I recently taught a group of 8th grade students at the Gereau Center for Applied Technology in Rocky Mount, Virginia using interactive videoconferencing as part of the Museum's award-winning education program, On the Road (this technology allows us to literally beam into classrooms across the world you've probably seen similar technology on CNN or the Today Show). The students and the teachers were pumped to connect with the Rock Hall - for me, though, there was added excitement because I was about to connect to the 25,000th student in the history of our distance learning program.
The students at Rocky Mount were great kids, energetic and eager to participate. The lead teacher, Cathy Huffman, thoroughly enjoyed the program, saying "The lyrics that are presented during the program are rich in evoking the social concerns of that time period and the educator did an excellent job of helping the students discuss the poetic metaphors contained in a pretty challenging song, 'All Along the Watchtower'." The class I taught - Ball of Confusion: Rock Music and Social Change in the 1960s and 1970s - discusses how rock and roll reflected the challenges faced during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and the Women's Liberation movement. By listening to other examples (such as the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" and the Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers"), we explored how rock and roll musicians were really tuned in to what was going on around them and how they often used their songs as vehicles of social protest and/or empowerment.
In my five-year history teaching through videoconferencing, the 1,000 or so schools we've reached remind me how far this program has come in such a short time. 25,000 students is an impressive feat and, when combined with our other on-site educational programs, the Rock Hall has taught to over 100,000 students since 2005 - how about that?!
Since the Rock Hall launched our On the Road program in 2005, we've been fortunate enough to earn multiple awards from teachers across the country. We certainly appreciate all the positive feedback and overwhelming demand for this program, and the milestones and the recognition only encourage our staff to strive for BIGGER and BETTER (Check out the NEW education pages on Rockhall.com for continually added content!)
25,000 students. 25,000 kids who, without videoconferencing technology, would possibly never get the chance to experience the programs the Rock Hall has to offer. Isn't technology the greatest?! What a great ride it's been!