UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Wu, Dawn Chuang-Mae
Thesis (M.Ed.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Chong, Sylvia
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

The purpose of this study was to compare the learning outcomes of primary school students who studied music theory using the Computer-Based Instructional (CBI) approach, the Computer-Assisted Instructional (CAI) approach and the Teacher-Led approach. The students' and teacher's attitude towards the use of technology in the music classroom was also investigated in this research. Three primary two classes were randomly selected in a government-aided primary school in Singapore and the researcher developed a pre-study survey questionnaire to gather information regarding students' musical backgrounds and their experience with computers and software. During the ten-lesson program, students were taught a) treble clef note names, b) bass clef note names, c) note values and d) rhythm. Students who had undergone the CBI and CAI approach made use of the Music Ace and Music Ace 2 CD-ROMs in their lessons. A pretest was administered to students on the onset of the program to determine their knowledge of music notation and note values. A posttest of the same structure was given at the end of the ten lessons to examine the effectiveness of the use of computers and accompanying software and/or teacher instruction. Data was analysed using the SPSS program to compare the cognitive achievement of students in the three classes. A survey was given out to students in the CBI and CAI classes at the end of the study to obtain their feedback on the use of computers and software. The researcher also conducted interviews with the students and the teacher to ascertain their attitudes toward the content and delivery of instruction. Results found that there was an improvement for each educational approach in the posttest scores but all three approaches differed in its effectiveness in improving the test scores. It was found that the CBI approach significantly enhanced student learning and achievement in music theory. Classes which made use of technology showed more positive attitudes towards the learning of music theory. Students commented that the computers made learning fun, enjoyable and interesting and that it is a useful tool to learn music. Encouraging feedback on the Music Ace program and lessons were also given. However, students who had undergone the teacher-led approach gave slightly more negative comments. They indicated that the lessons could have been more interesting and that the teacher should have repeated and reinforced the concepts taught. The teacher regarded the CAI program positively and agreed that it can be a valuable tool in the teaching of music theory. The results of the study suggest that the CBI approach is the most effective approach in the learning of music theory skills. Advantages and disadvantages of integrating technology into the music classroom were discussed and recommendations were made for teachers who wish to employ technology in their music lessons.

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