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Top computer-using teacher named

April 29, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

andreabh@herald-mail.com

Paramount Elementary School music teacher Linda Barnhart cultivates composition with computers.

Her students create their own short musical scores using computer software. It is one of many ways in which Barnhart uses technology to teach.

She was recently honored as Washington County's computer-using educator of the year due, in part, to her innovative use of technology in the classroom, involvement in professional organizations and use of technology to solve educational problems.

"I use it a lot to benefit the kids but they may not always realize I'm using the computer," said Barnhart, 39.

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She bookmarks composer sites on the Internet to help her students learn about famous musicians.

Barnhart projects images from one of four computers in her classroom onto a large screen at the front of her room using a multimedia projector. She can then "write" on the screen to help instruct students using a Freedom Writer Pro attachment with a laser pointer.

Barnhart uses her computer to prepare "listening maps," diagrams of musical compositions, to help her students better understand what they are hearing by looking at the melodies, chords and baselines on paper, she said.

She posts recorder music on the class Web site she has maintained for the past three years so her students can practice at home.

Diane Metzer, media specialist at Paramount, said she nominated Barnhart for the award because of her extensive use of technology in the classroom and beyond.

Barnhart serves on her school's technology committee has taught the technology satellite program in Washington County, and has pioneered the use of such technology as Power Point and the Gateway Presentation System at Paramount, Metzer wrote in her nomination letter.

Barnhart teaches other faculty members about new technology, helps set up new computers at Paramount, uses digital images to promote her school and uses technology during assemblies and performances, Metzer wrote.

Barnhart has also relied on her computer to complete certification tasks for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and to support the more than 700 other music teachers nationwide who are working toward National Board certification, she said.

The board for the first time in December began offering certification for music teachers. Barnhart is one of two music teachers in Maryland now working toward National Board certification, she said.

The certification process involves extensive documentation and analysis of students' work and the instructor's use of her own musical skills to benefit student learning, lesson design, use of assessments, collaboration with colleagues and students' families, and professional involvements, Barnhart said.

She has up to three years to complete the "incredibly task-intensive" certification portfolio and pass an assessment test, which includes composing an original song within 30 minutes, she said.

Barnhart is using such technology as a video camera to document her lessons in action and a computer to compile her lengthy analysis of each lesson's effectiveness, she said.

She has also started an Internet support group for other music teachers working toward their National Board certification, an "amazing and grueling process" that Barnhart said has already made her a better teacher.

"You don't become a better teacher to leave the classroom," she said. "I want to stay here until I die. I thoroughly enjoy what I do every day."

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