Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wrap up: iBand case study - a deeper analysis

As a wrap up, how about if we try to analysis the case of “iBand” example ( based on the analysis framework?

Just a recap of the case: students where taught music in a music lesson, by playing mobile tablet devices installed with music software. Students follow instructions by teachers to play the note, yet collaboration exists among students.

In the previous discussion, our group suggested that the case is innovative. Clive has pointed out previously that in the technological aspect, the case is innovative that latest ICT products (touchscreen devices) are used.

Let’s try to have a deeper analysis on this case. While the teachers’ role in the case has been discussed before, here I would like to point out the analysis with respect to (1) students’ role, (2) the ICT used, and (3) Connectedness.

(1) Students’ role

Cooperation and collaboration

  • Certainly cooperation is found among students. They play the devices together aiming at attaining the same goal – to produce a song together
  • Collaboration may be found as well – there may be discussion on the role played by each student before the actual performance. This requires the setting up a common language and meaning in the task
Roles of students revisited – we can identify the following role of students, from traditional one to innovative one
  • Follow task instruction
  • Presentation of own learning
  • Electronic presentation of own learning (using the iPad to produce musical note)
  • Engage in collaborative task with other students

My opinion is that, if there are more follow-up tasks among students regarding the music lesson, e.g., self-reflection or peer evaluation, then the case would be more innovative.

(2) School context – ICT structure

Based on the video, certainly there is a sufficient support of the ICT infrastructure – there are iPads for each student. Additionally, as we can see from the video, there are many computers along the walls in the classroom (just like our classroom’s setting). Musical instruments like digital piano, drums, etc. are all available. The iPads are also specialized, designed for the digital orchestra.

(3) Connectedness

The connectedness in the case may score low. There is little connection of teaching outside the classroom. However, from the video, we may find certain “hidden connection” to the public throughout the students’ learning because their music performance was recorded and put onto YouTube. Students may have learnt something outside apart from just playing music – they may learn the way to prepare for a performance, the importance of rehearsal, how to cooperate in an orchestra performance, etc.. At the end, a student girl was interviewed, she may have learned the communication skills which is outside the music lesson curriculum too.


  1. Some excellent points, Ken.

    To comment on a few aspects. We don't know the full context of what happened in this lesson, or series of lessons. We were concerned that some of the students were carrying out fairly low skill tasks in music and technology, but as the teacher pointed out, some of the students involved weren't really fans of music as taught in the curriculumm so any involvement was a bonus.

    The school context. Well, I think that a lot of the equipment used was brought to the school especially for the event. Whilst a school may have some of the equipment necessary, it may not have it all. Hence, the project is difficult to sustain at this level.

    As you say, connectedness is not obvious, but maybe we don't see any lasting connections from our perspective. Will the students in the video still be in touch with each other in 5-10 years time? Probably, given the power of social media. That was certainly not true 10-15 years ago.

  2. When reviewing of the 'iband' example, it's a music-play 'jamming' and 'crossover' on the real and synthetic musical instrument. Beside Ken's point, I add some comment on my own view.

    (1) Curriculum focus, I identify to the single subject focus. Because it's a 'music lesson', it focus on music-subject-based discipline.

    (2) Disruptive innovation, the example which contains the disruptive technology element inside. The iPad for fake music-player or other musical synthesizer can be a replacement technology innovation to the existing real musical instrument.

    (3) Transferability/ sustainability: Paradigm shift is a transferable component to the example. Music can generate from the unreal instrument. It can treat iPad is the transferable music-play element and the Guitar/Piano is the sustainable music-play element. An obvious shift can observe in this music lesson.

  3. Moreover, it contains

    (4) 21st century skill: The 21 century skill's "3C". The student role presents they got the ability of creativity, collaboration and communication. The combination of 'real' and 'pretend' music-play are creativity. Cooperation and collaboration are Ken's mentioned above.

  4. In this case, the application of i-Pad in music class is amazing at the first glance.However, I agree that it may not be a sustaining innovation unless more activities are designed to support the program. Also, it is important to link the educational activites to learning outcomes. If the learning outcome is to help students play music even if they do not have foundations of instruments, it may be possible for the program to last for a long period.
    Finally, besides the application of playing music, we have no idea whether the i-Pad will be used in other educational activities. So we may come to the conclusion after investigating all the supporting information.