Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Creativity Lies in Content Creation

Yesterday's #edchat topic focused on creativity in the classroom.  Allowing students to create content not only fosters creativity, but also makes learning engaging and meaningful.  Recently Joe Andolino (Applied Music Theory teacher at New Milford High School) and his class hit upon a subject that every teen is interested in: cellphones. In previous classes the students created their own original music tracks. Building upon this experience they wanted to have ownership of something that is in their everyday lives. Mr. Andolino devised an innovative a way to connect with sound on a portable level by challenging the student to apply what they had learned in class to create an authentic ringtone using Mac Books and web 2.0 applications.

In creating a custom ringtone a few parameters should be kept in mind. Mr. Andolino highly recommends creating something that is not too long or that has an elaborate, busy musical arrangemement. It should be identifable and catchy. Due to the mono nature of most cellphones, a clear simple track should be produced so that the sound projects. Students also needed to consider looping the song piece so it repeated for up to 30 seconds. If one desires you could even add your own voice!  Several audio techniques can be used to develop the tone. Transfering the tone to the phone can have some variables depending on the phones capabilities. Specifically, iPhone and iPods are great and most phones accept Mp3 files.  Check out two student ringtones created by Gerwin Marca and Brian Drew that were eventually uploaded to their personal cellphones.  Brian actually came to my office with Mr. Andolino yesterday to share the ringtone with me that he had created.  If you could only have seen the joy and pride on his face!  Now this is what learning is all about and the reason why we decided to pursue a career in education!

Give teachers the tools, freedom, and support to be innovative and they will develop learning activities that allow students to demonstrate mastery of concepts in a creative fashion.  Thank you to Joe Andolino for not only sharing this activity with me, but also supplying the technical information behind creating a ringtone.  

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