One of the ways in which pupils in Dutch primary education are being equipped with 21st Century Skills is through Design-based Learning. Building musical instruments could be an interesting entry point for Design-based Learning in music education. In this educational design research study, we explored how this approach could be applied to designing and building new, technology-based musical instruments. Workshops were developed on the principles of Design-based Learning and carried out in two cycles. Each cycle took place at a different primary school and was evaluated through observations, interviews with classroom teachers, and learner reports from pupils. The findings showed that the phases of Design-based Learning are helpful in structuring the pupils’ learning process when designing and building new, technology-based musical instruments. Furthermore, a Design-based Learning approach in music education holds the possibility for the development of the 21st century skills of problem-solving, creative thinking, and cooperation. The findings also illuminated challenges. Workshop leaders not only need to have content knowledge of science, technology, and music, but also need to know how to guide a design process and how to approach problems that can arise during that process, such as design fixation.
Design-based Learning, technology, instrument building, music education, primary education
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About the authors
Michel Hogenes, PhD, is Principal lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Codarts, Rotterdam University of the Arts, and independent researcher for the Arts Education Research Group of the Amsterdam University of the Arts, the Netherlands.
Anouk Diepenbroek, MSc, is Cultural Education Expert at FluXus Center for the Arts, Zaandam, the Netherlands.
Melissa Bremmer, PhD, is Professor of Arts Education at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, the Netherlands.
Marien Hogerheijde is teacher at Media College Amsterdam, the Netherlands.