Studio Owners

Ask the Experts: How Can I Actually Use Technology in My Classroom?


Q: I always read your recommendations for apps and other ways to introduce technology in the classroom, but I find actually implementing what you suggest intimidating. Is anyone out there really doing it?

A: I have no doubt that many teachers read this column and think to themselves, "Can I really use all of this technology?" The answer is yes—if you're willing to put some time into planning. For this time investment, your payoff will be engaged students doing multidimensional projects that facilitate learning on several levels. If you need to see real-world examples, take a look at the work of Karen Searles, who has impressively integrated technology into her dance education work in Texas. She teaches at Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, Texas. Her blog, created on Google's blogging platform, is It's a great example of how you can advocate for the work you do in the classroom with text and videos.

Searles puts iPads in the hands of the students and uses them for playing music, viewing project guidelines, videoing work and even editing. She's also a fan of Google apps. Her students use Google Drive (including Google Docs and Slides) for assignments, and she polls the classes with Google Forms. She also uses Kahoot, a free game-based learning platform, to create fun assessments. Best of all? Searles has put lesson plans on her blog, so you can see how she builds the technology into her work.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

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Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

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Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

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Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

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