Indaba Music is a wonderful example of how Internet based tools can raise “collaboration” to a level far exceeding what has been possible up to now.
Alexandra Stewart from Indaba Music reached out to me and introduced me to this site. I was instantly intriqued, as I am an amateur musician (here's an example of my work – I wrote this, played the guitars and sang it, and created this silly way-low-budget video to help tell this sad tale of love gone bad!). I've often thought, “how cool would it be to be able collaborate with other musicians using some sort of online tool – I'm surprised I haven't come across good apps for that”. Well I have now. Indaba enables collaboration and much more.
The folks at Indaba are also working to promote the many ways in which their tools can work in educational applications. What's that you say? A hobby (writing, recording, and playing music) that speaks to my heart and soul, combined with a hobby (blogging about ed tech) that speaks to my intellect and professional life? Well that's just too good to pass up!
So I started sinking my teeth into IndabaMusic.com. Indaba is a rich suite of tools for the modern musician. These tools can also have a profoundly positive effect in the classroom by augmenting engagement and providing cost-effective solutions to a range of musical services. [Note: Yes, I did borrow from some of the marketing materials sent to me by Indaba to create some of the text in this post, but only after I spent time there validating what I read!]
The Online Classroom
There are several ways to conduct class and track assignments online using the Indaba environment, including:
- Groups provide a centralized meeting place for your students where you can post announcements, have discussions, create events, and attach blog posts and songs.
- Indaba’s session platform is ideal for posting assignments, recording classes, sharing class projects, the organization and storage of audio examples, and tracking student progress.
- In-song commenting allows for critique directly on the waveform of any song. This provides an effective way to point out specific passages that need work, or to note places where important musical events occur.
- The robust text and video chat system allows for extra-scholastic “office hours” while students are home working on assignments.
To help support the use of Indaba in instructional applications, they've put together the Teacher's Resource Center and Teacher's Corner. The Teacher's Corner is basically a group, with a corresponding page where group members can communicate in a forum. The Resource Center is a place where you can “share your lesson plans, audio examples, student performances, and anything else you'd like to share”.
One of the coolest things about Indaba is it's ability to facilitate online recording and collaboration.
- Indaba’s proprietary, browser-based, online recording software Mantis allows you to record CD quality (16 bit, 44.1 KHz) audio directly onto our servers.
- Sharing is a breeze- the session can be accessed from any computer, allowing students to edit with real time effects from home or in the classroom without needing to download additional software.
- Mantis is ideal for Podcasting; recording lessons; band, orchestra, and choir rehearsals; and recording lectures in class.
- Once you bounce down the audio, you can comment on the track and note what needs to be worked on or items in the recording for students to observe.
Cost Effective Solutions
Indaba comes with three levels of membership, starting with a free option that provides some very useable functionality. Pick what works for you.
- A basic package (best for students) is free.
- Pro membership, which offers 13 sessions, including 3 private sessions and 500MB storage per session (among other perks) is only $5 a month or $50 a year.
- Platinum membership, which offers an unlimited amount of sessions and storage (along with access to full site functionality), is only $25 per month or $250 a year.
I've become an Indaba member at the basic (free :)) level. I look forward to putting the tool to use in the coming weeks and months. As always, if I think that what I learn is informative to my readers, I'll probably be discussing it further here. I think this exciting application and collaboration environment may very well play a great role in my continued growth as a musician. I also believe it has some nice application for music education, and is something older students who are getting serious about their careers will benefits from being aware of.
In the meanwhile, I'm working on a post for next week in which I'll discuss a trial of the Mimio Bar – a unique, low cost, portable Interactive White Board tool. I hope you'll stop back and learn with me!