PracticeCactus has been published to the Google Play store. The main feature is a cartoon cactus which “listens” for piano playing and reacts by changing mood. Other features can only be enabled if your account is linked to a piano teacher who registers for an account at thepracticecactus.com.
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I presented my preliminary research about what O Canada sounds like in Ontario schools. I investigated whether one specific recording is played each day, or whether different recordings are used, who chooses those recordings, how they are introduced, and how the features of each recording affect students’ ability to have a meaningful and developmentally appropriate experience of the national anthem.
Here are my teacher ed students jumping on the floor staff. This activity helps students embody the movement of notes on the staff. In my experience, not all students automatically transfer the knowledge they learn through jumping, to the location of notes on a page. But if you explicitly help them make the connection, then they realize how to transfer the knowledge.
In the current course I’m teaching, we’re using an online tool called Recap. It’s a platform for students to create video reflections and share them with the teacher. It is not specifically designed for collaborative learning or knowledge building, but rather, individual student reflections. It can be set up so that students see one another’s videos, but it’s not easy for them to see or access others’ responses. The benefits of the platform are expediency of sharing, security, and ability for the teacher to set a time limit on the length of student videos. I look forward to hearing my students’ opinions and perspectives on Recap.
PracticeCactus is a mobile app created through the Participatory Design (PD) process for use by private piano teachers and their students to enhance and augment independent piano practice between weekly lessons. Stakeholders in the design process included one researcher, 22 piano students ages 7 through 17, three piano teachers, and three programmers. In response to students’ feelings of isolation and boredom during independent piano practice, a virtual pet cactus was designed which “listens” and responds to student practice. Self-determination theory is used to frame the motivational structure for the app (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Ryan, Rigby, Przybylski, 2006). PracticeCactus also includes a web portal for teachers to access detailed information about students’ practice history. These data can be used by teachers to inform student-centred approaches to piano teaching such as “listening as pedagogy,” (Gouzouasis & Ryu, 2015) and teaching for critical and creative agency (Allsup, 2010).