Teaching about sound in the classroom used to involve lots of fiddly bits of kit such as Signal Generators and Decibel Meters that would cost a lot of money and only get wheeled out once a year.
Thankfully if you have an iPhone or iPad you can replace quite a bit of that kit with a couple of handy apps which are either free or relatively inexpensive.
Here’s a couple to get you started:
This is an iPhone app, but works just as well on an iPad. It can be used to generate different frequency notes. Use it to demonstrate to a class how the pitch of a sound changes as the frequency changes. It’s very good for looking into hearing range as you can generate a high enough frequency to become inaudible to the human ear.
Try and find the frequency where you as the teacher cannot hear the sound any more but the students still can!
Optional in-app purchases give more functionality such as a Pink Noise creator.
Like the Signal Generator app, this test tone generator produces sounds from 20Hz to 20Khz. It can be used in the same way for hearing tests and sound demonstrations.
SPL meter provides a very useful decibel meter which can be used in class to measure how loud different sounds are. Take it around the school to measure the loudest and quietest places – or take it outside to measure noise pollution.
Like SQL Meter, Decibel 10th turns your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch into a professional sound meter, precisely measures the sound level all around you. It also shows a graph of the sound level over time.
OScope turns your iPad or iPhone into a portable Oscilloscope. It uses the iPad microphone and plots a graph of the sound wave on the screen. Use it on the iPad alongside an iPhone playing one of the signal generator apps to show how the graph will change with increased/decreased pitch or volume.
Got any other good apps that you use for teaching about sound? Please share them in the comments.Read More
The virtual keyboard is a fun on-screen music keyboard that lets you play music on your computer. You can either tap the keys on your Interactive Whiteboard, use the mouse, or just press the keys on your computer keyboard (using the A to @ keys, and the row above).
You can choose from several different musical instrument sounds from piano to organ to guitar and even steel drums.
It’s fun, and even better, it’s free.
Thanks to Tim Rylands for the link.Read More
One of the talks I gave at the Teacher2Teacher conference was on finding useful digital content to use on your Interactive Whiteboard. There’s more to the Internet than YouTube and Google Image search!
Although this presentation was delivered mainly to Smartboard users, and the original presentation produced in Smart Notebook format, the information is very useful to any IWB users. Or even teachers who have a projector and no board.
So I have uploaded the presentation to Slideshare if you would like to take a look.
All of the links from the session can be found here : http://delicious.com/dannynic/t2t. The links in the presentation don’t work I’m afraid…. long story.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that if you now do a Google Image search you can click on Advanced Search to bring up more options. You can then specify what Usage Rights you want – so basically searching for Creative Commons images.
I also like the fact that in the basic Google Image Search you can now also specify the colour of the image you want. So you can narrow down your search for a Flower to yellow flowers, or red flowers. Don’t just search for Elephant – look for Pink Elephants!
Try it out, it’s very cool. Click on the coloured boxes to the left of your image search to change colour.Read More
Here’s a fun little website for a Sunday morning. Incredibox allows you to create music using what is best described as a virtual human beatbox. You have to really try it to get the idea. Very simple to use, just drag the different sound icons onto each person to play each loop. Easy to use on an Interactive Whiteboard.
Thanks to Keisa Williams for sharing the link on Twitter.Read More
Here‘s a nice simple resource that could be used to teach Sound and Waves in Science. There are several sites that show oscilloscope traces when looking at sounds, and this is another one. It’s produced by Aartpack, and they call it a Digital Theramin – named after the staple musical instrument of 50s sci fi movies (wikipedia info)
What I like about this one is its simplicity. Plus it would work well on an interactive whiteboard to show how the shape of the sound “wave” changes as the pitch and volume changes.
Click the Menu button to show the options, and set it so that the Sine Waveform is set to a value, and the other 3 are turned off (no scale), like this:
Then if you click anywhere on the screen, a sine wave will be drawn and a note will be played (turn up your speakers!)
If you drag your finger/pen to the right the note will get higher and the waves will get closer together. Likewise drag your finger/pen to the left and the pitch will get lower.
If you drag up the screen the note will get louder, drag it down the screen and the note will get quieter. The amplitude of the sine wave will reduce.
This would be very nice to demonstrate sound waves at KS2 or Ks3.
The only drawback is that there is no way to set it up so it works without having to touch the board. I’d like to have seen a mode where you could place a button on the screen, and move that button up/down left/right to change the note. That way you could let go of the board to address the class and keep the note playing/displayed. I’m pleased to see it will resize to full-screen so you can make the resource fit the entire whiteboard.
There are more complicated settings that you can play with if you want to do some more advanced stuff, but the sine wave feature alone makes it a very handy bookmark to have for your Sound lesson! You can access the digital theramin/oscilloscope here.
There are other interactive resources on the Aartpack website too. It’s worth looking around the whole site to see what they have for your subject.Read More