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Teching to the Online College Student – Simplicity For All!

Times they are a-changing! Today more students than ever before are returning to get their degrees. This is largely due to greater access through technology. This is exciting! We are becoming a more educated America and in these tough economical times, what could be better? It sounds good on the surface but there are new problems that crop up for students with online education. It is a fantastic idea but the problem I am seeing is that these new students come with new challenges. Every student shows up with a different level of technical savvy. Some do quite well and others struggle to “find” their way around the virtual classroom. No surprise, right? 

As educators, we need to reach them all! Since we created this situation using technology – and technology is supposed to make things easier – then we should USE technology to help with this situation! Eureka!  I propose that delivering the classroom content should not be the only way we use technology to reach new students.

Many students are unprepared for the challenge of finding their way around the classroom. Depending on the student’s previous experience with technology, exploring the classroom may be as simple as breathing but for others it is an overwhelming experience that has them mumbling under their breath “where do I go first?”.  This is something educators should step back and consider. How do we put information in front of them without adding to the confusion?

I have a theory about this. It isn’t new really, but it is logical. I call this the push- pull theory.  While we are constantly requiring students to pull information to them, it is much more effective to push it to them instead. If we want students to succeed, then we’re going to have to find ways to do this. Why not take advantage of this technology that is the foundation for even having these students?

Educators should capitalize on the technology that is available out there. Instead of focusing just on the delivery of the course content we should be thinking about how we deliver help to the students too. In addition, we should make it easier on ourselves by ensuring that it is reusable and that we do not have to keep reinventing the wheel. As an educator, we should make a repository of technological tools that allow us to continue to push information in front of students.

But it doesn’t stop there! We also need to promote its use by the student.  That means that you have to somehow get the message to the students that this technology is available. The idea is to make it easy for the student and to use it in a way that unequivocally also helps to meet student needs. If it makes it harder for the student then it only serves to compound the problem. If it makes it easier for the student then apply it and promote it.

Simplicity for all is the key!

The Chord Wheel – The Ultimate Tool for All Musicians

Book Review: The Chord Wheel – The ultimate tool for all musicians by Jim Fleser

If you have ever tried to learn chord theory and keep it all in your head then you will know that you need a very good memory or years of practice before your brain has figured out what to do, the chord wheel decodes all this for beginners because it is a visual display, suitable for musical students and advanced musicians. Not really a book but an excellent little tool that comes with twelve pages of instructions.

I went through a number of different reviews before I understood that I could be using the Chord Wheel but whatever book I bought, the rest of it would always turn out to be useless. The best thing about this book is that the 12 pages it contains is simple a guide to how to use the gadget.

The book explains things in a simple and clear manner. As you would know, there are a number of books available in the market for the same purposes, but all these books begin with the basics and then go on to the different ways and exercises which make it hard to keep track of the information. It is hard to identify how the information is useful or how it is relevant to subject. It often feels like we need a whole new bout of education before we can figure out everything we need to know.

In this case though, the gadget turns out to be beautiful. Most people agree that the chord wheel is highly useful. All you need to do is pick a key and play the chords that are included in the family. You can find these online or in reference guides. You can play the chords in a particular family in any order or combination that you find appealing. You need to ensure that you like the sound that you are producing of course.

Some advice, Do not try and understand each and every concept but try to understand how things fit together. Basically, you should focus on trying to build a strong foundation by learning the concepts properly.

This brief little book and the chord wheel gadget are arguably one of the best practice tools of all time.