Birdwalking on a Snow Day

I should be doing a workshop this morning.  But the snow storm that blew through last night led us to cancel it.  So, I started the day without a to do list.  OK, that’s not completely true…I use Remember the Milk in conjunction with Google Calendar so I always have a list going.  But, as I noted in my personal blog, I had not identified a live frog for today.  I was set adrift.

My first choice was to read the most recent Education Week and actually blog about something.  There’s plenty out there…NCLB renewal, funding for Reading First, even the article about research related to creating K-8 schools, of which the main message is it’s complex and hard to tell if it works…welcome to education.

So, I dutifully opened the newspaper and also opened iTunes.   I’ve been wallowing in English history recently so ended up with Rick Wakeman.  Started with some of Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Then, Birdman of Alcatraz.  Just amazing music.  And, as I have done many times before, went looking for sheet music.  It does not exist.  On Rick Wakeman’s own site, you are told not to ask him for it.

So, it occurred to me that I have the technology to make my own sheet music.  Unfortunately, Garage Band 06 will only display and not print sheet music.  But in a support forum, I found the answer: Logic Express and a midi file.  I own Logic Express.  I almost never use it…I’m heavily immersed in my PhD so my music time is limited.  But, I managed to find the install disk and the license number, and I have sheet music.  Very cool.   I’m sure I just admitted to breaking some copyright law, but it is for personal use only.  I’m just going to go try to play it, and then, I promise, I will destroy it.

So, that was my morning.  So much for the serious blog entry about education…this was much more fun!  And a testimony to the power of computers to really support our learning and creation.  I’m generally more conservative than some of my colleagues about espousing the power of tech to change everything, but my little exercise this morning shows how computers make it possible to go from concept to product in a way we just couldn’t do before.  I used problem solving skills and I relied on collaboration with people I’ll never meet ftf to accomplish a self-directed task.  Adult learning at its best…IS there a way to work this into the way our kids learn, too?


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