Here is proof that a simple idea can go a long way. Over the past school year, Lysiane Dallaire has been exploring sound with students in grades 2e in a high school enriched English class. It all started with listening to The Digital Plan podcast.
In episode 9 of Digital Plan podcastAlexandra Coutlée and Dany Dumont interview Bruno Guglielminetti, himself a podcast producer and lecturer in audio and podcast production at the Université du Québec à Montréal. During the interview, Mr. Guglielminetti talks about a project he has his students do: produce a sound sequence to bring to life an atmosphere without words. It's a way to become aware of the sounds around us that we don't always take the time to listen to.
During the school year, Lysiane Dallaire, ICT pedagogical advisor at the Centre de services scolaires de la Rivière-du-Nord, is called upon to teach an enriched English class of 2e high school. She doesn't know this level well, but she figures that as long as she's going back into the classroom with students, she'll come up with a project that has the potential to engage them... and her at the same time!
She then uses the example of the project mentioned by Mr. Guglielminetti to build a real learning sequence. The students begin by exploring the profession of noise maker (foley artist in English), learn about ways to make sounds, discover how sounds can be created and added to films.
Record your morning routine
Ms. Dallaire then plays a sound clip she created for them. They have to guess each sound. In fact, she recorded her morning routine in sound only. This is the starting point for the creative project that the students will do: they will create a character and play her morning routine in words and sounds so that the listener will be able to characterize the character.
The sequence had to be between one and three minutes long and contain at least ten sounds. To complete the sequence, students had to use the online software sound trap which offers a connector with Google and a free version (but beware, the educational version is not free). They could draw from the software's royalty-free sound bank or create their own sounds and import them. The students finally shared their creation with their classmates.
Among the challenges Dallaire notes were the difficulty of finding a quiet place to record in the school where she was, as well as the availability of headphones with microphones for the students. In addition, students were very self-conscious about having their creations heard by their peers, she says. So she allowed those who were uncomfortable to leave the classroom while listening.
Nevertheless, she was pleasantly surprised by the youth's productions. "They were motivated by the project and committed to the task. Some of them spent a lot of time on it, outside of class time. Personally, I felt comfortable because I was familiar with the technology used," says Dallaire. She has some advice for teachers who want to experience this type of digital project with their students: "Either you know the technology well, it makes you feel secure and you can accompany your students, or you know your students well and you rely on them to help you.
Ms. Dallaire enjoyed this learning situation with the students so much that she is in the process of improving it and writing an official version that will soon be included in a textbook for teaching English as a second language in Quebec.
Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
1- Act as an ethical citizen in the digital age
7- Producing digital content
12- Innovate and be creative with digital technology
To see the Framework.