Birch, Heather Janette Spicer. Music Learning in an Online Affinity Space: Using a Mobile Application to Create Interactions During Independent Musical Instrument Practice. Thesis (PhD)—University of Toronto, 2018
This research study considers the effects of the implementation of a mobile application designed for use during music students’ independent practice sessions between weekly lessons. Designed as an intrinsic case study, this research examines interactions within a shared online space, as facilitated by the mobile app called PracticeCactus. During their piano practice, a group of young, committed students, aged 10 to 15, used the app for 20 weeks, prompting an investigation of the effects of facilitating social interactions in the context of independent piano practice. Drawing on social constructivism and sociocultural theory, this research positions music learners as engaging in music learning through active experiences, in certain cultural contexts, and in the midst of interactions. Influenced by the work of James Paul Gee, the research context is conceptualized as an affinity space where learners participate in a variety of ways based on their common interest in piano playing. Participation in the affinity space, (i.e., using the PracticeCactus app), included opportunities for learners to share piano practice with their peers and to hear their peers’ contributions. In addition, the app provided opportunities for students to become aware when other students in their studio were practising. Data sources included: (a) two interviews with each student; (b) artefacts students created within the PracticeCactus app including musical recordings and comments; (c) field notes; and (d) four group music-sharing sessions. Throughout the course of the study, students’ use of the app changed, reflecting a move toward the social praxis philosophy of music learning. As a result of using PracticeCactus, students described their opportunities to play piano in a low-stakes, participatory environment, to engage in focused listening, to receive feedback and encouragement, and to share musical accomplishments. In addition, students described how the mobile app fostered social connections, affinity, and fun. Suggestions for future research are offered, as well as a discussion of implications for studio music teachers and mobile app developers.
Thesis (PhD)—University of Toronto, OISE, 2018.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments – Table of Contents – List of Tables – List of Figures – List of Appendices – Chapter 1: Introduction – Chapter 2: Literature Review – Chapter 3: Methodology – Chapter 4: Results – Chapter 5: Discussion – Chapter 6: Conclusion – References -- Appendices
Heather Janette Spicer Birch
Copyright, Heather Janette Spicer Birch, managed by the University of Toronto, OISE, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning.
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