Contemporary Music Students and Mobile Technology

Contemporary Music Students and Mobile Technology

Thomas Cochrane (Unitec, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-101-6.ch516
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Five billion songs, and counting, have been downloaded (completely legally) through Apple Computer’s online iTunes Store. The iTunes University links free educational content from over seventy tertiary institutions worldwide, and is now available to New Zealand tertiary institutions. The Internet has revolutionised the delivery and access of media and education – making access to a worldwide audience or market merely a Google (or iTunes Store) search away! But, what are the real-world practicalities of this for contemporary music students and teachers today? How can these tools be utilised to facilitate personalised learning environments. Within this context, this chapter presents and evaluates a mobile learning case study at Unitec in the Diploma of Contemporary Music on the Waitakere campus.
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This section introduces the underpinning concepts related to mobile web 2.0 and personalized learning environments upon which the example research project is based. This introductory section is then followed by a section describing the case study, an evaluation of the results and findings, and finally a discussion on the future of the project for 2009.

Mobile Learning

While there have been many attempts to define the unique essence of mobile learning (mLearning), most have either focused on the mobility of the device, the learner, or on the facilitation of informal learning beyond the confines of the classroom (Kukulsa-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Laurillard, 2007; M Sharples et al., 2007; Wali et al., 2008). Mobile learning, as defined by the author of this chapter, involves the use of wireless enabled mobile digital devices (Wireless Mobile Devices or WMD’s) within and between pedagogically designed learning environments or contexts. From an activity theory perspective, WMD’s are the tools that mediate a wide range of learning activities and facilitate collaborative learning environments (Uden, 2007). Laurillard’s definition of mLearning emphasises the critical role of the educator: “M-Learning, being the digital support of adaptive, investigative, communicative, collaborative, and productive learning activities in remote locations, proposes a wide variety of environments in which the teacher can operate” (Laurillard, 2007). MLearning can support and enhance both the face to face and off campus teaching and learning contexts by using the mobile wireless devices as a means to leverage the potential of web 2.0 tools. The WMD’s wireless connectivity and data gathering abilities (e.g. photoblogging, video recording, voice recording, and text input) allow for bridging the on and off campus learning contexts – facilitating “real world learning”. It is the potential for mobile learning to bridge pedagogically designed learning contexts, facilitate learner generated contexts, and content (both personal and collaborative), while providing personalisation and ubiquitous social connectedness, that sets it apart from more traditional learning environments.

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