools’ work.  Both schools are Gigajam Accredited Interactive Music Schools and will be presenting their ideas on harnessing technology and how it has increased participation and engagement in music.

For more information on Gigajam&Yamaha Music Classroom for the Future, then please contact:

Brian Greene |T: 07976 208859 |E: brian.greene@gigajam.com|W:  www.gigajam.com

The Gigajam&Yamaha Creating Musicians stand can be found on the National Gallery, Olympia, London  Wednesday 13th Jan – Saturday 16th Jan. Stand number V20.

Official! More music lessons – to improve memory, intelligence and behaviour

Professor Susan Hallam, of the Institute of Education, University of London, analysed scores of researchers’ studies on the benefits of music to children.

Her report found that learning a musical instrument at school improves children’s behaviour, memory and intelligence. The report was commissioned by the government.

Brian Greene, Managing Director, this week commented on the report, ‘ There is a general acceptance that the activities associated with learning a musical instrument have wide ranging benefits. The specifics and science in this report provide further compelling evicence that this is not just anecdotal. The government, music services and all those associated with music education in the UK, especially the music manifesto,  have worked exceedingly hard to provide more opportunities for pupils at school to access music lessons and a huge step change has been achieved.’

John Hillier, Director of Gigajam continued, ‘This report, yet again, confirms our belief that we need to add a technology assisted instrumental provision to provide the scale of opportunity and participation that we want for all our school students.  The main problems that face the delivery of large scale musical instrument tuition still persist and they are:

I.    Large scale sustained participation in learning a musical instrument is unaffordable under existing structures and,

II.    Even if there were enough money to pay for instrumental teachers there are simply not enough music teachers to deliver the number of traditionally delivered lessons required to give every student a chance to learn a musical instrument.

The government has been very generous recently, but even the current level of generosity will only provide one year of free tuition to primary school children during the currency of the funding . Most music services, who are the principle deliverers of instrumental tuition, are  probably now working close to capacity and more money will not provide a further step change.

What is needed, is for an additional technology assisted structure(s) to be added, alongside, and in addition, to the existing tried and tested structures delivered by music services.  The government has already adopted BECTA’s Harnessing Technology Strategy for teaching and learning, which when used inconjunction with the huge educational technological infrastructure that is available, through our National Education Network, will provide every child, wherever they are in the UK, with access and opportunity to sustained, high quality musical instrument tuition.  Gigajam’s suite of lesson content, curriculum and software, has already been developed with the current technology standards and  would provide students and teachers with:

anytime, anywhere access

independent learning

assessment for learning (formative, summative, continual and terminal assessment, supporting teaching and learning)

personalised learning

progressive and sustained pathways

integration with existing government strategies (music manifesto, musical futures, extended schools, ICTAC)

reach and scale

Gigajam is already being used to provide daily instrumental music lessons for individuals, small groups and whole classes, providing a scale of delivery unaffordable by existing methods. Whole class instruction can and does already take place everyday in Gigajam schools, both primary and secondary and you can see examples online on our Case Study pages.

Introducing Gigajam

http://schools.gigajam.com/introducinggigajam.aspx

Bradley Stoke Community College

http://schools.gigajam.com/CaseStudyBradStoke.aspx

For more information for Gigajam’s support of the government’s Music Manifesto, then please contact either:

John Hillier john.hillier@gigajam.com, or Brian Greene brian.greene@gigajam.com

http://schools.gigajam.com/Default.aspx

Gigajam Autumn 2009 UK Roadshow

SLF2009Gigajam will be out and about across the UK in the autumn, focused on providing local audiences with an opportunity to meet the producers and see Gigajam in action.

SFL 2009 Adrian Carey demonstrating the drums software

The Gigajam Team will be demonstrating the new GigajamVLE service that enables students to learn at school and continue at home. It also provides an integrated ePortfolio to store and automatically mark students’ performances. The system also provides detailed reports for teachers, on students’ progress, to help with continual, formative and summative assessment.

Please feel free to register an account and demo GigajamVLE at www.gigajamonline.com The first lessons for guitar, bass, keyboards and drums are free.

Autumn 2009

The autumn schedule is currently:

3rd and 4th  September 2009

Scottish Association of Music EducatorsStirling University.

18th and 19th  September 2009

National Association of Music Educators – University of York.

23rd and 24th September 2009

Scottish Learning Festival – SECC Glasgow (Stand D30)

3rd and 4th November 2009

Specialist Schools and Academies Trust  Annual Music Conference – Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham

25th and 26th November 2009

Specialist Schools and Acdemies Trust Annual Conference – ICC Birmingham (Stand B20)

Winter/Spring 2010

13th-16th Jaunary 2010,

British Education Teaching with Technology Show (BETT) – Olympia Earls Court, London (Stand V20 National Gallery)

Gigajam are planning to be on hand at The Education Show NEC  and the SSAT Annual Arts Confernce in 2010.

For more information on Gigajam and how we help create more musicians, with our partners, then please contact:

Email Brian Greene or phone 07976 208859. [vCard]

Email John Hillier or phone 07956 466440. [vCard]

Gigajam is an affordable ICT based instrumental tuition programme that provides a scalable solution to teaching and learning the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums. If you would like to know more about Gigajam and how it is helping create musicians, then please feel free to get in touch.

Gigajam can provide stand alone, network and Learning Platform VLE solutions for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools and Local Authorities.

Web http://schools.gigajam.com
Tel 0800 055 6797

Bucks Gets Gigajamming

Mike Woods explains how the School Improvement Service for Music and ICT worked together with Music Services at Bucks County Council to create a simple model for every child in the county to have access to musical instrument tuition.

Schools across Buckinghamshire are now able to offer all students the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, thanks to a project involving ICT, classroom teachers and music specialists across the county. This has been the first project of its kind in terms of creating dissemination centres and collaboration on such a large scale; utilising broadband technology as the delivery mechanism.

As Buckinghamshire County Council ICT adviser, it is one of my priorities to look for ways to develop the creative use of ICT across the curriculum. When I came across Gigajam’s Essential Skills Course, I could see the potential for rolling this innovative software out across the county via BucksGfL, the Buckinghamshire Grid for Learning Broadband Network, as a cost-effective way of linking ICT with music. Also, I envisaged that students would be able to develop their ICT skills using a practical application linked to our VLE (Virtual Learning Environment), either as part of their music lessons, or as an extra curricular activity.

We are a very rural authority with many small schools spread across a wide geographic area and the project also had to involve primary, secondary and special schools, so the solution I chose had to tick as many boxes as possible for all the schools.

Gigajam’s software-based curriculum for the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums provides high quality educational pathways that teach musical theory as students learn how to play a modern musical instrument. To make best use of the software, students progress through the lessons using a computer and a Yamaha MIDI-enabled musical instrument. The suite of instruments chosen for the schools provides students with access to keyboards, drums, guitars and bass guitars, and consist of PSR E403s, DD-55s and two EZ-AGs, to complement the software.

The user-friendly lesson instructions include ‘how to’ videos with professional musicians, audio files, backing tracks and an electronic performance assessment facility for immediate feedback. Students can select multimedia to suit their individual learning styles and the analysis software allows them to evaluate their own progress. The interactive courses are carefully structured so that students learning different instruments develop complementary skills, enabling them to play as a band from the very first lesson.

Thirty schools have been given access to the full Gigajam Essential Skills Course for all four instruments together with the Yamaha musical instruments to carry out the lessons. The schools were chosen in consultation with the advisers responsible for the Buckinghamshire Music Service, not only because of their enthusiasm for the development of music within the curriculum but also because of their interest in the use of ICT. Over an initial two year period we are providing training for them and working with them to develop sustainable curriculum models suitable for each school’s needs.

Five of the thirty schools were selected to take a lead role as mentor schools to become ‘music education hubs’ due to their geographic location across the county and their high level of expertise in music and ICT. Each of these mentor schools was nominated to be the hub for support and best practice guidance for five protégé schools, creating a web of support between all thirty schools. They were also tasked to provide further musical instrument opportunities for curriculum development, as well as after school and out-of-hours community projects.

Access for schools to Gigajam content is through BucksGfL, the County Broadband VLE (www.bucksgfl.org.uk). Gigajam created a website specifically for the project, which was then integrated into the VLE by Atomwide, providers of technical support for BucksGfL. This means that we now have an interactive music school sitting on our Virtual Learning Environment, and our ‘single sign-on’ user authentication system makes the software available to all Bucks students who can log on to the VLE at any time and from anywhere, whether it’s from school or from home.

Via the Bucks Grid for Learning, mentor and protégé schools also have access to a wide range of support resources, including the opportunity to use our Adobe ‘Connect’ video conference system to communicate with each other, as well as with Gigajam’s head office. We are also planning to provide Video Conference Master Classes, demonstrating both musical developments and the effective use of ICT. Schools within the project are already discussing joint rock band performances over the video conferencing link!

All of the other schools in the county who use the VLE have been provided with access to the first five Gigajam lessons for the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. The Buckinghamshire Teaching and Learning Centre and Music Services Centre in Aylesbury also have full access to Gigajam content and software to enable them to support schools, and a set of loan instruments is also available to any school who would like to join in and ‘have a go’.

This is a huge project in terms of its collaborative elements, and as I write we are only just over a term into the project, but we can already see benefits for pupils and schools beyond those originally envisaged. Schools across all phases and of all types are working together in imaginative ways, delivering true personalised learning to pupils. A whole year of planning has produced a sophisticated, yet simple model of delivery that gives every single child within Buckinghamshire access to music lessons in a new and exciting way.

Feedback from pupils and teachers has been incredibly positive:

Staff have commented that:

“Gigajam has brought my music department into the 21st Century.”

“The project has provided me with the chance to learn to play an instrument in an interactive way and at my own pace.”

“The software has enabled a different group of children to access music in a totally practical way – another pathway to learning has been opened to them.”

Pupils say that:

“It’s fun and easy to use.” Hannah yr8

“The software gives a good insight into new instruments and is great to use at home.” Nathan yr11

“I didn’t know that a PC could be used to teach an instrument, and my Dad’s a computer technician!” Maryam yr8

“It rocks!” Darius – yr8

Gigajam’s Essential Skills Courses get OCN Accreditation

Open College Network Credit4Learning, one of the UK’s national accreditation services
for learning and skills, has announced that Gigajam’s Essential Skills Courses for
the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums can now be studied to earn credits to gain entry
into further and higher education courses.

The courses contain learning outcomes, detailed lesson instructions that are supported
by ‘how to’ videos by professional musicians; play-along and record software to encourage
practice; and Analyser, Gigajam’s eAssessment software. This provides students with
a graphical representation of their performances and a score out of 100. Students
can then store their Analyser files in a personal e-portfolio.

The OCNcredit4learning credits will be awarded to students who complete each Gigajam
lesson. Students have to reach a required percentage score for each exercise to gain
the credits; and each lesson has been awarded a ‘credits score’ based on the number
of hours the average learner would take to complete the lesson. All students have
to do is present their performance to the required standard and have certain key exercises
witnessed by an approved assessor, who could be their school teacher, a private music
tutor, or by submitting performances via webcam to Gigajam.

Brian Greene, managing director at Gigajam said: “Gaining accreditation from OCNcredit4learning
is a major step forward for us. Studying and learning to play a musical instrument
is enough for many students, but giving them the recognition for their hard work that
can be put forward for future studies is a great incentive to continue learning. Many
of our students are school-based and a number of schools have expressed an interest
in some form of qualification or certification from us.”

Katherine Gillard, chief executive, OCNcredit4learning said: “We have worked closely
with Gigajam to establish the correct levels of attainment. For each completed Gigajam
level, students will be able to accumulate 14 credits at the corresponding National
Qualifications Framework level. Completion of each level is the equivalent of 140
hours of study recognised by the National Qualification Framework. Students completing
all three levels of a Gigajam course will now have achieved 14 OCN credits at each
of Entry Level, Level One and Level Two, forming part of the credits required for
entry into Further and Higher education.”

Schools, colleges and other organisations are able to register for accreditation of
the Gigajam Essential Skills courses through OCNcredit4learning. More details are
available on schools.gigajam.com or www.credit4learning.com

Gigajam Analyser 2.7 Released

Today Gigajam released their new Analyser 2.7 music assessment software.

Analyser is a unique tool that takes music files recorded by a student during a Gigajam
lesson exercise and generates a graphical display of how well the student did, along
with a percentage assessment rating.

It does this by comparing the student’s recorded performance with the professionally
written lesson content supplied as part of the the Gigajam Essential Skills courses.

The courses are geared around contemporary music for Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Drums
and are ideally suited to beginners and intermediate players alike.

A student first reads through the professionally written lesson notes, watches a video
of the exercise in question and then hears the music played back in the Gigajam Xtractor
software – which also allows the student to adjust the tempo and fade particular instruments
in and out of the mix. They are also able to isolate parts of an exercise by setting
loop points, so that they may focus on a particular number of bars.

If the student is using a MIDI enabled instrument, they can also record their own
performance alongside the exercise, save it to disk and play it back to hear how they
did. They may then push the “A” button to perform an analysis using Gigajam Analyser.

The student can also send the saved performance to their tutor or teacher via e-mail
so that a remote assessment can be performed using another copy of Gigajam Analyser
and Xtractor – without having to have any musical equipment hooked up whatsoever.
The remote tutor is also able to play back the recorded file to hear the students
performance using a PC whilst they visually assess the recording using Analyser.

Analyser forms part of a “closed loop” approach to education as part of Gigajam’s
policy to supply Key Stage 2 and 3 classrooms with an interactive music education
platform – which is also available for purchase using e-learning credits through the
Curriculum Online service.

It is also available on the Gigajam website to the general public as a single user
licence.

Gigajam Rocks The East

At this years E2BN conference, held between the 7th and 9th July 2003, at the Wyboston
Robinson College Centre, Gigajam exhibited its range of Xtractor Software and Lesson
Content offering to be available for Schools during the course of the forthcoming
academic year.

The Essential Drum Skills Course is currently scheduled to go live in September 2003,
with the Essential Skills courses for Guitar, Bass Guitar and Keyboards following
in January 2004.

The Gigajam Interactive Music School demonstrated the Drum Xtractor, together with
its unique multimedia Essential Drum Skills Course Pathway for Schools.

‘The Conference was tremendous, with an energetic ‘can do’ atmosphere’ said Brian
Greene, Education Director. ‘It really confirmed our belief that Education in the
UK is moving forward with great purpose and determination. Chris Kastel and his team
at E2BN ran a great event with credit to BECTA and the DfES for supporting it so well.
The delegates were keen and enthusiastic and the children from Harrold Priory Middle
School were a credit to their parents and teachers and an encouraging glimpse at the
future ahead’.

John Hillier, Gigajam’s Sales and Marketing Director said of the event. ‘It was amazing,
the response and enthusiasm that met Gigajam was well beyond our expectations. We
are really looking forward to developing the many relationships we have made here
within the Education Community’.

Gigajam, also demonstrated their unique e-assessment software that captures music
performances through MIDI instruments and provides a graphic comparison to the exercise
set. They also demonstrated ‘live’ the Online Theory Assessment developed by Gigajam
IT Director Rob Oldham. ‘The online multi-choice format enables students to complete
theory tasks at home or at school, crossing the boundary of the traditional educational
environment. It also helps with student development reporting and reduces the time
teachers spend marking – that’s got to be good news!’

Adrian Carey, Education Consultant concluded, ‘We had a great time and are looking
forward to a bright and busy future. We made a lot of friends, especially among the
children. They even made a video at the show of us working together’.

The Harrold Priory Middle School video is courtesy of Leslie and David – download
it here

‘Rock on Wyboston.you are the Rock and Roll Capital of the world’.

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