Web Technology is a tool, just like a hammer. To learn to use a hammer, one would best be advised
to have a purpose in mind for that tool. Reading about hammers does not necessarily mean one
is equipped to use a hammer. Aside from knowing perhaps which end to use, the best way to learn to use
a hammer is to use it.The same holds
true for constructing online electronic learning opportunities. Many would have us believe that before
becoming proficient at mounting web pages, we first need to study in depth the
technology involved, even take a course in technology per se. Nonsense.
There is a passage in Homer Hickham's novel, Rocket Boys, in which the boys find that
they need to learn some trigonometry before they can get their homemade rocket to work. They
approach their math teacher requesting his help. He replies that trigonometry is
advanced study. Before approaching it, the boys must be well grounded in arithmetic, algebra, and
geometry. He advises the boys to wait a few years until they have first mastered those skills.
What do the boys do? They have a pressing goal; they want their rocket to fly. So they teach
themselves the trigonometry needed as they construct and field test their rocket.
In assisting music teachers to design and implement electronic learning opportunities, we have
found that a similar constructivist approach works best. Have a specific vision in mind, a task
you wish to complete. It may be a perceived need to construct a web page for your class or
ensemble, or to incoporate an online score markings page for a particular composition, or to
put an audio file on the web, or to make a self scoring quiz.
The most important thing is to have a purpose, a vision, a specific task that you want to accomplish.
Before you can implement something, you need to have something to implement.
Thus, before proceeding further with these implementation strategies, reflect and choose something
specific right now that you want to accomplish with regard to electronic learning.