The past couple of weeks I’ve been facilitating a cool project in the 7/8 Arts Ed class that I teach. Or, what I thought was a cool project.
Let me back up – we were working on the music strand in the Arts Ed curriculum. We had talked about different musical elements and we did a little research about them. I took what we had learned and made a Kahoot as a mid-way check-in of sorts. Then, I introduced the bigger project, which was creating a playlist to tell a story. They could tell me any story they wanted to – from books or movies or their own creative story. They had to include pieces of what we had learned about musical elements in curating their playlist.
I gave them time at school to work on the project and a suggestion of where they could create the playlist. I mentioned that I didn’t want a document full of links to click on to listen to each playlist – I suggested creating one on Spotify.
This is where the project started to fail in my students’ eyes. They were not “down” with using Spotify. They complained about using it every time I saw them. But, as they are always online – 92% of them are online daily (although those statistics are for teenagers 13 – 17 and the 7/8’s I teach are 12-13 years old) I asked them what would be a better option?
There was no better option. Most of them used YouTube to listen to individual songs. Some of them were upset about the recent switch from Songza to Google Play. One Grade 8 student said that she wouldn’t use Google Play just because they took away Songza from her. So both of those options were out. I suggested 8track as well, but none of the students chose that option. Every time they complained about using Spotify I asked – what else could you use? They would shrug and continue using Spotify.
So I started to ask why they didn’t like using Spotify. They couldn’t give me any concrete reasons, so I started thinking about it myself. Students are leaving social media platforms because of the permanency and because of the “old people.” So, was it because I (a 26-year-old teacher) had suggested the app/website that the kids in the class didn’t like it? Was it the age of my students? In early years classrooms, most of the kids are immediately engaged and excited when technology is used.
But, alas, I teach middle years Arts Ed, instead of early years Arts Ed and they will continue to confuse me for the rest of the year (and probably for the rest of time). At any rate, they turned in their playlists and will continue to listen to music on Youtube. And we will continue on in Arts Ed. I get to see their sweet dance moves after the break.