Boulevard of Broken theories: MUSIC model of academic motivation

Boulevard of Broken theories refers to a song performed by the band Green Day. Whilst looking up the meaning of this phrase, I found this definition on wikianswer (Zarama, n.d.) “it means a lot of dreams you thought have and have never came true”. I feel that his is a great way of looking at my blog, I am looking at a lot of theories that psychologists which have not been implemented into mainstream education. This blog is going to analyse how these theories can be rekindled and how they can be executed in a classrooms in the 21st century.

This is the first of triad of blogs, which will be looking into such theories. The first theory I will analyse is the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation (Jones, 2009). 

The MUSIC model of academic motivation is a collaboration of motivational theories created by Jones (2009). According to Jones (2009) the MUSIC model can increase motivation in education using 5 components. These 5 components are eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest and Caring. Jones (2009) found that when a teacher uses at least one of these techniques, children learning might be enhanced. How this occurs is shown in figure 1.


Fig 1. How the MUSIC theory increases students learning.

According to Jones (2009), empowerment is the amount of control that students perceive they have some power over some of their own learning. According to Jones (2009) when children learn autonomously there motivation can be increased which can lead to increased learning.

Jones (2009) already has looked at how to apply empowerment into a regular classroom. Such as allowing choosing topics that which they want to study (Ryan & La Guardia, 1999), giving children a chance to express there own opinions while the teacher considers them (Reeve, 1996), giving control of lesson pace to the students (Roblyer, 1999), and allow students to help develop and implement class activities. Technology has a important role in applying these ideas into a 21st classroom. Due to the introduction of the smartboard and projector this has allowed presentations to become more accessible in classrooms.

The second component of motivation under MUSIC is whether information is useful in future goals or career prospects. Simons et al., (2004) found when goals are more distant in the future the students create long-term behavioural plans to obtain these goals. These long-term behavioural plans increase motivation (Jones, 2009). 

According to (Jones, 2009) two things must be done to schools in the future. Firstly children should be able to choose which subjects they want to study from an early age and secondly, career options classes should be available by children at an early age. An Internet poll (Should children be allowed to decide the subjects taught in schools?, n.d.) 75% of unknown voters said yes when asked the question “should children be allowed to decide the subject taught in school”. There are many great websites, which help young people plan out what jobs they wish to get into in the future, (Careers advice, 2012). However the main change must the school system itself.

According to Jones (2009) success is based on your self-perceptions of competence. Self-perception of competence is the belief a person has his or her own abilities. The centre to many motivation theories has been the Self-perceptions of competence (Jones, 2009). Self-perception of competence is the belief you have in your own abilities. According to Jones (2009) there are many theories behind motivation but the “conceptual core of the achievement motivation literature” (Elliot & Dweck, 2005b, p. 5).

For teachers to coordinate success in a 21st century is to make sure that all instructions by teachers should be clear and understandable. If children cannot understand the instructions they are less likely to understand what they are working on. Thus this could increase the difficulty of work done by students, causing the student to become anxious. According to Jones (2009) this is an example of flow theory. (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) Flow theory is for optimum performance all work should be at the same difficulty level as the student current level otherwise they feel bored or anxious. Using the current testing systems such as GCSE’s, it is very hard to make sure that everyone has work. This is because everyone sits the same exam (Bremner (2008). To solve this teachers may have to help not only struggling students but also make sure excelling students are given harder/ more work. Innovations in technology are a useful tool in averting this problem. This is due to the amount of recourses that can be found on the internet. In these recourses are techniques and assignments to help children at each end of the spectrum.

Interest is to make sure a class is motivational the lesson should be interesting (Jones, 2009). According to Schraw & Lehman (2001) there are two types of interest: situational and personal interest. Situational interest is when a unique characteristic has an appealing effect on students, during an interaction with the task for a short amount of time (Chen and Darst, 2001). Personal interest is enduring personal interest in a topic specific (Schraw & Lehman, 2001). Both technology, through power point presentations using smart board and traditional methods of teaching such as field trips are key in emerging the children into education allowing them to become situational interested. Technology is not essential in creating an interesting lesson, traditional can be just as engaging.

As Jones (2009) said caring shouldn’t mean that teachers should be friends with their students however that they should care about what the children are learning and the student’s education in general. This is where the 21st century classroom may have a negative factor. According to disadvantages of Online Learning (2011) eLearning has decreased the amount of social interaction the children have. Caring is needed to keep children motivated thus technology cannot be completely over hall the original classroom. Technology should be a backbone to teaching, which teachers can use to support the other stages of MUSIC.

Therefore, MUSIC is an example of a forgotten theory, which should be implemented into the 21st century classroom. Hopefully, a transition can occur due to the introduction of technology. Technology could make it easier for teachers, following the guidelines of MUSIC, to create more autonomously motivated pupils.

Zarama, M. (n.d.). What does boulevard of broken dreams mean? In Retrieved October 22, 2013, from

Jones, B. D. (2009). Motivating students to engage in learning: The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education21(2), 272-285.

Ryan, R. M., & La Guardia, J. (1999). Achievement motivation within a pressured society: Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to learn and the politics of school reform. In T. Urdan (Ed.), Advances in motivation and achievement, volume II (pp. 45-85). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Reeve, J. (1996). Motivating others: Nurturing inner motivational resources. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Roblyer, M. D. (1999). Is choice important in distance earning? A study of student motives for taking Internet-based courses at the high school and community college levels. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(1), 157.

Psuf10. (2013, October 11). How technology has changed the face of education [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Simons, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., & Lacante, M. (2004). Placing motivation and future time perspective theory in a temporal perspective. Educational Psychology Review, 16(2), 121-139.

Should children be allowed to decide the subjects taught in schools? (n.d.). In Retrieved October 23, 2013, from

Careers advice. (2012). In Retrieved October 23, 2013, from

Elliot, A. J., & Dweck, C. S. (2005b). Competence and motivation. In A. J. Elliot, & C. S. Dweck (Eds.), Handbook of competence and motivation (pp. 3-12). New York: Guilford.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Perennial.

Bremner, S. (2008). Some thoughts on teaching a mixed ability class. Scottish Languages Review, (18), 1-10.

Chen, A., & Darst, P. W. (2001). Situational interest in physical education: A function of learning task design. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72(2), 150-164.

Schraw, G., & Lehman, S. (2001). Situational interest: A review of the literature and directions for future research. Educational Psychology Review, 13(1), 23-52.

The Disadvantages of Online Learning. (2011). In Elearning-companion. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from

The use of neurofeedback in education in the future

In my previous two blogs I have looked at effect of technology on education. Briefly I covered the future of technology is in education and current trends. In this blog I am looking how neurofeedback can be used in an educational setting.

According to Hammond (2011) neurofeedback is the observation of brainwaves patters to regulate subjects to create optimum brain activity. To observe the brainwaves the researchers can use an Electroencephalography (EEG) or a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It is a form of operant conditioning, as it rewards desirable brainwave patterns and discourages undesirable brainwave patterns. This has many implications across the field of psychology, e.g. Stroke (Mihara et. al., 2013), epilepsy (Tan et. al., 2009), drug abuse patients (Arani et. al., 2010) and Although these are not related to education, neurofeedback operates by teaching the brain to control certain brainwaves. This could be applied in education research by observing brainwaves when they are encoding information and trying practicing replicate brainwaves patters when revising.

Different areas of education require different forms of memory (Memory and Information Processing, n.d.). In table 1 below, different types of memory, areas of the brain, brainwaves and an example in education are summarized. 

Types of memory are associated with different areas of the brain and different brainwaves. Because education is such a vast area, many different types of memory are involved. Thus for each type memory mentioned in the table there is an example related to education.  

Table 1. Different of memory and areas of the brain involved.

Type of memory

Areas of the brain


Examples in education

Working memory

Prefrontal cortex(1)

Alpha and Theta (5)

Problem solving in maths


Frontal and posterior association cortices, cerebellum (2)

Alpha (6)

Writing an essay in English lesson

Declarative Semantic  & Episodic memory

Temporal neocortex, parahippocampal cortices and the hippocampus (3)

o Semantic *  alpha band   (7)                         

o Episodic i) familiarity * Gama ii) Familiarity * Beta (8)

o semantic * dates in history exam                       o Episodic * how to plan an essay due to past marks


Cerebelum, Striatum (4)

Alpha (9)

Playing an instrument in music

Table 1. (1 taken from Wang & Hsieh (2013), 2 taken from Gruzelier (2009), 3 taken from taken form Keizer et. al. (2010) and Yonelinas et al. 2005, 4 taken from Ros et. al. (2013), 5 taken from Khader et. All (2010), 6 taken from Gruzelier (2009), 7 taken from Klimesch (1994), 8 taken from Burgess and Ali (2002), Gruber et al. (2008) and Sehatpour et al. (2008), and Zhuang et. al., (1997) 

Academic subjects, such as maths and science, use mainly declarative memory and working memory. According to Squire and Zola (1998) there are two types of declarative memory, episodic and semantic. Keizer et. al. (2010) stated that neurofeedback train the control over gamma waves would improved the recollection with episodic memories.  There seems to be limited amount of studies into the effects of neurofeedback on semantic encoding or recall. It would be interesting to see the results of such studies were executed and see how there findings could relate to education. Problem solving requires working memory. Problem solving is crucial to academic subjects. A study done by Wang & Hsieh (2013) showed when using neurofeedback, subjects were able to increase there working memory using nuerofeedback training.

Creativity is a very useful skill in school and according to Gruzelier (2009) creativity can be increased with neurofeedback. Nondecaritive memory is the basis of all motor skill memories (Squire, 1992). Every time people try remembering and performing a specific skill you are using non-declarative memory. A study by Ros et. al. (2013) who used neurofeedback straight after a Non-declarative (procedural) motor task found a decrease in time taken to learn motor task. The authors concluded that this technique could be exploited after a training session when learning a new non-declarative memory. 

Two very major aspects of learning are motivation and attention. According to a study by Cochrane (2010) after 3 sessions of neurofeedback training motivation was increased across subjects. This could be used in schools to help children become motivated in subjects they do not like. Attention is very hard to control because even if a lesson subject is interesting (Thorne and Thomas, n.d.) some children still will not get engage. A study done by Wang & Hsieh (2013) succeeded to increase the attention of school children using neruofeedback. Thus showing that there is evidence that this technology could be implemented into schools. 

Overall it seems neurofeedback has a function over many areas of education. Thus neurofeedback in education is an interesting prospect for the future, and I believe there should be more studies done to see of their impact in main steam education. 

How technology has changed the face of education?

Evolution has happened continuously throughout human history. In education a new evolutionary stage is occurring. The way of conversing information has developed over time from using chalkboards and pen and paper to smart boards and computers. This blog is observing the different types of technology on the market, today, which are advancing the teaching experience in primary and high school education. 

In this modern era 89% students have access to computers at school or at home (KewalRamani, Gilbertson and Fox, 2007). With the wide of information available from the internet; teachers a wide range of educational recourses available. Such recourses were previously restricted to books and writer recourses. There are many sites across the internet, where teachers are able to share and observe learning resources with their peers. According to Perrault (2007) these recourses are very useful to teachers because it allowed the transference of knowledge and material across peers. An example of a educational resource site is (Pitchford, 2013).  

The internet has another feature which has recently been popular, online homework diaries. An example of such a website allows both pupil and pupils parents the ability to access homework, check out websites and source material to help with the homework and allows parents to see if there child has completed the work. (The Homework Diary, 1997)

Due to software creation being user friendly, teachers create fun actives, which they can share with other teachers. An journal by Tannahill, Tissington & Senior (2012) concluded educational games keep kids help more engaged and thus they learn more efficiently. Teachers are creating not only educational games; sites like Anki (Elmes, n.d.) allow children to make their own flash cards. This software has cross platform compatibility, so these flash cards can be accessed on smart phones and tablets. This allows education to become multi-media unit and can be access at throughout a person’s life via technology.  

The internet has been made even more accessible in the class rooms due to interactive smart boards (Anderson-SmartBoard, 2013). These devices are changing the way people teach. Students do not have to copy notes due to physical copies saved on the teachers’ computers. This is leading to changes in how students are being taught in the classroom. Teachers by using smartboards encourage students engage more in presentation and have discussion.  (Preston & Mowbray, 2008).

A new trend that is being implanted into education some countries is e learning. E learning is includes many type of media including streaming video, audio and imagines. A case study of e learning is, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has started to structure its schools on the basic principles of e learning. In 2008 spend the king of Saudi Arabia spend 17.5 Billion pound to make sure a majority of Saudi classrooms were able to incorporate E-learning equipping such as hardware smart boards. According to a study done by Zhang (2004), this new style of learning has increased the amount encoding done during class then traditional methods.

However, being in such an early stage of development the properly execution of eLearning has yet to be understood. According to an article called The Disadvantages of Online Learning (2011) the disadvantages of eLearning are: lack of pubic speaking and student interaction due to the isolation of the computer. Thus Shen et al. (2013) stated a mix of eLeaning and traditional education could be used in teaching. This would allow the use of the multi media aspect of e learning and the social integration of a typical classroom, this is called blended learning. Shen et al. (2013) did a study and found a positive responce from students when being taught via blended learning..

In conclusion, we need to start incorporating more eLearning into schools. With so much technology at our discretion, we need to use it’s learning potential to its full extent. However we must still to allow class integration and socialisation, so students and not completely dependent on computers for integration.


The Homework Diary. (1997). In HDC. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from

Tannahill, N., Tissington, P., & Senior, C. (2012). Video games and higher education: what can “Call of Duty” teach our students?. Frontiers in Psychology3.

Elmes, D. (n.d.). Anki. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from

Preston, C., & Mowbray, L. (2008). Use of SMART Boards for teaching, learning and assessment in kindergarten science. Teaching Science, 54(2), 50-53.

Anderson-SmartBoard. (2013). Research Skills: Learning to Take Notes Using the Smart Board [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Pitchford, G. (2013, October 4). Primary Resources. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from

Perrault, M. (2007). An exploratory study of biology teachers’ online information seeking practices. School Library Media Research, 10. Retrieved October 10, 2013 from

The Disadvantages of Online Learning. (2011). In Elearning-companion. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from

Shen, Y. W., Reynolds, T. H., Bonk, C. J., & Brush, T. A. (2013). A Case Study of Applying Blended Learning in an Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate.Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange (JETDE)6(1).

Handwriting vs. Typing when taking notes

In 1977 the personal computer (PC) was invented, since then it has gained popularity. It has crossed almost all mediums such as education. It has become a useful tool in teaching and learning.  According to The U.S department of commerce, population survey of 2003(KewalRamani, Gilbertson, Fox, 2007) 89% of students use computers at school and 70% of students use a computer, in some degree, in their learning. Increasingly the computer is being implemented into schools for taking notes (CourseHero, 2011). This could lead to computers overtaking the traditional pen and notebook (CourseHero, 2011). In this blog, I will discuss whether students, should continue the traditional hand written form of notes, or move the more modern typed notes on a PC.

Comprising the evidence of sources Makany, Kemp & Dror (2009) & Effective Note-Taking (Effective Note-Taking, n.d.), the most important features of note taking are: student engagement, organization of notes, accuracy, speed and memorability of the notes.

With the broad expanse of the internet accessibility, it is our own discretion, when using a computer, to stay on task. D’Agostino (2010) stated it is harder to stay engaged on a task, when using a computer because of the distractions e.g. Facebook. However an experiment done by Hertogs (2013) found that when the subjects did notes, most notes had doodles. So it seems that both handwriting and computers can have areas of distraction. W

Neatness, organisation and reorganisation of notes are easier on a personal computer than when they are hand written (Hertogs, 2013). According to the University of Oxford Effective Note-Taking Guide (n.d) the ability to keep clear notes increases the ability for students to retain knowledge. When notes are hand written notes it is easier and faster to create mind maps, self-notes and etc. than on a computer. According to Makany, Kemp & Dror (2009) such educational tools are useful to create clear and concise notes. Computers may be slower in creating such educational tools; but new programs such as the mind mapping software, e.g. inspiration 8 (Hara, 2009), is allowing for these tools to be more accessible to note takers.

Research from (Longcamp, et al., 2008) states that handwritten notes cause activation in both the Broca’s area and the bilateral inferior parietal lobules of the brain. These areas of the brain are not activated when typing notes on a PC (Longcamp, et al., 2008). According to Wade (2013) “execution, imagery and observation of actions” (p. 1) are being involved simultaneously when notes are hand written. Hand written may increase memorisation because of the neural connection between: the word being imagining word, remembering letter sequence for word, and the act of writing it down.

Taking all of the above into consideration, both handwritten notes and typed notes have their advantages and disadvantages. The major problem with the handwriting of people is its legibility and storage. The major problems is typed notes it is passive a passive process so when trying to recall the information it is more difficult. An alternative could be Digital pen, which would allow the input of handwritten notes onto the computer.

1)     KewalRamani, A ., Gilbertson, L ., Fox, M. (2007). Status and trends in the education of racial and ethnic minorities. DIANE Publishing.

2)    CourseHero. (2011, October 19). INFOGRAPHIC: Write it down [Web log post]. Retrieved from

3)    Makany, T., Kemp, J., & Dror, I. E. (2009). Optimising the use of note‐taking as an external cognitive aid for increasing learning. British Journal of Educational Technology40(4), 619-635

4)    Effective Note-Taking. (n.d.). In Learning. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from Univesity of Oxford website:

5)    Fuchs, T., & Woessmann, L. (2004). Computers and student learning : bivariate and multivariate evidence on the availability and use of computers at home and at school. Econstor. Retrieved from

6)     D’Agostino, S. (2010). Facebook and Texting vs. Textbooks and Faces. Math Horizons, 18(1), 34. doi:10.4169/194762110X525548

7)    Hertogs, M. (2013). “Typing vs. HandwriAn Evaluation of the Effect of Transcription Method on Student Learning. Xchanges. Retrieved from       

8)    Hara, B. (2009, October 16). Mindmapping Software Programs [Web log post]. Retrieved from

9)    Longcamp, M., Boucard, C., Gilhodes, J., Anton, J., Roth, M., Nazarian, B., & Velay, J. (2008). Learning through Hand- or Typewriting Influences Visual Recognition of New Graphic Shapes: Behavioral and Functional Imaging Evidence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(5), 802-815. doi:10.1162/jocn.2008.20504

10) Wade, P. (2013, April 4). Do Students Learn Better by Typing on a Keyboard or Writing with a Pen? [Web log post]. Retrieved from