WINNER 2019 BEST RESEARCH & PRACTICE PROJECT AWARD
Imagine for a second that you are a music director and at the very moment you move the baton the most beautiful music is performed by musicians with different backgrounds, mindsets, beliefs, and personalities. Isn’t the latter an accurate analogy of how the symphony of learning should be performed?
MusicMath is an educational research project born and based currently in Mexico. We aim to study and develop ways to teach/learn mathematics through music and vice-versa within the same learning space. We have been working with elementary schools for two and a half academic years exploring and testing workshops for this purpose. So far, the outcomes of this adventure have been, among several workshops, a PhD study and a related article (Rajić, 2019) in collaboration with the University of Belgrade, Serbia about one of our workshops called Musical Monkeys(Roldan, Roldan, & Leal, M, 2018) In addition, one ongoing Master EdTech (UT) thesis research is being conducted using the Musical Monkeys app for assessing and further study learning outcomes in homogeneous and heterogeneous groups, including a piloting stage of the app to make sure it becomes a meaningful EdTech tool (Manske, et al., 2015).
There are four main points for monitoring and assessing the outcomes of our current research:
1. MusicMath workshops must be well supported by good teaching practices.
The art of teaching has been studied and analyzed from so many different angles and perspectives. There are tons of excellent literature and articles such as the book “Visible learning for teachers” by John Hattie that describes strong characteristics, techniques, and attitudes that teachers could benefit from when acquiring and practicing them.
2. Like all music genres that innovate music, when combining them with mastery, we must take advantage of the pros and be aware of the cons when it comes to the different learning theories and approaches to better integrate them when designing MusicMath workshops.
The different theories, styles, and approaches on how students learn, with their psychological and pedagogical considerations, are constantly raising fascinating debates and developments, such as Dr. Slavin work and notes about cooperative learning.
3. We must use and adapt technology to make the learning experience as meaningful and innovative as we can.
And what about technology? Education is doomed and blessed by it. Doomed because schools tend to buy technology assuming meaningful educational innovation comes with the bundle, and blessed because it drives new horizons to further develop meaningful experiences when it comes to teaching and learning.
4. It’s time to unmute mathematics and expand our options for reading music.
Manske, S., et al. (2015). Using Difference to Make a Difference: A study of Heterogeneity of Learning Groups, Otto-Hahn-Gymnasium Dinslaken.
Rajić, S. (2019). Mathematics and music game in the function of child’s cognitive development, motivation and activity.Early Child Development and Care. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2019.1656620 — PhD thesis “Mathematics and Music in the function of child development” to be defended sometime in December 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia —
Roldan, E., Roldan, E., & Leal, M (2018). Musical Monkeys- workshop, boardgame, and app. Created and developed by MusicMath. All rights reserved. — The aim of this workshop is to teach an algebraic approach to arithmetics to elementary students and decipher musical rhythms using geometry —
Eric Roldan Roa & Team, MusicMath