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A collaborative exploration of the senses.  Deaf students use film and animation techniques to broaden their understanding of sound. This chapter offers a range of cross curriculum activities with a difference. Before we begin, I have a question for you... ...Can you see sound?

Text of Can you see sound?


Can You See Sound?


Adventures in Film and Animation

Darryl BedfordAbout the Author

Darryl Bedford is an Apple Distinguished Educator and an Advanced Skills Teacher working in central London. He is an Art teacher at Oak Lodge School for Deaf Children and works closely with several local mainstream schools. He works across all key stages, providing advice, support and training focused on future technologies in the classroom. He has extensive knowledge and experience of creative cross-curricular project work featuring Apple technology. Darryl utilises video, animation, portable devices and Internet technologies to encourage collaborative learning and cross-curricular links.



A collaborative exploration of the senses. Deaf students use film and animation techniques to broaden their understanding of sound.This chapter offers a range of cross curriculum activities with a difference.

Before we begin, I have a question for you...

...Can you see sound?

Visualizing Sound - Adventures in Film and Animation

Big questions are fun... don't you think?

I teach deaf and language impaired children in central London. My role in recent years has enabled me to work with neighbouring mainstream schools. This has allowed me to reach out to many different audiences and develop approaches that cater for all key stages (5-19 years). My story will hopefully inspire you to try some of the suggested activities, adapting them to your own curriculum.

Almost any theme or concept can be animated. Your students can demonstrate their understanding of subject matter by transforming concepts into new forms.This process highlights Blooms higher order thinking skills. Creation being the highest order, involving a transformation of knowledge in order to communicate understanding through a new medium.

Collaborative learning is not a new concept. Throughout time, mans collaborative

efforts have lead to an acceleration of the creative process resulting in surprising outcomes.

Collaborative working practices are well established within the workplace and employers look for evidence of communication, group work and problem solving.

Student centered, collaborative learning allows for freedom of enquiry and draws on student strengths and interests, equipping them with the skills for future employment. Similar to the Challenge Based Learning approach, a main question or theme commences the process and students respond creatively to the stimulus, developing skills of problem solving and group work along the way.

An educational revolution is underway; recognising the need to nurture flexible, creative minds. If we as educators can instill in our students a love for learning and a fervor for enquiry they will then have the tools to embrace change and to succeed.


Collaborative Learning

Often students are required to work independently. Powerful learning, however, is social.

Many modern educationalists have studied this phenomenon.

Professor Sugata Mitra, (Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, England) provides strong evidence of the benefits of learning in a social context. I highlight his studies because he is specifically interested in technology and how it can encourage productive interaction in the classroom. His hole in the wall project focused on children developing and sharing skills independently. His work is centred on classrooms in which students work with one computer between four pupils; researching, developing and presenting conceptual understandings in groups. In this model, the teacher becomes a facilitator; checking, directing and refining skills and content.

Education is a self-organising system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon.Professor Sugata Mitra

Tara Bell, Head of Curriculum Design at Oak Lodge School has developed an enquiry

based curriculum aimed at year 7 and 8 students (11-13 Years). The Curious Minds curriculum draws on modern pedagogy, intertwining personal learning and thinking skills with language development. One day a week, the timetable is collapsed for staff and student to focus on thematic enquiry. This involves three phases; enquiry, design and perform. Teachers form many different curriculum areas work together to plan and deliver student centered learning activities. Students have an active role in guiding their learning pathways and in reaching a shared outcome.

Experiential learning helps our students build a better understanding of their world.

The freedom to enquire and develop knowledge and skills has had huge learning gains. Technology plays an integral role within this process. The freedom to explore ideas has resulted in many innovative projects.

'Innovation is the fuel that drives the global economy and it must be fostered in our nation's schools'.'School of tomorrow


Learning is Social

Inquisitive Minds

South London schools came together to create, animate, edit and express.

This project was a collaborative effort, in the vein of Project Based Learning, to address a real world challenge. The main participants were four neighbouring schools. Read about these projects in the slider to the left.

This chapter will focus on contributions from Oak Lodge School for Deaf Children.

6Drag to read more about this project!

Creative Balham

Oak Lodge School for Deaf Children

A small group of year 7 and 8 (11-13 years) students

participating in a collaborative project based

curriculum entitled Inquisitive Minds.

Creative Balham

Oak Lodge School students were asked to explore their understanding of sound and document the process for several neighbouring mainstream schools, whom

would later participate in similar enquiry.

If students have a clear understanding of the purpose for their efforts then engagement is dramatically improved.

My story focusses on a collective exploration of knowledge and experience. Technology and modern teaching methods drive the process. This chapter can be viewed on several levels. Primarily as an example of how technology can impact on the teaching and learning process, as a study of the collaborative process or as a collection of engaging film and animation activities.

Technology opens doors to new creative ways of working!




This project features activities where 4 to 5 students share one iPad, engaging in transformative classroom activities. Professor Sugata Mitra would be proud!

The beauty of Apple technology is its ease of setup and intuitive use; paving the way for truly engaging, transformative learning activities.


Animation is social by nature. Rarely do animators work alone as the process can be time consuming. Many hands not only make light work, but drive the creative process. I believe the group dynamic created during this activity is the reason for my fascination with animation within the classroom.

Animation is also a lot of fun!


Apple Products


My aim is not to create tutorials for specific apps, but to focus on process. Many of my apps belong to a genre and I aim to highlight the features to look out for.


The power of the iPad lies in its simplicity and portability. The aim is to maximise workflow in order to capture, composite, edit and share amazing content. Never before has it been so easy to produce quality images, video, audio and animation on the go.


Apps are constantly improving- new apps are harnessing the power of Apples portable devices multi-media inputs with simple, intuitive interfaces. Thus making creative story telling an intuitive process.



For over 10 years now, animation has been relatively simple task, thanks to portable laptops and user-friendly software. The iPad further simplifies this process. When technology rarely interrupts the creative process, you know youre on a winner!

Additional Technology

Tripod, Monopod, Movie Mount, Microphone, Light.



VideatorPhoto Booth



Students and teachers united to explore alternative ways of experiencing sound and music. This section outlines some of our discoveries, leading to a broad range of cross curriculum activities.

Can you see sound?Are there some processes that complement our auditory perception?

What other senses are in play?

If we are to focus on these senses, are we able to develop a new relationship to sound?

That would be a truly transformative outcome!

How do we experience sound?

We use our senses to read our environment. Its commonly thought, the loss of one sense heightens other senses. This is clearly evident when considering blind people and touch.



We experience sound through vibration. This is picked up in hollow spaces within our body. Nick Cattermole

Nick Cattermole, a professional musician and instrument maker worked with my students, broadening their understanding of sound, vibration and alternative ways of perceiving sound.



Experiencing vibration through their feet.Oak Lodge students discover vibration with help from Michael Ormiston and a Tibetan singing bowl.

In the past deaf students were disapplied from formal

music lessons. However modern pedagogy espousing the importance of providing students with a whole education has reversed this opinion.

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