Music Touch Squared Proposal – Josiah Hester
Abstract: Proposal for a mobile (iPhone, Android, Web) musical education environment and application suite. Consisting of mainly three tools, a teacher’s exercise authoring tool, a teacher’s web based evaluation and statistical tool for targeting problem areas, and the student program for in real-time class exercises and out of class assignments.
Purpose and Summary: The basic purpose of the tool is to help students learn, practice and hone their basic music theory skills such as harmonic and melodic dictation, interval training, chord and scale construction, key signature identification, rhythmic identification and many other possibilities, through exercises. Each exercise can have many other constraints such as time limits, or clefs, as well as teacher defined constraints. Students will do exercises on their device in class or at home and submit them instantaneously for grading and instant feedback. Of interest is real time in class interaction: a teacher can give the class a short exercise in class and get the results instantly. Another primary goal is minimum teacher work; the program will grade the exercise as well as gather statistical data.
The purpose will be accomplished though a variety of means, including;
1. An authoring tool for teachers as well as students, this will facilitate both parties being able to tailor exercises to their specific needs.
2. The exercise tool itself. It will consist of a basic interface showing current exercises and other minimal information. From the interface you then “touch” one of the exercises to start it.
3. In the future a database that will hold statistics and Meta data on students and exercises, which will be accessible from the web or mobile device. This will allow teachers to identify problem areas and holes in their teaching as well as struggling demographics of students. It will also allow them to tailor homework to students, making education personal once again. (Ironically by depersonalizing it through computers!)
4. Another key priority is availability. Through abstraction, we will try to have iPhone, Android and Web apps that all have the same functionality for the student exercise application. This can be accomplished through abstraction in Java, use Applets for the web and Android for the phone. After abstraction the “bridge” module should just be busy work.
The main goal of the authoring tool is to provide power and diversity through simplicity. Since the target audience is expected to know very little about computers, the interface will be as “touchable” and intuitive as possible. Also to further accomplish this goal, there will be succinct but helpful mouse over tooltips.
The authoring tool will basically be an empty window, which the teacher will populate with one of three items: 1.) A staff, 2.) A keyboard, 3.) A textbox. These items will be held in a “toolbox” of some sort, maybe something like Microsoft Word’s formatting palette, or the widget manager on a Mac desktop. Either way it must be unobtrusive to the view of the exercise but able to be easily called up at any time.
Each of these items will have certain inputs that are considered “correct.”
Another approach is to just have a lot of pre made exercises, which the teacher can then use and just change a few settings. A real time interaction would be very cool though.
Student Exercise Tool:
The exercise tool is how the student does the exercises.
Web Based Tool
This online tool will use a Java online solution such as Joomla or Liferay to hold multiple web services for teacher and student involving music and education. This will be the starting point for most people and a way to spread the word about the application.
1. Evaluation Database Tool
Gives the teacher information and statistics about homework problems etc. Needs to be very simple and straightforward as music teachers and artsy types are NOTORIOUS for incapability in computing. Simplified database model and easy to understand, non-technical data. Preferably all problems should be pinpointed by the service, minimizing teacher involvement. From this tool the computer could make decisions about homework assignments and send them to the student.
2. Student Exercises and Homepage
Students will have their own ID and login to access assignments etc. They can do the exercises online or with their awesome Android or iPhone. Using Joomla simplifies this entire process greatly.
1. Get Dr. Rash inspired about music stuff.
2. May have to take Music Fundamentals class to help understand music learning better.
3. Sign up for section 5 of 481. Code: 18782
4. ABSTRACT the model. Because Android intentionally keeps logic and UI separate it is much easier anyway. The majority of our code may be abstraction. (Hopefully). This needs to be well thought out and planned. Or we could just plow ahead and fix later like usual.
5. For the implementation of teachers sending exercises, use the BroadcastReviewer class and NotificationManager class, this will allow the hone to open the exercise as well as skip interfaces and go straight to the exercise.
6. Study and evaluate the easiest ways of note entry with a touch. Evaluate 1.) Simple note picking through GUI buttons. 2.) Linear entry, putting finger on screen puts note, moving up and down moves on staff, left and right changes note value. 3.) Clicking onto staff, then dragging. 4.) Using multi-touch: one finger anchors, second finger slides up or down to get note value/
1. The Google Phone has touch, and multitouch capabilities as well as single finger scroll. Its hardware features are comparable to the iPhone.
2. Android SDK’s debugging and application process is much smoother, and streamlined and the debugging Is arguably better.
3. AT&T May take up the Android phone but it is doubtful before Christmas 2008. If by 2009, great visibility.
4. iPhone is AT&T only, and that will not change.
5. Android is T-Mobile only currently.
6. For web solutions, note that Joomla is completely free. Also, if they want, possibilities for Digital Chalk as well. E-learning solutions galore.
7. Note the Digital Chalk video and synchronized PowerPoint model.