About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1946-1951
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW OUR STUDENTS LEARN MUSIC

A. McAlister

Oberlin College (UNITED STATES)
How do you play? The brain loves to learn in a state of play and the definition of music inherently assumes that one is at play. With centuries of research by great philosophers such as Plato, Nietszche, Kant, Schiller, and Freud marking its importance, we should expect play to be serious business for educators. But time is precious in the 21st century. Today’s students are heavily scheduled, academically pressured, and socially active. Even babies and toddlers are not immune as companies market educational toys, classes, and media that claim to increase cognitive development and language acquisition. Research has shown, however, that unstructured, child-directed play is necessary for physical, cognitive, and social brain development. Play allows creativity, risk taking, and problem solving in a safe environment, free of outside judgment and criticism. From an early age, children can be found singing, dancing, and experimenting on the piano and other percussive instruments with no rules to follow, no expectations set upon their performances, and no outside forces to please.
Bottling this sense of play and applying it to adolescent students is the wish of every educator. But as lessons continue, the pedagogical combination of nurturing enthusiasm while advancing musical knowledge and aptitude is difficult to master. Achieving a state of play becomes a challenge for student and teacher. In today’s fast-paced world, the overscheduled lives of adolescents do not afford them the time to play as school, testing, college admission, extra-curricular activities, and mastering the latest technologies constantly compete for their attention. A 2009 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found total daily media exposure of eight to eighteen year olds to be an astounding ten hours and 45 minutes per day, with more than three hours of this time spent multitasking. While this use of technology may be seen as a waste of time, neuroscientists are now discovering how technology can be used as a powerful learning tool.
In pedagogy courses around the world, the next generation of teachers is learning how to tailor instruction to the various learning styles. While it is important to know if your student is a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner, knowing your student’s play personality can be just as important. This may seem like an easy task but today’s play is much different than it was just ten years ago. Technology has advanced at a dizzying pace and play to our students often translates to spending time online, playing video games, and texting. By looking at each student through the eight play personalities, pedagogues can begin to bring back the joy of musical play through the integration of technology and traditional music study. My proposed paper will deeper explore the eight play personalities as defined by Stuart Brown in his book Play and how these apply to education and learning. Additional information on how the brain learns in a state of play and how technology is changing neural structures will be presented. The paper will also examine the results of this author’s survey of independent music teachers and their use of technology in the music studio.
keywords: technology, music, play.
@InProceedings{MCALISTER2011IMP,
author = {McAlister, A.},
title = {THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW OUR STUDENTS LEARN MUSIC},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1946-1951}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. McAlister
TI - THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW OUR STUDENTS LEARN MUSIC
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 1946
EP - 1951
ER -
A. McAlister (2011) THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY: HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW OUR STUDENTS LEARN MUSIC, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 1946-1951.
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