Music in the Science Classroom: The impact of content-based songs on learning and engagement
As science songs become more popular on the Internet and in classrooms, researchers are exploring whether content-based music can make science lessons more relevant, emotional, and memorable. Interested parties include educators, who believe in the pedagogical power of music, and private education media companies, who are incorporating music into a new wave of educational technologies and services. This thesis investigates the impact of professionally created content-based music videos on intermediate school aged students in New Zealand. A randomized control trial found that the musical lesson was deemed more fun than the control video, and was shared more often outside of the classroom. Students in this music video group had smaller short-term content gains, but these gains persisted after one month, while the larger gains seen by the control group returned to baseline over that same period. This thesis also examines the benefits and costs of student and teacher-generated songs, generated as part of the New Zealand Science Idol 2012 music video competition. Details on the planning, execution, and lessons learned from this competition are included. It is argued that science songs can achieve maximal pedagogical value when produced collaboratively by students and “professionals”, such that they have a local impact on the students involved, while achieving the accuracy and production values needed to be incorporated into classrooms around the world.
Advisor: Fleming, Jean
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: science; music; education; Fossil Rock Anthem; Tom McFadden; Science Idol
Research Type: Thesis