Student learning. Adult learning. These are two things that I have been thinking about in regards to available AUDIO RESOURCES. How can we use them to enhance our own learning? These new technologies and innovations provide meaningful learning experiences for all. I believe there are always opportunities for us to capitalize when integrating technology into the classroom.
The use of audio in the classroom enriches the imaginative capacity of students. This ability to form mental images of abstract objects and events allows all of our other senses to assist our thoughts in connecting to a particular learning experience. It requires students to be able to discriminate between the audio stimuli, employ aural decoding skills and generate meaning of the specific message.
There are a wide array of audio materials for teachers to use. Here are a number of online resources that, when effective integrated, can contribute to the development of listening and interpretation skills.
- This free software records and edits sounds. Instructions on How to use Audacity can be found or if you would like here is a video tutorial.
- Mini stories or student journaling can be recorded. These can then be linked to a class website, blog or wiki to showcase student learning or develop a theme being studied in class.
- Using a radio drama from 60 years ago in Language Arts class. They motivate students to write, read, listen, speak and collaborate more effectively. Some can be found for free on iTunes and the other places online where one can purchase a kit containing the radio program and class materials. Check out Raven Radio Theater for middle years students.
- Drama teachers can record the audio of their play and make it available to the actors so they can practice their parts without having to have the whole cast available.
- Have students rewrite and record newer lyrics to a famous song that fits with the content they are studying.
- Using Music in the Science Classroom by Caroline has a phenomenal amount of ways that you can use music to introduce a concept, to link to a theme, to review lessons already studied. Well worth the time to read!!
- An online music jukebox allows you to have specific playlists saved on a wiki, blog or website.
- Grooveshark is a free internet radio station where you can set up playlists that can then be embedded into a wiki, blog or website for you to use. For instance, a teacher can set up a Classical Math playlist which I can easily be played while students are working on various math word problems. Grooveshark has a variety of music styles, composers and artists.
- Check out Eric Whitacre’s Virtual choir “Lux Aurumque”. Have students first listen to the music, then show them the YouTube video. How could they collaborate to make themselves into a virtual choir to possibly present at the next school assembly?
- Clean up the Classroom can be made much more fun with music such as the Indian Jones Movie Theme. (YouTube has a great orchestra version.) If you want to spend some money, http://www.songsforteaching.com/transitions.htm has a variety of original songs and has core content songs as well.
- Play scenes of atmospheric music which establishes a certain mood or scene in a story. Have students reflect on how to describe a particular atmosphere (scary, sad, excited).
- Studying a figure from history? What music would he/she like to listen to? Would Napoleon Bonaparte be a closet rapper? How about John A. MacDonald? Justification of songs chosen is important to the discussion. What criteria are you using when choosing the songs for that historical figure?
- Noteflight is a free online music writing application that lets students compose, view, print and hear music.
- With PowerPoint 2010, you can record a narration of your lesson. This is especially great when you have a substitute teacher in your class or for students to review concepts studied or even for parents to understand while assisting their children in their learning. Check out Mike’s “how-to” video on this topic.
- This is a great way to host your audio for students to review concepts, be introduced to a particular theme or even record the weekly class newsletter. Using Audacity and then uploading to a site like Podomatic is a great way to have a place to host all the audio in one area.
- Online recordings of poetry can be powerful. http://www.poetscoop.org/ and http://librivox.org/ are two great audio sources.
- SmartBoard sound clips are easily incorporated into lessons to make learning fun and memorable. For example, Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon can be made much more authentic to students if you add in the howling wolves, steps in snow, and train sounds. Some free sound sites are: http://soundbible.com/, http://www.stonewashed.net/sfx.html, http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/soundfx/Weather.shtml, http://freesoundfiles.tintagel.net/Audio/, http://www.a1freesoundeffects.com/, and http://simplythebest.net/sounds/WAV/sound_effects_WAV/index.html.
- Download famous historical speeches to use as a starting point to classroom discussions.
- Interactive timers are an easy and quick way to countdown an activity. Some even come with a soundtrack attached such as http://classtools.net/education-games-php/timer/.
Above all, enjoy your time with sound. I am sure your students will thank you for it! (And they may even have a few suggestions!)