Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Focus on Humanities

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Focus on Humanities

Article excerpt

IN THIS AGE OF TECHNOLOGY IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE IMPORTANCE of a liberal education. With that in mind, we would like to focus on the following humanities software that can enrich the academic curriculum and benefit the character of the pupil for years to come.

A new video-based art curriculum program is Arts Attack, available for grades 1 through 6. It helps teachers with little to no art background create an art-aware atmosphere in their classrooms. Its lessons and activities sustain 1 1/4 hours per week of creative projects, instructional video and a thorough introduction to art history and principles of art such as color, line, shape, form, texture, pattern, balance and emphasis. It is described as a "sequential" art training program, which means that students build on what they have learned in previous grades and it prepares them for the next grade. Each grade level set includes 24 lessons, seven to eight hours of video, 10 large art prints and a complete teacher's manual.

For more advanced students, Clearvue/eav has introduced MasterStrokes: Painting and Drawing with the Masters. This CD-ROM is designed for grades 7 to 12, as well as adults interested in the techniques of the "old masters" and other famous painters such as Cezanne and Van Gogh. Here, technology has been employed to expose the underpinnings of famous works so that you can see by animation how some masterpieces were likely created, brushstroke-by-brushstroke. The program's six tutorials are divided into subjects, color, composition, animation, light and dark, hidden images and storytelling and finally, special techniques.

Also manufactured by Clearvue/eav is Instruments of the Orchestra, a video program for intermediate school students. It is a fresh introduction to the symphony orchestra that will whet the appetite for more. There are four lessons, one on each family of instruments -- strings, percussion, woodwinds and brass. Each video combines instruction, interviews with young musicians of the orchestra, solo and ensemble demonstrations and performance excerpts of the Green Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra. After viewing the program students should be able to identify and characterize each instrument and explain how it contributes to the orchestra, explain the roles of composer and conductor and define musical terms such as legato, vibrato, timbre, etc.

Instruments of the Orchestra includes a teacher's guide for suggestions on presenting the program. Instructors will also find a summary of each lesson, vocabulary lists, discussion questions, worksheets and a complete transcript of the video. An audio tape of a contemporary composition, Slava, by Joel Blahnik is included as well.

The flagship product from Adventus, Inc., Piano Suite, teaches you how to play piano by way of a MIDI keyboard and popular songbook. It is suitable for children and adults who can read. A voice tutor guides you along lessons in music theory and gives feedback on your playing. Two years of music theory and practical games are packed in this software to make the learning fun.

There are 100 pieces to learn (the Premier edition has more than 400) including The Beatles, REM, Wilson-Phillips, Barbara Streisand and Boyz II Men. More than 300 biographies of famous composers and musicians are included. There is a composer/editor feature for composing and playing your own tunes. Moreover, Piano Suite can track the progress of and evaluate any number of learners. There are three titles currently being offered, Piano Suite Basic Edition, Piano Suite Premier and Piano Suite Bundle. The Piano Suite Bundle is the Premier Edition software with a 49-key, FATAR keyboard, 12-foot MIDI cable and power adapter.

For more practical lessons in music, Yamaha's Music in Education, Technology Assisted Music Program equips schools with MIDI technology for learning music. The curriculum is organized into 145 modules, which are divided into two Levels. …

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