Moving Music Education into the 21st Century

Project Title: Moving Music Education into the 21st Century

Project Lead’s Name: Brian Meyers


Phone: (513) 529-0585

Please Choose the Primary Affiliation: CCA

Are There Other Project Team Members?: Yes

Other Project Team Member: Per Bloland

Other Team Member Email Address:

Brief description of project: Our ever-expanding digital society is utilizing technology in totally new and revolutionary ways, especially with the advent of touch-enabled devices (mobile phones and tablets) and their applications. Music education, at all levels, however, has been considerably slower in adjusting to such changes, leaving music, and the arts in general, in a tenuous position in today's world, especially within the public school system.

The proposed project seeks to change this through the creation and use of a mobile iPad lab within the Department of Music. The proposed lab would include 20 iPads and associated accessories for student use, one iPad Pros and accessories for faculty and teaching use, an Apple TV unit for screen casting to department projectors, and funds for the purchase of appropriate software applications. A charging cart has already been secured by the department for use with the proposed lab. All materials would be housed within the department's Music Technology Lab in Presser Hall, but the mobility of the lab would allow for usage throughout the building and, potentially, across the campus (including the Center for Performing Arts).

The purpose of the proposed lab is to expand the usage of iPad technology in music creation and education by providing students the opportunity to experience the technology in a variety of creative and educational situations. This will be accomplished through use in a multitude of courses, as appropriate to their scope and content. Some courses will utilize the iPads specifically as a tool for creating music. The wide array of music applications developed for the iPad allow it to used as an instrument, a digital audio workstation, a compositional and scoring tool, a recording station, a drum machine, an assortment of effects pedals, and much more, all within one portable device. Additionally, the iPad can be utilized as a controller or trigger pad in connection with music software packages on the Macintosh, further expanding on its uses within the current Music Technology Lab. All of this functionality, when in the hands of students, provides countless creative possibilities that, only 10 years ago, were largely inaccessible outside a studio.

Other courses will focus on the use of iPads as an instructional tool to heighten student learning, retention, focus, motivation, and enjoyment. Such use is particularly beneficial to the department's music education majors, who are entering the teaching profession at a time when technology usage is rapidly increasing and even required of teachers in some schools. More K-12 institutions are becoming 1:1 schools, in which every student is provided an electronic device for class use, so presenting pre-service teachers with examples of how to integrate these devices into music education classrooms of all types and levels has become a vital part of their future success. Along with the many music creation possibilities presented earlier, the accessibility afforded by iPads challenges teachers to rethink and redesign learning activities in innovative and impactful ways. Student engagement with material also changes, as different modes of collaboration and student assessment are possible through various applications. Through the proposed lab, students will be able to experience iPads from both the student and teacher perspective, allowing them to better understand and, therefore, utilize the technology in their future teaching positions.

Does this project focus on graduate student education or graduate student life?: No

Describe the problem you are attempting to solve and your approach for solving that problem.: While the availability of music technology is more pronounced than ever, music education and instruction has been much slower in integrating these tools. In K-12 schools, this results in a curriculum that is, for most students, devoid of any modern technology, being solely based upon ensemble-based modes of instruction (band, orchestra, choir). Although an important part of music education, these ensembles do not represent the totality of music instruction, but rather a small sliver of possibility.

This proporsal seeks to change this paradigm by increasing students' use of music technology in a multitude of creative ways. By introducing students to the many creative possibilities afforded by iPads, we increase their likelihood of using it in their future efforts. For the average music student, this may manifest itself in the desire to create, compose, arrange, or remix music in totally new ways presented by iPad technology. For music education major, exposure takes on additional importance: by showing pre-service teachers the possibilities afforded by iPads both in their own instruction and in the hands-on education of their students, we increase the likelihood these educators will utilize this and other technology in their future classrooms, thus effecting future generations of students.

The criteria state that technology fee projects should benefit students in innovative and/or significant ways. How would you describe the innovation and/or significance of your project?: Studies have shown that the use of iPads in the classroom positively affects students' retention of mathematical principles, can increase reading literacy and comprehension, and increases overall student engagement (especially in disabled students and special learners). Music and music education, however, have been slow in utilizing iPads in similar pedagogically and educationally appropriate ways in order to reap similar benefits. The proposed lab will allow the faculty of the Department of Music to begin to proffer change by placing the devices in the hands of the students in a multitude of situations, thus allowing them to experience the potential innovations in creation and instruction afforded by iPads in the studio, classroom, and home.

To accomplish this, the proposed lab would be utilized by multiple classes within the department, as described below:

MUS 221 Music Technology
This course, required of all music majors, introduces students to the fundamentals of music technology through hands-on projects. The course currently utilizes the Music Technology Lab, located in Presser Hall, which is equipped with Macintosh workstations and a variety of music software. The proposed iPad lab would be utilized in the class as another tool exploring music creation, manipulation, recording, and dissemination, particularly within a portable format. The iPads can be used exclusively for projects, but also can integrate with the existing lab, serving as external controllers and triggers for various music programs, such as Ableton Live. The portability of the iPads also affords students the opportunity to expand their music creation beyond the bounds of the Music Technology Lab and into other parts of campus.

MUS222 Music Education Technology
Required for all music education majors (who are concurrently enrolled in MUS221), this course is designed to deal exclusively with utilization of music technology in the music education classroom. Skills, concepts, and programs introduced in MUS221 are contextualized and expanded in order to explore their application in the education of students of all ages. Given the increasing number of 1:1 schools (every student has an electronic device), the proposed lab creates a real-world scenario for our pre-service teachers in which they can conceive and teach technology-based lessons to a class with the technology in-hand.

Other Music Education Courses
Access to the proposed lab would also be available to other music education faculty members for use in their own courses. Again, as the number of 1:1 schools continues to increase, this technology becomes more accessible in the classroom, meaning that teachers need to be exposed to their use in a variety of classroom settings.

Through their personal use of the iPads in their individual courses, music educational faculty members model instructional techniques for integrating technology into the classroom. Such modeling is an important step in the development of pre-service teachers' attitudes towards the use of technology, which is reflected in students' use of technology in various projects and instructional scenarios. Additionally, access to an entire lab of iPads presents a real classroom scenario, where every student has a device in-hands during instruction.

Other Music Courses
As with music education courses, integration of the proposed lab into other music courses within the Department can provide new experiences and educational opportunities for both students and faculty. The availability of such a lab may spur some faculty members to look at innovative ways of include technology in their courses, either through their own presentation or through hands-on experience by their students. Intra-departmental training and advice will be offered to any Department faculty who wish to utilize the lab within their courses.

How will you assess the project?: Assessment of the impact of the proposed iPad lab on student creativity and instruction will be conducted within the courses that use the lab and will be dependent upon how the lab is used within each course. In some cases, students may fill out a technology survey at the beginning and end of the semester to determine changes in their comfort, understanding, enjoyment, and other attitudes toward use of the lab in their learning and creation. Other courses may assess student growth through projects requiring the use of the iPads, such as music education majors teaching a sample lesson utilizing instructional aids presented by the iPads or the more robust iPad Pro. Regardless of the method of collection, all data will be analyzed individually and in aggregate to determine the effect of the lab on student learning and creation. Results will help both students and faculty build a better understanding of how to integrate technology in courses to heighten student learning and engagement.

The effectiveness of the lab, however, cannot be properly gauged by only one semester or even one year of use. The utilization of the technology will take on many forms as faculty and students grow in comfort and understanding and it is this variety of experiences over multiple semesters and years that will prove to be most beneficial. Students that use the lab in only one class will show different results than students who use the class in multiple classes, just as those who only use the iPads to create music will view the technology differently than those who actually use the iPads to aid instruction. The continual gather of longitudinal data may highlight not just temporary gains through use of the lab, but fundamental changes in our educational approaches through access to technology.

Have you applied for and/or received Tech Fee awards in past years?: Yes

If funded, what results did you achieve?: Previous grant proposal was not chosen for funding. Appropriate changes have been made to this proposal based upon feedback from that unsuccessful application.

Budget: Software, Hardware

Hardware Title(s) & Vendor(s): Apple iPads and accessories will purchased from the University Bookstore and as indicated on attached budget.

Hardware Costs: $10,198.00

Software Title(s) & Vendor(s): Apps will be purchased from the Apple App Store

Software Costs: $500.00

What is the total budget amount requested?: $10,698.00

Comments: Budget is based upon current educational pricing.