Tag Archives: Education

The “Open” Movement(s) and Education – Can they work together?

I’ve been reading and educating myself through a variety of online and offline resources, through day-to-day use, and speaking with educational colleagues at a variety of conferences about open education.  During this process I’ve seen a huge variety of terms used to describe the “open” concept and I’ve learned a lot.  Some of the terms that you might see are:  open learning, open education, open source, open courseware, open texts, open educational resources, flat classrooms, etc.  And, after much reflection, I’ve decided that perhaps I finally understand enough to share my thoughts and opinions with you.  This will be a series of posts, as the issues involved are complex and lengthy.

So, here I go with my first post.

Motivations

From the dawn of civilization, whenever there was a perception that someone, or a group of people had a “special knowledge”, people have tried to barter, steal or derive financial/other benefit from that knowledge.  The individual(s) with that knowledge quickly learned to guard the knowledge to maintain their advantage.  Before public education became common you could either share in that individual(s) experience (apprenticeship or trade associations), or hope that they would share their knowledge, sometimes freely, sometimes for a cost.  “The holders of knowledge” were teachers and professors however they only shared a part of what they knew.  Students regurgitated that knowledge through testing, in order to prove their “acquisition” and “knowledge” of the subject.  More recently, much of the educational literature has begun to recognize/promote a significant alteration in thinking – namely that education and expertise should follow an “open” or “low-cost” model of delivery with everyone contributing to learning about a particular subject, as equals, including the instructors.

This change of philosophy has several opponents highlighted by a recent blog posting discussing the reaction of publishers to a new government program offering  $2 billion (USD) to developers using the “Open Educational Resource (OER)” business model.  There is also opposition from higher education institutions that fear the offering education freely is likewise untenable in the long-term.  Finally, educators themselves have been slow to pick up on the concept of “open learning” or “open education”.

There are, of course, notable exceptions.  Publishers in a variety of scientific and artistic disciplines have increasingly begun to offer “open access” journals. The Voices e-magazine is an example of open publishing .  (For a searchable list of other open access journals check out the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) search engine.)   Beginnning in 2005, the Massachussetts Institute for Technology (MIT) began offering its’ undergraduate and many graduate level courses online, for free or low cost.  This evolved into the Open CourseWare Consortium that presently boasts the membership of, “over 250 universities and associated organizations worldwide committed to advancing Open CourseWare sharing and its impact on global educational opportunity (About the Open CourseWare Consortium (n.d.).  Retrieved from http://ocw.mit.edu/about/ocw-consortium/).”  The Open Education Resource University (OERu) and the Open Education Resource Tertiary Education Network (OERTen) are two initiatives described in the blog entitled, “Views, dreams & creative writing…” (Prasad, A.  (2011, May 25).  OERu to establish OERTen.  Retrieved from http://apletters.blogspot.com/2011/05/oeru-to-establish-oerten.html).  Finally, two educators (Dr. Alec Couros and Dr. Stephen Downes) with whom I share many common opinions are certainly, in my opinion, outstanding advocates for Open Education and they are working very hard to change the attitudes of current and future teachers and educators.

Changing attitudes is just, however, a small piece of the puzzle.  In the next post we will be looking at the issue of copyright and OER resources.

Please leave your comments in the space provided below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

5 Comments

Filed under Education, Open Platforms/Software, Pedagogy

Can you feel it?

There is a definite buzz in the air about music therapy!  Can you feel it?

I’m not sure how it started, I only know why – because music therapy works!  Recently, music therapy has been all over the airwaves, the news, in books and in a feature length Hollywood film.  And yet, as a recent discussion on the MUSTHP-L listserv highlighted, many music therapists continue to have to describe and defend their work on a daily basis.  Why is that?  Here are some of my thoughts as well as observations from a student in my “Introduction to Music Therapy” class from this past semester.

1.  Music is universal

The universality of music is wnquestionable.  It has existed in every known culture since the beginning of man even though, curiously, it has no “inherent survival value” like food or shelter  (Davis, Gfeller, Thaut. 2008).  This is both a blessing and a detriment to the understanding of the term, “music therapy (MT)”.  Yes, people understand the term, “music” but that has become synonymous with “entertainment” in today’s modern culture.  Hence, when people hear about MT they immediately think that it is something that is entertaining, not healing – at least in the medical sense.  As one of the class members described,

“I knew from my personal experience with music that it moved me, however I did not know how in depth music therapy really was.”

(A.B.  Used with permission)

2.  Music works with all age groups

Music therapists work with all age groups, from infants in the uterine environment to adults in the last stage of their life.  How can something that works with such a vast range of clients, work in reality?  When music therapy began as an organized profession, it initially began with a psychological focus.  Since that time, specialty areas within the field have grown and expanded tremendously.  Hence, increasingly, music therapists are choosing to work with a particular clientele, rather than attempting to work with a variety of clients, throughout the lifespan.    Some of these include:   work with premature infants (NICU-MT),  neurological rehabilitation (NMT), Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy (NR-MT), Therapeutic Drumming, Music and Imagery (Bonny Method of GIM) and Community Music Therapy (CMT).

3.  Music therapists train extensively and must pass rigorous examination

Just as you wouldn’t want to see a doctor who has never attended medical school, you shouldn’t see someone who is calling themselves a music therapist without the proper training.  Sadly, at this time, there is no means of legally protecting the title “music therapist” in either Canada or the United States.  There are ways, however, to determine whether an individual has completed the requisite education and professional training.

In order to become a music therapist, individuals must first complete four years of undergraduate training in music therapy.  This is the minimal standard and many music therapists continue onto graduate level education.  They must also complete an internship of approximately six months duration (1000-1050 hours in North America).  Only then, may they apply to become a Music Therapist Accredited (MTA – Canada) or a Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC, USA).  Before granting these designations, a music therapist must complete additional examinations.  In addition, those designations are only maintained by the ongoing completion of continuing education related to professional practice and skills.

Being a part of their national and/or regional association also means that a music therapist must abide by professional standards of practice and a code of professional ethics.  When a music therapist agrees to take you on as a client, you begin a professional relationship, not a casual or friendly relationship.  As such, there is specific protection of things such as:  patient-therapist confidentiality and protection from abuse in the relationship (financial, physical, emotional, psychological and sexual). By all means, check out your music therapists and ask them about their credentials.  They should be happy to share these with you!

So what can we do as music therapists to improve your understanding of music therapy amongst the general public?

1.  Maintain our memberships in national and regional music therapy associations.

2.  Making the promotion of music therapy a priority in our national and regional music therapy associations.

3.  Open up our newsletters and research to the public through use of vehicles such as YouTube, Blogs, and Creative Commons licensing instead of keeping them locked away behind “member only” walls and proprietary journals.

4.  Continue to respond to questions about the topic – “What is music therapy?” even though we are sometimes “sick” of having to describe and defend our profession.

References

Davis, W. B., Gfeller, K. E, & Thaut, M. H.  (2008).  An introduction to music therapy:  Theory and practice (3rd ed.).  Silver Spring, MD:  American Music   Therapy Association, p. 17.

How can we improve your understanding of music therapy?

Please feel free to comment below.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books and Resources, Clinicial Skills, Introductions, Music Therapy