The Inclusion Team at St. Peter Catholic High School in Ottawa, Canada employ a range of strategies, technologies and teaching methods to integrate students with Downs Syndrome, autism and other developmental delays into traditional classroom to create inclusive music experiences for their students. The latest addition to their inclusive technology toolkit for the classroom is Skoog. They have been using Skoog and iPad as part of their electronic music class. Skoog enables students to explore free playing, develop performance skills and even learn to play melodies using colour based scores. The class has also collaborated with the school’s music department to produce its own Skoog song book, which includes tunes such as ‘Hot Cross Buns’, ‘Au Claire de la Lune’, ‘It’s Raining It’s Pouring’ and ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ – you can download the Skoog song book here!
Taking inspiration from autism specialists on the other side of the world in Australia (Autism Spectrum Australia) the team has also begun to combine Skoog with another great inclusive teaching resource – Lego bricks! Using coloured bricks of different sizes (the size relates to the note length, and the colours to the different sides of the Skoog – orange, green, yellow, blue and red), students have been able to explore composition in a very hands-on way, bringing a tactile playful element to composing music. By laying out the Lego bricks the students can build their own compositions or re-create songs that the team have transcribed for them.
“The inclusion students at St. Peter Catholic High School love the Skoog. The music experience for our students is now interactive and hands on and our students are fully integrated into the music program. We hope to have our own Skoog band soon!” LeeAnn, the Inclusion Coordinator.
This is a great example of how integrating music technology in the classroom can be used to support inclusive music experiences for children with autism, Down’s Syndrome and another developmental delays. The combination of technologies such as Skoog with lower tech solutions such as Lego bricks provides a level playing field for students to explore their creativity and learn new skills. Great job St Peter’s CHS, can’t wait to hear the Skoog band in action!