Dr. Heather J. S. Birch, Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Bachelor of Education Program, was awarded the prestigious Best Paper Award at the International Mobile Learning Conference held in Lisbon, Portugal from March 10 to 12, 2023. The paper, titled “Using a Mobile App to Create Relevant and Participatory Music Learning Spaces,” stood out among other submissions, earning recognition and acclaim from the academic community.
In an interview following her success, Dr. Birch expressed her gratitude and excitement, stating, “I felt honoured to win this award. It’s a great achievement and reflects the dedication and hard work that went into this research.”
The conference, which brought together academics from around the world, focused on the use of mobile tools for learning. Dr. Birch presented her paper on the first day of the three-day conference, captivating the audience with her insights into the potential of mobile technology for enhancing music education. Her award-winning paper showcased an innovative mobile app designed to create a collaborative and engaging music-learning experience. Developed through participatory design, the app allowed piano students to connect and share their practice sessions with others, promoting interaction, creativity, and a sense of community.
“I am passionate about music teaching that is inclusive and focuses on promoting well-being and joy,” said Dr. Birch. “My research aims to explore how mobile apps can foster social and cultural connections in music learning, going beyond the traditional emphasis on correct notes and timing—to transform music education from a solitary and isolating experience to a shared and meaningful process.”
Dr. Birch’s achievement not only brings recognition to her work but also shines a spotlight on Tyndale University and its commitment to cutting-edge research. The university’s Department of Education is proud to have been represented at the international conference, demonstrating its dedication to fostering innovative teaching practices.
Dr. Birch’s recognition at the conference has also opened doors for future collaborations. Following her award, she established connections with researchers from Greece and the Netherlands, leading to a collaborative research project on students’ preparedness for learning in augmented reality and virtual reality.
With her future endeavors already underway, Dr. Birch’s work promises to pave the way for further advancements in the field of education. Watch Dr. Birch deliver a presentation of her award-winning article.