TRinE Story: perspectives from a music teacher at MTR
Katrín Ýr Óskarsdóttir, lives and works in London. Since the autumn of 2020 she has taught students in creative music at Menntaskólinn á Tröllaskaga through the Telepresence Robot (TR). Katrín is educated in classical singing from the The Reykjavik Academy of Singing and Vocal Arts. She lived for one year in the US, but then she moved to London and studied music for four years. Katrín has for some time now been living in London and working within the music industry, performing her own music and organizing music events. She has also taught music at all school levels.
“I use the TR along with Google meet in my classes. In classes where students are performing live, I use the TR, and it really gives me the freedom to move around the classroom and observe the students and be interactive with them. In the beginning of class I usually use Google meet to share with them documents and instructions for the class and go over assignments. But when it comes to the live performance of music in the class I log into the TR and I show up in the classroom. It undeniably takes some creative thinking to use the TR in the classroom instead of being physically onsite with the students. In certain assignments I prefer the TR to Google meet for communicating with the students. We mostly focus on group work and not that many individual assignments. Sometimes the students are in two different classrooms and in those cases the TR really comes in handy, and I can move freely between classrooms to follow their progress. I mostly use the TR in a class where the students perform music live, play the instruments and sing. You can say these classes are like band practise. I had previously taught at MTR during a one-week Midterm course and that was my first experience of seeing the TR. Here in London, I have not heard of anyone using this technology in teaching. When I tell people over here that I ‘m teaching students in Iceland through a TR, people usually laugh out loud and tell me that they have only seen this kind of technology on the American sitcom The Big Bang theory! The TR gives me the opportunity to be present in the school, be it with students in the classroom, the hallways of the school or with my fellow teachers in the cafeteria. I log into the TR through the app on my phone and then move around the school. As easy as it gets.”
Photo Credits: Gísli Kristinsson, Menntaskólinn á Tröllaskaga
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