M.S. Research Project: Not Just Sonic-Pi in the Sky

Belle Epoque

It’s hard to believe, but almost 6 years after starting my Coetail postgrad certificate studies, I will graduate in December with my M.S. (Master of Science) from SUNY Buffalo State University of New York,  The M.S. is in Multidisciplinary Studies, but my focus has been on Educational Technology Integration.

Educational technology integration looks at the question of how best to use technology in school education.  We should be always striving for the “R” of the SAMR model, which is Redefinition. Redefinition is when we use technology to achieve things that would be impossible without it.  In the Arts, there are myriad of opportunities for “R” and what a joy it has been to search out those opportunities!

My proudest project would be computer programming my sweater (E-Textiles) to blink the colours and patterns I wanted:


(Click above to see the Youtube video.)

Research Paper Title:

Not Just Pi in the Sky—Sonic-Pi’s Ability to give Low Note-reading Ability Music Students Access to Advanced Compositional and Performance Activities:  its Effect on Engagement and the Formation of Musical Identity in these Students

My M.S. research problem looked at the disconnect of young people between the music they enjoy privately and the music they study in music class.  I looked at the low engagement of, and the obstacles to formation of musical identity for students who have low musical note-reading abilities.  I looked at the free and open source software tool called Sonic-Pi which allows students to live-code (code on the fly) music in any genre they like, including the very popular Electronic Dance Music (EDM), and how it might help with these problems.

My research question:

“In what ways does Sonic-Pi affect access to advanced music compositional activities for low note-reading students, student engagement in music class, the development of musical identity, and students’ choices to continue music or not when they are presented with an opportunity to drop the subject?”

I have loved being a musician and a music teacher.  I love the creative abilities of technology to compliment the Arts.   Now, I get to bring both together in my M.S. research project.

It has been a fantastic journey, between my Coetail Post-Grad Certificate and my M.S. studies to add so much understanding and tools to my pedagogy.  It has been a life-changer and I will always be eternally grateful for the professional and personal growth that the last 6 years have given me.


About Vivian

Vivian @ChezVivian is a Canadian-born Chinese, currently living in Switzerland. She has also lived in Hong Kong and Indonesia. She holds a M.S. (focus: Educational Technology Integration), B.Ed and a B.A. and graduate studies in Kodály and Orff music pedagogy. She is an elementary school classroom generalist, but has also taught as a music specialist, ESL/EAL and also in Learning Support. Most of her teaching career was in International Schools in Hong Kong. She is excited about the IBPYP and the possibilities of using technology to Inquire. Recently, she has been looking at the opportunities that computer programming gives to put #TECHXture back into the hands of children. In other words, technology need not be just about looking at screens. It can be about building things with our hands; and computer programming levels-up what children can do with the things they build---encouraging higher thinking skills. She is a Coetail Post-graduate Certificate grad ('13-'14), a former Coetail Coach and one of the co-founders of #CoetailChat. Her blog home chezvivian.coetail.com curates her assignments for Coetail and her M.S. graduate studies about Educational Technology integration and anything else educationally-related that she feels inspired to write about. Her twitter tagline sums it up: "Mom to 4, Mentor, Educator, Musician (in that order)".
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