a(nother) dream come true

7/29/2012 Sunday 4:53 pm

I think I’m most excited about the progress we’re making on the education front at ACGS.  Several years ago, as more and more teachers began using our online curriculum, we realized we would face a bottleneck when it came to training.  It’s one thing to try and support program here in Austin (we’ll be in more than 30 schools this coming fall), but it’s quite another when a teacher is in another state or another country.

We get calls and emails on a daily basis from all around the world seeking assistance with everything from starting for and advocating for new programs, to fundraising to, mostly, teaching assistance.  Each and every one of those calls we take as seriously as possible, and try to provide the best service we can.  Even so, a few years ago we realized that, with growth, it would be ultimately unsustainable.

So!  We started the process of developing an online training program that we first envisioned as a course that teachers could take, sort-of like defensive driving (but willingly, and hopefully more interesting).  It would be video-intensive with tutorials and benchmarks, testing, etc.  The first step was to write the training outline, then the script, and then we set about creating the video content itself.

Interestingly, we ultimately decided not to go with the full-on course approach.  After much thought we’ve decided to instead incorporate the video (and text) tutorials into the curriculum directly.  The plan is to create a tutorial library on everything from teaching values and general teaching assistance, to very specific level-by-level technical tutorials.  These would then not only live on the site in a library but, and this is the cool part, they would also be incorporated directly into each landing page of the music library.  This means that a teacher about to walk into a classroom to teach a certain piece, can get a quick tutorial on the piece he or she is about to walk in and teach!  It seemed like this would be far more useful, and used, than the stand-alone training model we began with.

What’s got me so excited is that two weeks ago the education team introduced me to the first batch of 45 training videos.  Since then we’ve made about 10 more to fill in some holes.  The web developers have just finished making the initial video repository and we’re starting to load up the tutorials.  I can’t believe it!   It’s really a(nother) dream come true.

In other ed news, my dear friend Matt Denman, dynamic leader of all great community ed guitar things in Oklahoma City, has decided that he is making work with us and GuitarCurriculum.com a core part of the syllabus requirements for all of his education majors at his university.  That means that we have eight talented undergraduate students that we’ll be directly engaged with, who will be learning all about the program and working actively to enhance it.

Tons of educators around the world are involved, but I just profiled some friends in Boston who used the curriculum to help them develop a youth workshop – here’s that story.

On the more immediate side of things, this Tuesday my dear friend – and phenomenal guitarist – Jorge Caballero comes back to Austin!  We’re reuniting him with the fabulous Miró Quartet at the Long Center for what will be a truly remarkable concert experience (info here).  I’ve also had some fun asking the five of them what their current favorite cocktails are.  I sent those over to Bill Norris, perhaps Austin’s most important bartender and Beverage Director for the Alamo Drafthouse, and he and his team are concocting his own amazing versions of the drinks for our patrons Saturday night (read the Alamo blog post on this).  It will be a phenomenal evening, and I hope it’s packed.  That will be the majority of my focus this week!

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