Program and Contest
The second VOICES conference was held Wednesday, September 26, 2018, including a keynote from teacher and YouTuber Tom McFadden of ScienceWithTom.com. Below are abstracts and links for the archived videos of each of the thematic sessions.
This year's VOICES also launched a song contest, whose details can be found on a separate contest page. There is no cost to enter the contest. The contest is open to all individuals and teams, but we especially hope that many student teams will enter before December 31, 2018.
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 (all times are Eastern Daylight Time)
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 (all times are Eastern Daylight Time)
|9:55 - 10:00||
Welcome to VOICES
|10:00 - 10:50||
LaMar Queen, Music Notes Online
We can effectively promote student discourse, deeper level understanding, and student content creation when we use music and hip hop to teach. Since hip hop is our youths culture we can effectively use it as a tool to build relationships and teach our next generation of learners. The key is a solid understanding of implementation within the context of social emotional, developmental, and physiological needs.
Jonte Taylor, The Pennsylvania State University
Using music, especially song lyrics, to motivate students has long been a practice for in education to get and keep students engaged and to teach academic content. Most song based instruction involves writing/creating original works that focus on specific content or skills. Unfortunately, these songs may not resonate with all students, thus it may not be as effective as a mechanism for learning. This reality is particularly possible for students with disabilities and students in alternative settings who are usually considered as having behavioral struggles. These students tend to be behind academically and have difficulty with academic attention and engagement. This program will discuss the use of song lyrics from popular (i.e., familiar) music to teach students with challenging behaviors and in alternative academic settings science content. The presenter will provide the following: (a) a rationale for the development of the strategy, (b) the steps for implementing the strategy, and (c) an example for using the strategy to teach science content.
|10:55 - 11:15||
Tiffany Getty, Wilkes University
Music has long been recognized as an effective tool to help young children learn, but this teaching/learning strategy is rarely used at the high school and college levels. As a doctoral student of education (and a high school chemistry teacher) I am currently in the beginning stages of exploring topics to research for a dissertation. At this point in the process, the only idea I am passionate about is the general concept of using music to teach and learn STEM-related content. However, below I have included a few areas of possible research interest with respect to this general topic. I am hoping that VOICES participants will provide me with feedback on the following research ideas. In addition, I would also invite the audience to provide me with suggestions they might have regarding possible research topics related STEM and music. How does the use of music as a learning tool affect retention time of information? What are the long-term impacts of using music to teach STEM content? How does the use of music as a learning tool affect student attitudes of STEM-related content/classes? What are the long-term effects of these attitudes on STEM majors, and non-STEM majors? Can music be an effective tool to teach higher levels of thinking and more complex cognitive skills (rather than simply being used for lower-leveled skills such as recall)? Can student-generated STEM songs be used to measure achievement with respect to the secondary-level state standards for science,technology, engineering, or math?
|11:20 - 12:05||
Jeffrey "Dr Chordate" Moran, University of Missouri (retired)
We have in the US a large population of people who reject science, both as being boring and un-understandable, and as being antithetical to certain other philosophies/teachings. Just as songs are effective tools for teaching/ introducing science facts and concepts to students in a classroom setting, songs and humor can be used to reach this population of people, as well as entertain those folks who already engage in the pursuit of scientific interests, either professionally or for pleasure. Many universities have an organization like the Osher Institute (or some similar classroom situation for "over 50" people) and communities have a variety of adult education programs. These life-long learners can be a gateway into promoting science in the general population.
This presentation will document a project in collaboration with the Physics department of the University of Oxford in which physicists used collaborative songwriting to reach children from hard to reach populations around Oxford. The presentation will outline the project, and the evaluation data, and ask in what ways the lessons learned can be applied to a classroom setting, and also how lyrics can be used for assessment for learning.
STEM Outreach: Q&A
|12:10 - 2:10||
Workshop & Keynote
Workshop: Catalyzing Student Creativity & Collaboration via Music and Video
Tom McFadden, The Nueva School (CA) and ScienceWithTom.com
What would it like to blend science and hip hop in your classroom? Students writing lyrics about questions at the start of a unit? Collaborative music videos to showcase learning? Students educating teachers about issues relevant to their lives? Learn by doing in this hands-on workshop and leave with tools ranging from "Finish the Rhyme" (quick) to semester-long video projects (ambitious). Come for the live science freestyle. Stay for the open dialogue about cultural exchange and appropriation.
Tom McFadden, The Nueva School (CA) and ScienceWithTom.com
Greg Crowther will lead a Q&A with Tom. The audience will also be encouraged to ask questions.
|2:15 - 3:05||
Mary McLellan, Aledo High School (TX)
This presentation focuses on the qualities and quantity of song usage to enhance student learning and depth of understanding. As an AP Statistics teacher, I incorporate over 50 songs into my curriculum to enhance and reinforce everyday learning. This, in turn, has allowed my students to get past basic knowledge and focus on enrichment. I will take you through my song-making process and show you the various ways that my students are able to access the songs. Use of iMovie, YouTube, and Google Sound Cloud will be touched upon. Finally, past students will participate and give testimony as to how the songs in their AP Statistics class enhanced their learning experience.
Larry Lesser (The University of Texas at El Paso), Dennis Pearl (The Pennsylvania State University), John Weber (Perimeter College at Georgia State University), and Greg Crowther (Everett Community College)
The first three presenters' NSF-funded Project SMILES launched this May a collection of 26 interactive introductory statistics songs for which students choose inputs that will appear in the song played back to them on an online platform. While this song format may provide additional student engagement or learning (we are now analyzing data to assess this), having inputs (especially those that can vary in content or length) can greatly constrain the songwriting in expected and unexpected ways, and we have learned that not all prewritten songs can be retrofitted as interactive songs. We will briefly overview these issues in general and then for concrete illustration, discuss with Greg Crowther some of his songs. While Crowther wrote three SMILES statistics songs (and therefore has insight into the distinctive dynamics of interactive songs), we will discuss with him a couple of his biology songs (as an example how the principles transfer across STEM disciplines) and how prompts, inputs, hints, and feedback would work. For an introduction to Project SMILES and interactive songs, we invite you to view in advance our 3-minute video at https://www.causeweb.org/smiles/, and then browse our song library (choose "build a song") as desired.
|3:10 - 4:45||
Making History: Using History Songs to Humanize (Math/Statistics) Content, Class, and Instructors | (Discussion)
Larry Lesser, University of Texas at El Paso
Journals such as the MAA's Convergence reflect the value and interest in using the history of mathematics in the teaching of mathematics. History and song share goals of motivating and humanizing content for students in STEM classes. Illustrated with the specific context of mathematics/statistics class (but applicable to other STEM areas as well), this poster overviews rationale and criteria for use of such songs -- whether instructor-created or student-created -- and includes several examples (e.g., biography songs, key moments in the discipline, etc.) and resources. Students are far less likely to be able to name famous practitioners of mathematics/statistics (especially practitioners other than white males) than they are of science, so this approach has the additional benefit of helping students better understand that mathematics and statistics were not "found on tablets millennia ago" but involve ongoing creation that has included false starts, struggles, dramatic triumphs and controversies as does any human endeavor.
|4:50 - 6:00||
The Craft of Songwriting
Greg Crowther, Everett Community College
This presentation starts with the premise that, outside of this particular conference, many STEM instructors and administrators think that using music in the classroom is silly, superficial, ineffective, etc. To combat this pervasive view, we music-using instructors should aim to be rigorous and clear regarding the specific purpose and usage of each song we incorporate into our curricula. The speaker's past blunders will be highlighted as cautionary counterexamples.
Monty Harper, Flying Spaghetti Music
Prosody refers to the way words and melody work together in a song. We'll examine prosody on many levels, providing tools and examples to help you write more effective teaching songs. Prosody awareness will help you write better parodies, create original melodies, and deal with unwieldy scientific words. Ideas explored will be useful to beginning songwriters and experts alike.
Richard Heineman, Kutztown University
Anthropomorphism is impactful, and metaphors that draw on its power are widely used in science. For example, when DNA is described as the instruction manual for a cell, this implies a reader. However, anthropomorphism may reinforce misunderstandings that students are already inclined towards; for example, when we discuss a molecule or cell like a person with goals, we misrepresent what is actually a hardwired set of rules as a series of choices. As an educator who writes songs that rely heavily on anthropomorphism, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the approach, how to maximize its benefits, and how to minimize its costs.
|6:05 - 7:10||
Making STEM Music Videos
Gary D. Grossman, Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia
Since 2012 I have used music as a pedagogical method in fisheries/natural resource classes. I began by writing and performing songs based on class materials including concepts, habitats, and species' biology and posting these videos on the web. Questionnaire results indicated that the music videos significantly improved attitudes towards class and studying. I transformed this exercise into an active learning exercise by having students make their own karaoke video. Students had to write the lyrics and sing/rap them but could use video and music from the web for their videos. I have used this assignment in six undergraduate and two graduate classes and evaluated effectiveness via Likert-scale questionnaires and triangulation interviews. Undergraduate classes were dominated by non-science majors in their first or second year. Students in all classes had strong positive reactions to the project Triangulation interviews from all classes were strongly positive and students generally found the exercise was: 1) new, 2) creative, 3) facilitated deeper learning, and 4) was enjoyable. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate strong positive student responses to an inquiry-based, music-based exercise over courses ranging from first-year to graduate seminars.
Dave Schultz, Westerville South High School (OH)
Math and music go hand in hand at Westerville South High School. With over seven math rap music videos and a total of 7.5 million views, teachers from Westerville South High School in Westerville, Ohio have created engaging math raps to teach content through popular music. Learn from math rap producer and teacher Dave Schultz on how the process works from start to finish. From finding a song and picking a topic, all the way to getting students to dance in the classroom, Dave will inform you of the tools, time, and knowledge needed to create engaging music videos to use in your classroom.
Avi Silber, Northwest High School (Germantown MD)
The Secret Society of Science Songwriters (4SW) is a student club at Northwest High School in Germantown, Maryland, advised by science instructor Avi Silber. We will show a handful of our song-in-a-day projects over the course of time, and explain some of the additions and changes to our technique that have allowed us to improve our craft over time as well as grow as an organization.
|7:15 - 7:35||
Dennis Pearl, The Pennsylvania State University
Project SMILES (Student-Made Interactive Learning with Educational Songs) is an NSF-funded initiative that created and is evaluating statistics education songs, and, via VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song), has expanded to the realm of educational songs in all of STEM. Dennis Pearl, one of the Principal Investigators of this project, helped organize a meeting of key community members in June, which led to a report of recommendations for further research, resource-building, and community collaborations. In this closing VOICES presentation, Dennis will outline these recommendations and discuss their implementation.
Note: All times are posted in Eastern Daylight Time.