In the world of music technology where, “music practice is challenged, mediated and redefined through performers’ and composers’ uses of ICT” (Savage, 2005, p. 168), curriculum change is necessary if the world of the classroom is to keep pace with the world outside (Cain, 2004, p. 219). For newcomers to music technology, the glittering array of increasingly sophisticated flashing, emulated, and modulated interfaces can invoke virtual interface dyslexia before giving way to options anxiety. Change is the only constant in the ever-evolving techno-scape of sound and music applications. This paper proposes that the development of an introductory tertiary music technology unit curriculum using loop-based music iPad apps may effectively engage non-traditional music (NTM) students in both music and technology. The course design was underpinned by two intentions. Firstly, the aim was to stimulate student creativity and secondly, to encourage immersion (focused attention) in sonic composition (Witmer & Singer, 1998). This paper reports on the preliminary usability testing of five loop-based music iPad applications. It is administered to a sample of one, namely the author, using the System Usability Scale (SUS) (Brooke, 1996) and is guided by the following questions: Would this testing methodology be appropriate? What factors specific to loop-based music app design might be pertinent for educators? Would this testing method indicate the potential for student immersion and creativity? While the pilot study, described here, is conducted solely by the researcher to determine the effectiveness of the method, future research intends the study to be administered to a small classroom group if determined appropriate.
Recommended CitationOrder, Simon, ‘ICreate’: Preliminary usability testing of apps for the music technology classroom, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(4), 2015.