Elizabeth Fritz, band director and music teacher for the Decorah Community Schools, recently participated as a presenter at the Music Education Week in Washington Music Technology Education Academy sponsored by MENC, The National Association of Music Education.
Music Education Week in Washington was a week of music education advocacy, professional development, and stirring performances against the backdrop of the nation's capital's historic monuments. Music educators, students, and their family members attended this new annual event sponsored by MENC, created to serve the changing needs of the music education profession.
The Music Education Week Academies are unique and in-depth two-day professional development conference tracks designed to expand teachers' horizons and supply attendees with new tools and techniques to take back to the classroom.
The conference was held at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel in Arlington, Va.
Topics for the Music Technology Education Academy included new recording technologies, panel discussions about music education technology standards, and the technology-enriched music classroom.
Fritz was invited to speak on "The Promise of Podcasting: Sharing Music Through Technology." She described how audio and video podcasts can expand curricula, what a podcast is, what you need to create one, and how it can be integrated into your class. Her specific project included details and sharing of her 6th Grade Band instructional unit where students create a virtual concert using Webquests, Powerpoint presentations, and GarageBand podcasting.
"It was great to have our student work showcased in this way," Fritz said. "The idea for this particular unit came from always being "snowed-out" of our ensemble concert. I was looking for new ways to integrate technology and do something different with the kids."
Fritz has been active in music technology since the beginning of her teaching career when she was a part of the Yamaha/Alfred Music "Beginning Band Method" Pilot Program. This included working with composers Sandy Feldstein and John O'Reilly with support from West Music Company, piloting a new band method complete with computer theory programs. Most recently she has published a music technology project with Kjos Music Publishers, creating comprehensive musicianship teacher guides that correlate to the In Concert band music series. Fritz has taught online courses in educational research and currently creates and teaches online professional development courses for music educators. The creation of professional development courses reflects her passion for technology and mentoring.
Fritz is also involved with several committees within various state music organizations including the Iowa Comprehensive Music Project. ICMP is a statewide combined effort of teaching music for all areas of music educators. The team produces professional development workshops for music educators, including a weeklong workshop at Drake University each summer. Fritz has presented CMP presentations at the Iowa Bandmasters and Iowa Music Educator conferences as well as professional development for many school districts. She has also served on the Wisconsin CMP team for their weeklong workshop.
Fritz has previously served as the Iowa Music Educators Association Technology chair and Webmaster. She has also been involved with the creation of several new mentoring programs for music educators in the state of Iowa. Special projects include the Music Educators Online Website, statewide study of technology use in music education, partnering in the development of the Fall Symposium for First Year Arts Teachers, and the Model of Excellence Arts mentoring program in conjunction with the Iowa Alliance for Arts Education and the Iowa State Department of Education. She has been involved with presenting mentorship presentations for the Iowa Music Educators State Conference, Iowa String Teachers Association, Iowa Bandmasters Association, as well as the National Federation of Music Supervisors, and the Mid-West Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. In June 2009 she traveled to Indianapolis to present a session on the "Iowa Arts Mentor Program - Model Of Excellence" sponsored by Indiana Arts Commission and Young Arts Indiana.
Originally from Southern California, Fritz received her BME degree from the University of Northern Iowa and finished a masters of science in education, emphasis educational technology from Boise State University in 2005. She recently received a certificate degree in online teaching and learning from California State University-Hayward. Fritz achieved her National Board Certification in Music/Early Adolescent Young Adult in December of 2006.
Fritz is the current president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association. Her responsibilities will culminate during the 2009-2010 school year. She will be responsible for overseeing the organization's state board of directors, and planning the state conference in May of 2010 at the Des Moines Downtown Marriot Hotel.