The relationship between children's learning about the world through music and the use of technology

Year: 2013

Author: Nyland, Berenice, Acker, Aleksandra, Niland, Amanda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper discusses two projects that have focussed on children exploring different aspects of the world through musical activities. These researcher/practitioner explorations were as diverse as an investigation of Mozart's Magic Flute and singing as an expression of young children's musical cultures. In this paper we describe two studies and the use and role of technology in these initiatives. Findings are discussed and implications for technology as a tool to enhance learning presented.
This study has drawn on a range of literature; music as a language of childhood, the culture of childhood as well as the early childhood education technology research and music. The research has been qualitative, descriptive and interpretive. A phenomenological approach has allowed us to explore meaning-making within contexts. Socio/cultural theory was used to frame the research design and within this paradigm technology was viewed as a cultural, historical and social tool. The methodology was interpretivist and data consisted of direct observations, field notes, photographs, video and interviews. Analysis explored the children's learning using narrative research methods and described levels of engagement, involvement and dispositions for learning.
Findings suggest that technology use was directly related to the learning culture of each context. One of the examples presented here was entirely dependent on technology as the events that unfolded could not have occurred without the ability to stream films from the internet  The second example was a study of co-creating a song as a form of meaning-making. Outside influences on this process, such as technology, played a significant role in the song-making project. Implications arising from the research indicate that technology used purposively can enhance and enrich children's learning. In our conclusion we identify the learning that was visible and link this to technology use.