Birch, Heather J.S. (2023, March 11-13). Using a Mobile App to Create Relevant and Participatory Music Learning Spaces. [Presentation]. International Conferences e-Society 2023 and Mobile Learning 2023, Lisbon, Portugal. https://www.mlearning-conf.org
This case study features pedagogical strategies that were used in the context of a mobile app for learning to encourage relevant engagement and participation. For 20 weeks, a group of 18 piano students, ages 10 through 15, used a mobile app known as PracticeCactus. This self-contained social media platform allowed young participants to create and post audio recordings of their piano practice to share with their peers, which could then be ‘liked’ and commented on. Giving
the mobile app to music learners without any direction at first, to provide them with freedom to engage with the app as they chose, resulted in limited engagement, due to individualism and a performance-based mindset. To encourage participatory engagement with the app, four pedagogical strategies were enacted, including: a) inviting students to take on the identity of ‘content creator;’ b) celebrating process over product; c) initiating goal-setting projects; and d) scaffolded instruction. These strategies resulted in the students using the app more frequently, but more importantly, fostered a different type of engagement, i.e., new opportunities for musical thinking and learning. Teachers who want to foster participatory engagement in music learning may benefit from this discussion of pedagogical strategies in the context of a mobile app.
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