ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY
ABSTRACT
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
MASTER OF ARTS (EDUCATION)

A STUDY INTO THE TEACHING OF THE SCOTTISH SMALLPIPES
USING PODCASTING ON THE INTERNET AS A DISTRIBUTION MEDIUM

Dissertation available upon request


Vicki Swan
January 2007
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This study is the result of an action research investigation into the distance teaching of the Scottish smallpipes using podcasting as a distribution medium. Podcasting is a new technology and very little research has been undertaken to examine its use in the distance learning of instrumental music tuition. Using a target audience of web-literate Scottish smallpipers from all over the world, a new tutor book was created and delivered by podcast. This gave access for pipers in remote areas to a learning experience that would not have previously been available. Utilising the self-reflective cycles within the action research methodology, changes were made to the pedagogy, format and technological designs of the lessons and podcasts.

The study investigated existing teaching pedagogies and resources for the Scottish smallpipes. Following from the assessment of this existing material, a new tutor book was created with a remote-learner centric design. This material was made available online alongside an audio podcast of the same content. After each podcast, feedback was requested and data analyzed. An invisible tracker was put in place to monitor activity on the website to assist in the evaluation of participants’ use of the resources.

The results of the study suggested that podcasting could provide a valuable learning resource tool when used sympathetically. The results of the study also suggested that auto-didactic learners could be successful in learning an instrument in what, traditionally, has been very much the domain of the face-to-face teacher.

The impact on the student participants took the form of a learning experience that was not previously available. The impact on own practice resulted in the creation of a new tutor book for the Scottish smallpipes, audio resources for future teaching and a greater understanding of the pedagogy of online learning that has value to the wider music forum.