The Amazing Power of Music (Part 1)

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, Science | Posted on August 31, 2015

Clear evidence of the power of music continues to emerge. Scientists at Queen Mary University in London have now proved that listening to music before, during and after surgery can reduce pain, anxiety and the need for painkillers. Published in ‘The Lancet’ in August 2015, the findings clearly demonstrated a link between playing music in the operating theatre and a significant reduction in post-operative pain, post-operative anxiety and requirements for post-operative pain relief medication. Research in the ‘music as medicine’ area has been ongoing and developing over recent years. Indeed there are medical texts dating back to the 19th century discussing the benefits of listening to music to reduce anxiety and pain. In Germany, Dr Ralph Spintge has used music in clinical settings. He found that patients required significantly reduced amounts of anaesthetic for certain painful procedures if they first listened to relaxing music. Are we surprised by this? Does music not have a powerful effect on us in various aspects of our lives?

Dr Oliver Sacks, the eminent neurologist passed away earlier this week. He was an acclaimed medical doctor and an author. Of music he said ‘One does not need to have any formal knowledge of music – nor, indeed, to be particularly ”musical”  –  to enjoy music and to respond to it at the deepest levels. Music is part of being human, and there is no human culture in which it is not highly developed and esteemed.’

I believe, perhaps intuitively, but also based on much growing evidence, that we are, as humans, intrinsically musical. If that is indeed the case, the implications for the potential impact of music on our lives is great. One of the most important discoveries of modern neuropsychiatry is that the two halves of the human brain have distinctly different functions. Scientific experiments have shown that the two hemispheres of the brain respond exclusively to different musical intervals. Dissonant and discordant sounds are registered in the left (language, verbal, logical, sequential) side of the brain. Concordant intervals (pleasing sounds) lie exclusively in the emotional, imaginative, spatially aware, rhythmic and melodic right side of the brain. It has been found that the more academically a musician is trained, the more his/her left hemisphere is brought into play because it is a learning skill (left brain). Dr Paul Robertson suggests that this is why ‘academic’ musicians write music that is difficult for most people to listen to and even harder to enjoy.

It is now widely accepted that music can bring great benefit to Alzheimer’s sufferers. Music can evoke emotion in even the most advanced of dementia patients. The afore-mentioned Dr Oliver Sacks once said that ‘Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory……it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.’  This fact alone demonstrates to me, the amazing power of music.

Reflections on the use of Video Conferencing and mini iPads

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on July 13, 2013

New Learning

Some reflections on video conferencing and the use of mobile devices (iPads) for learners. Below, Dr Heather Reid leading a training session for teachers in preparation for science lessons direct to primary schools via video conference from the Glasgow Science Centre.

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Science video conference lessons in Penpont Primary School with Heather Reid

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, Science | Posted on February 26, 2013

Today was a beautiful day to drive from Dumfries up to Penpont and observe the 18th of 18 video conference lessons Heather Reid has delivered live and interactive from the Glasgow Science Centre in recent weeks. 10 schools have been involved in this project in partnership with the Glasgow Science Centre and already I’ve been discussing with Heather further plans for developing learning and teaching through video-links. The teachers and pupils have made a great success of this opportunity with Heather. It’s now important to take time to review progress and fully evaluate how we can develop pedagogy in this new area of distance learning. One thing we can say though. It works!!

Drummore Primary’s virtual lessons with Heather@Glasgow Science Centre

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on February 20, 2013

This week, young people in Drummore Primary took part in water-based science experiments led by Heather Reid from the Glasgow Science Centre. Drummore School is one of ten Dumfries & Galloway schools involved in video conference science lessons delivered by Heather live from the Science Centre in Glasgow. Feedback from teachers and pupils has been really positive, with all participants totally engaged in the practical nature of learning in science. Drummore is Scotland’s most south-westerly school, located only a few miles from the beautiful Mull of Galloway.

Young people in Drummore are used to lessons via video-link. Since 2005, pupils in Drummore have received instrumental music lessons via video conference. In 2007, many pupils enjoyed live video sessions from London with Rod Franks (Principal Trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra). In 2009, Professor Stephen Heppell paid them a visit to see how video conference lessons were progressing. Tomorrow, Professor Heppell is visiting Dumfries & Galloway again and we look forward to hearing his views on how learning & teaching using technology can be further developed.

Heather Reid’s live video conference lessons from the Glasgow Science Centre

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on February 5, 2013


We’re now into Heather Reid’s 4th day of science lessons to Dumfries & Galloway schools live via interactive video conference from the Glasgow Science Centre. Young people from 10 primary schools across the 100 mile+ wide region have enjoyed a fantastic opportunity to learn about climate change, renewable energies and weather related issues with Heather presenting direct into classrooms live from the Glasgow Science Centre. Today it was the turn of young people from Lincluden in Dumfries. With the support of their teacher Miss Agnew, the P5 class engaged in discussion with Heather and each other in groups as they considered the causes and consequences of carbon emissions.



Science Experiments in Dalry School via Video Conference

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on February 4, 2013

Today, Heather Reid (in the Glasgow Science Centre) led 3 one hour video conference sessions to 3 schools in Dumfries & Galloway. The pupils in Dalry School enjoyed their second virtual lesson today, this time taking on the challenge of a practical experiment in class. The pupils made red cabbage indicator and used it to test a variety of liquids which they had earlier predicted to be either acid, alkaline or neutral. One of the purposes in today’s practical video conference session was for pupils to better understand the effects humans are having on the Earth by considering how acidic our oceans have become.


Science lessons via Video Conference

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on January 29, 2013

After a few months of preparation, planning and CPD for staff, we’ve finally got our science lessons via video conference underway! Heather Reid, meteorologist and former BBC weather presenter, delivered 3 one hour sessions yesterday and then again today to 6 different primary schools across Dumfries & Galloway direct from the Glasgow Science Centre. The teachers and kids loved the interactive engagement with Heather over the video-link and are already looking forward to their next lesson. Dumfries & Galloway Education Services are delighted to be working in partnership with the Glasgow Science Centre in this innovative programme delivering Curriculum for Excellence at Level 2 Science through looking at topics of weather, climate change and renewable energies. 10 schools are involved in this across an area of over 100 miles from Drummore to Moffat. Pictured below are pupils in Dalry School yesterday in their lesson with Heather.

Heather Reid delivering CPD for primary teachers

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on January 7, 2013

Staff from 10 of our Dumfries & Galloway primary schools returned from their Christmas and New Year break to attend an excellent CPD event presented by former BBC weather presenter, Heather Reid. Heather (The Weather) led staff in stimulating, practical morning and afternoon sessions looking at weather related CfE Level 2 experiences and outcomes in science, numeracy, social subjects and a host of other possibilities for learning and teaching.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The morning session looked at the impact of weather on our world, and considered, for example, the difference between weather and climate. Heather’s presentation included many dramatic images of weather related events. Staff were highly engaged in water based experiments prepared by Heather and were amazed to see the results of their alchemy! Today’s CPD event was planned in preparation of each school receiving 2 video conference presentations from Heather in the coming weeks live direct and interactive from the Glasgow Science Centre.


Heather the Weather – Video Conference delivery of Climate Change lessons

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on November 13, 2012

I met Heather (the Weather) Reid at the Glasgow Science Centre today to discuss plans for delivery of climate change lessons for upper primary kids (age 8-11) in Dumfries & Galloway schools. We’re planning for Heather to lead sessions from the Science Centre directly into certain primary school classrooms via a bespoke Video Conferencing programme of delivery. It’s proposed that Heather will lead a CPD session (in Dumfries) for teachers involved in the programme early in January. The lessons for kids will be led by Heather via video-link directly into classrooms. Two interactive presentations (an hour each) will be delivered to each school involved between January and March 2013. Lessons will address Curriculum for Excellence Science Experiences & Outcomes at Level 2. Climate change issues, renewable energy sources and our oceans will be addressed in the class presentations.

Our plans with this are certainly new and innovative. However, I’m very hopeful and expectant that teachers will appreciate and value the support Heather can give to further developing learning in science in our schools.

Heather fronted BBC Scotland’s weather reporting from 1994 – 2009. She was chairman of the Institute of Physics in Scotland from 1999 until 2001, is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and has an honorary lectureship in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Glasgow.

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