I recently attended the PASMAE regional conference in Swaziland. It was inspiring to spend time with like-minded music educators. There I demonstrated how Reakopana Online works and how we can use technology to teach music.
I’ve decided to make my abstract (slightly expanded) available:
THE MISSING LINK
Technology in the musical arts
In a society like South Africa, if there are a potential one thousand people studying music, only a fraction of them actually have the ability to access music education infrastructure that allows them to compete in the market. Which means that only a small proportion of the performing art industries’ economic potential is realized. In actual fact, the people that can access and afford a music teacher are less than 0,3% of our population.
Online education infrastructure has been around for more than 20 years, but big companies made us think that it is too expensive, and the prevarication of the traditional training institutions has left many people confused about the technology. There are however more organizations that are trying to realize the potential of online education in resource-poor settings, but most of them get caught up in mainstream education policy that always pushes music education to the bottom of the list. To use the actual words of a provincial public servant deciding how money is spent on digital education infrastructure: “Maybe we can look to see if there is some money available in my discretionary fund.”
Video is almost exclusively used to teach, but video is a passive medium of instruction and in a resource-poor setting like South Africa, expensive. Most online resources on the web are designed from the premise that it would be accessed alongside educational infrastructure of some form, which is untrue for South Africa.
Reakopana Online endeavors to teach music, and only music. Starting with musical concepts aligned with international and local accreditation bodies, using a state-of-the-art OpenSource Learning Management System as a foundation for delivering the infrastructure. Interactive web technology and strategies are used to keep the students engaged. Music teachers support the students and the content is designed to take students as near as possible to application on an instrument.
Music education infrastructure can be affordable and accessible.