Sunday, 29 January 2012

Assignment 2, The Sight of Sound #edtechcca2

For this assignment, combine audio effects into a soundscape to represent a place or an event. This assignment may not be suitable for all educational areas, so please feel free to create a soundscape for a scene from a favourite book or a poem, or come up with another idea.

I'm really excited about this task. I've done very little with sound before with regards to creating my own sounds. I've done bits of editing using Audacity in the past and editing sound with film in Final Cut , but never creating my own sounds or using royalty free sounds to build my own track.

So I'm going to have a play in Aviary and put together a piece of audio that I can use with my AS Media students. Their exam in the summer asks them to analyse representations within TV Drama, and sound is a key area that they must identify and explain its purpose. My aim is to create a short track to use as a "guess the plot" or "guess the genre" activity to get them thinking about the importance of sound, how it helps audiences understand characters and narrative, and how sound plays a key role in encouraging an emotive response from audiences.

The importance of sound  - my favourite examples. 

Psycho, 1960

Unfortunately I can't embed the famous shower scene from Hitchcock's Psycho, but please follow the link. This is a fantastic example of the way in which sound can be so powerful. Watch the clip to hear the difference made when you only hear the diegetic sounds during this scene. Amazing.

Layer Cake, 2004
Again, unable to embed this clip (thanks EMI) but the way sound is used here is so realistic. I like Matthew Vaughn and this scene from Layer Cake is one of my favourites in film. It's quite brutal and difficult to watch, but without doubt its the mix of sounds that make it so hard hitting: realistic sounds effects, little dialogue and a fabulous choice of soundtrack.

TV advert for Skoda Superb

This is just incredible! I love how music can be created from absolutely any sound you hear. Highly creative and effective. Brilliant.

Making my soundscape

Thanks to the guidance on sites for sounds from Edtech CC, I've used Sound Bible and Freesound to obtain the tracks and effects for my soundscape.

I intend to use it with my AS Media students as I planned. Their task would be simply to list the different sounds they hear and identify where we are and what's going on. Have a go yourself!

Sounds I have used in creating my soundscape:

Sound Bible:

"Background Noise" Caroline Ford
"Dialling Phone number" Mike Koenig
"city ambiance sound" lezer

Free Sound:

"Running hard surface"bevangoldswain
"Voice from hell" amliebsch
"Heavy gasping air" "fast running breath" Robinhood76
"dialling tone" "why" acclivity
"please hang up" "the number you have dialled has not been recognised" Benboncan
"car door slam" sdfalk
"crunchy leaves" "inhale" otherthings
"door close squeak" skyumori
"phone receiver" Percy Duke
"bass range hits" adcbicycle

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Assignment 1 – Signs & Symbols – #edtechcca1

Make two signs or symbols using a graphics tool of your choice. The first sign should be for your own department or course, the second sign should be for another educational department or course. Use only pictures, no words. Use only simple abstracted shapes, no photographs.

So... I've spent some time thinking lots about signs and symbols ready to complete this task. I wanted to create something to represent A Level Media Studies.

Some little things running through my head.
I wanted to get across the idea, not just of creativity, but the importance of questioning the media. The more I thought about this task, the more I felt like I was a student, and the more I thought about it the more panicked I became about the impending deadline! One thing I become very proud of my students for in Media Studies is their ability to become much more active audiences, questioning the media's portrayal of events and people. So, after a few (more) hours working out Illustrator I came up with this:

So... another subject. What could I do. I chose an area that I know least about, but am mystified and amazed by it nonetheless. Can you guess???

A fantastic task, very thought provoking and a chance to build upon my new skills in Illustrator.  Ooooh quick the next one is up!!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Introduction #edtechccp1

Start as you mean to go on....

So I'm late in posting this, and I didn't want to be. And I told myself that I wouldn't and I have. This is the last time I will do anything late for the Educational Technology Creative Collective. I promise.

About me...

Funnily enough, one of the reasons this is late is because I have been "playing". Helen Morgan, the course leader for the Creative Media BTEC I teach on has got me into lots of creativey stuff. So yesterday, for the first time ever, I got my head around Illustrator. Check out my strawberry...

Having spent five years at a high school, I am now in my third year at Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College teaching A Level Media and BTEC Interactive Media. It has been the move to here that has got me thinking much more about bringing technology into the classroom. Studying journalism at university, there were few technical things I had to get my head around....
...Then I found Final Cut.... and then Photoshop... and I'm now on Dreamweaver and Illustrator. And I love it! But most importantly, so do my students.

I also bought my first Mac. And I love it. But not as much as I love my dog. Well, nearly.

Why am I doing this...

I stumbled across Sir Ken Robinson a couple of years ago discussing creativity in education and remember feeling completely blown away by his words. Amazing, I thought. This man has eloquently and, at times, quite comically communicated everything I believe. It worries me that young people may not have the opportunities to share their talent, that creative subjects are considered by some as less important, and that young people are frightened of getting things wrong and therefore won't even try to be creative:

"...Creativity now is as important in education as literacy."
"If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original"
Sir Ken Robinson

So... here goes. I am off to think about my first assignment. Oh, and to re-familiarise myself with Twitter!