The team at Autism Spectrum Australia use a variety of innovative teaching methods to engage their students. Craig Smith, Apple Distinguished Educator and Deputy Principal at Autism Spectrum Australia, has been using Skoog with his students to support music making and creative play. As a teaching tool, Skoog supports both free and more structured activities. Building on the success of Skoog in play and improvisation, the team has created a unique new teaching framework that they are calling Lego music therapy. “The focus will be on students composing and performing a piece of music using chance based techniques, with a goal of developing social communication skills throughout” – Craig Smith explained.
(Skoog 2.0 is available online via Apple.com and in selected apple retail stores).
You can read more about this new and exciting approach on Craig Smith’s Blog – Autism Pedagogy.
“In the education of students on the autism spectrum, there is a necessary time for allowing the space for risk and complete experimental exploration, but there should not also be an accompaniment of guilt when more structured, colour-by-numbers style activities are designed for boundary driven success. There are, as shown above through our Lego Therapy and now the use of Skoog to drive Lego Music Therapy situations, significant benefits to employing structured teaching frameworks to initiative new types of creative play.”
Here Craig summarises his thoughts on Skoog:
“Skoog is an absolutely amazing piece of hardware. It is the instrument that we’ve always dreamed of – a way to play instruments on our iPad by poking, squeezing and twisting a magical soft cube. The response time is incredible and the range of ways you can use it with both the Skoog app and other apps such as GarageBand is extraordinary. Our staff are already excited to create their own sheet music to share with students so they can start developing performances and creating compositions with Skoog. Our students on the autism spectrum are very motivated by Skoog and seem to continuously discover new methods of performing with Skoog that completely surprise us in the most wonderful ways. It can be used as a drum machine, as an experimental synthesiser, as a beautiful glockenspiel, and the fact that it allows such immediate sensory, tactile input, to explore sound in such concrete ways in interaction with the iPad makes it the most accessible music instrument out there. I love Skoog, and our journey with it has only just begun.”
You can find out more about Autism Spectrum Australia here.