ARTS:LIVE Development

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  • The Song Room

  • 2013


The ARTS:LIVE project was focused on the further development of ARTS:LIVE to enable the online delivery of arts based education to students and training to teachers. ARTS:LIVE is The Song Room’s government endorsed, curriculum aligned, online classroom for the arts.

Throughout the project The Song Room staff assessed the use of ARTS:LIVE music based teaching and learning resources in a regional setting where The Song Room was delivering in-school programs. In addition, website enhancement took place through additional functionality aimed at improving usability and access.

The aim of including the in-school music program was to integrate online arts learning in the classroom and then extend this learning to the local arts community.

ARTS:LIVE was introduced through face-to-face arts program delivery in 4 regional Victorian schools in the Shepparton area in 2014/15 for 20 weeks at each school. The Song Room Teaching Artist regularly delivered professional development sessions to introduce ARTS:LIVE resources in conjunction with in-class music learning.

The key objectives of this project were to:
  • further refine and increase access to the ARTS:LIVE platform to enhance music and arts learning in regional and national schools
  • integrate this technology into an effective model for inclusive, whole-of-school community music learning
  • provide long term sustainable access to music education for children in schools across Australia - increasing personal, social and learning outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Project Activities

1. ARTS:LIVE Development
Several consultation workshops, involving The Song Room Digital Education Team, took place with The Song Room development partner, Smartface. This led to the development of a project plan for website updates and upgrades, including:

  • the development of wireframes
  • a test plan which incorporated functional aspects
  •  changes to the architecture of the back end of the website.

As a result of the above plan, the content management system was upgraded to ensure better usability and data management by administrators of ARTS:LIVE. Functional changes were also devised by the Digital Education Team to allow for great functionality.

2. Shepparton Project - An Integrated Model
The ARTS:LIVE Shepparton Project is currently being run across 3 schools: Bourchier Street Primary School, Ardmona Primary School (2 programs) and Wilmot Road Primary School in the Shepparton region. In-school workshops are held in each school once a fortnight. The program is designed to integrate online arts learning in the classroom, through ARTS:LIVE, and increase the capacity of teachers to deliver the arts.

To complement the fortnightly in-school workshops, there have been a number of professional development sessions for teachers to enable generalist teachers to be sufficiently familiar with the ARTS:LIVE learning resources to independently facilitate basic music learning for their students and further develop local arts partnerships.

3. Capacity Building - Sustainable Access to Music Education
Six teacher professional development sessions took place in Shepparton across the school year. Teachers from 12 different schools participated in the training. The aim of the sessions was to up-skill teachers in the Shepparton region in delivering arts based education. The training session received much positive feedback and excitement from participating teachers:

  • “Loved the hands-on practical activities. Super excited to share these resources with my colleagues and students.”

  • “I believe this is going to be amazing resources for our school and to apply to our music program.”

  • “Cannot wait to log on and explore. Very exciting.”

Project Outcomes


The new content management system has improved the workflow for registration and management of current and new users in ARTS:LIVE and The Song Room database.

The process of undertaking functional changes led to a strategic decision to redevelop the website on a more flexible platform. This is now an ongoing project for The Song Room’s Digital Education Team. The outcomes of redeveloping ARTS:LIVE include:
  • keeping up with current technology
  • allowing for expansion to other markets, including international schools and early learning centres
  • improvements to usability, flexibility, content search ability
  • the addition of a training area for Teachers and Song Room Teaching Artists
  • more content control in-house to keep ongoing running costs low
  • have greater flexibility for displaying content across different audience groups.

2. In-School Music Program

Through their involvement in fortnightly Song Room workshops and follow up teaching by their classroom teachers, students have improved their skills in music and the arts. The Song Room evaluation data collected from Shepparton teachers shows that most teachers report that their students showed improvement to their skills, attitude and confidence in performing and presenting music and the arts.

Most Shepparton teachers surveyed also indicated that their students improved social outcomes, personal development and learning outcomes:

  • “Students who have been disengaged have moved forward in positive relationships and are realising and celebrating their successes. The program is invaluable and supports students many from vulnerable backgrounds. As a Principal I am enthused to continue with the program if it is available in 2015 and beyond. It impacted on what the students do well. Mostly it has supported change and has enhanced positive relationships.” - Jean Varty, Principal, Ardmona Primary School
  • “One particular student has endured some significant social and environmental disadvantage. She was able to set the tone of the participation of the whole group and at our Eastbank performance absolutely shone on stage. She also displayed a very innate sense of self-expression and creativity through music - what a joy she was to watch!!!” - Loretta Shannon, Song Room Teaching Artist.

3. Capacity Building/Sustainability
Through Song Room teacher mentoring and ARTS:LIVE online teaching resources, teachers are more able to facilitate creative programs in class and implement the new Australian Arts Curriculum.

The Song Room’s Professional Development for Shepparton teachers worked towards providing long term sustainable access to music education for children in schools across Australia.

To highlight the sustainability of The Song Room’s online resource, evaluation data from teachers participating in Shepparton’s Professional Development highlights that 91% of teachers stated that they intend to use ARTS:LIVE in their classroom and show other teachers how to use ARTS:LIVE.

  • “This (ARTS:LIVE) is going to be an amazing resource for Verney Road School and to apply to my own music program” - Troy Parker, Vernie Road Speical School.

How were obstacles overcome?

Initially this project was created to support the development and use of Jam Room, a music IOS application created by The Song Room. During the initial consultation phase the team documented a range of issues that meant the use of Jam Room in this project was not viable.

The key findings from the consultation were:

  • The cost of ongoing maintenance of the Jam Room application would be high as development work would be required when new devices are released or at any time operating systems are updated.
  • Ongoing software bug tracking and general repairs would also be costly.
  • Jam Room would only be accessible from a wireless enabled iPad and not on any other tablet or mobile device.
  • Fast Internet would be required to smoothly run the application.

As a result the project funds were shifted, with auDA Foundation approval, to the further development and utilisation of ARTS:LIVE, for greater benefit and social impact.

ARTS:LIVE can be accessed anywhere, anytime from a computer or tablet device and thus reduces the risks outlined above considerably.


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