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Title: Secondary music students' compositional development with computer-mediated environments in classroom communities
Author: Kirkman, Philip
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 8179
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2012
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Over the last decade digital technologies have brought significant changes to classroom music, promising support for the realisation of a musical education for all students. National curricula and exam specifications continue to embed technology more deeply. While these changes increasingly impact on music classrooms, there is a growing awareness that the presence of digital technologies may not always promote meaningful compositional development, particularly at GCSE level. A ‘musical’ curriculum seeks to promote meaningful compositional development by building upon a student’s previous musical experience and by providing practical, integrated and collaborative composing experiences. Existing empirical research demonstrates that a wide range of digital technologies are used in secondary classrooms to support students’ compositional processes. When used successfully, such technologies give rise to computer- mediated environments which promote musical composing experiences. At the same time, current models of compositional development do not adequately account for the ways in which such contextual factors mediate students’ compositional development. In response to this, the current research employs a multiple case study approach to explore the ways in which two secondary music students’ compositional development proceeds when working with digital technologies. Drawing from both symbolic interactionism and activity theory as complementary theoretical lenses, students’ own views of their developing composing process are positioned in a critical and reflexive dialogue with the researcher’s own constant analysis. Tools for data collection include a novel synchronous multiple video capture technique (SMV) developed to meet the demands of the project. The methodology draws on ethnographic techniques and the framework for analysis is based on an adapted constant comparative procedure. Set in the context of a UK secondary school the thesis explores several themes which emerge from the stories of Sam and Emily, our two student cases, and which add to current understanding of compositional development with computer-mediated environments. A theoretical model is proposed which presents the process of compositional development in terms of four connections that emerge from Sam’s and Emily’s ways of working. They are: connecting in institutional space, connecting in personalised space, connecting in emancipated space and connecting in shared space. Four developmental points are offered within these spaces: a point of enabling, a point of discovery, a point of transformation and a point of connection. Each point of development is linked to a type of development which, drawing on the literature, have been given the following titles: scaffolded development, serendipitous development, computer-mediated development and creative development. Finally, the study suggests several implications for teachers and avenues for further research relating to the nature of personalised spaces, providing varied contextual opportunities, understanding computer- mediated composing and promoting student ownership.
Supervisor: Andrews, Paul; Wyse, Dominic Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Music education ; Technology ; Classroom ; Symbolic interactionism ; Activity theory ; Composing ; Development