Listening to Learn

Listening to Learn

*Note: this post should be considered differently for those students with hearing difficulties.  For those students, other constraints may be used to increase the complexity of the learning and I would love to have a conversation around what that might look like.

What if there was a constraint placed on learning that increased the complexity of the experience?  What if that constraint was that students could only hear to access content before they began to build understanding?

Options for these learning experiences include: Animal Sounds in GarageBand (for a lesson in science), Library of Congress: Audio Recordings (for a lesson in History), or The Sounds of Numbers (for a lesson in math).

What does a concept sound like?  How might you bring in the sound of a topic to break that 4th wall in your classroom?  I encourage you to press record using voice memos or any other app to capture sound and bring that into your classroom.  Notice how the need to describe, illustrate, and imagine ideas suddenly increases when the constraint of sound is introduced.

Learning should be specified to the “profound level,” that is, students are able to apply their learning to new situations, to synthesize, solve problems, create knowledge, and cultivate and utilize the full range of their capabilities.


Creating Audio to Demonstrate Understanding

What if there was a constraint placed on the demonstration of learning that increased the complexity of the experience?  What if that constraint was that the students could only create audio fields to express understanding?

Ask your students to use only sound to demonstrate understanding.  They could speak and create a travelogue or audio journal of their thoughts.  They could make music to reflect a math concept or historical event.  They could draft an interview to provide perspective on an idea.

As they create audio, students can access authentic resources to build their products, such as NASA sounds from historic spaceflights and current missions.

The possibilities are truly limitless.


How might you support your students to use critical thinking to dive deeper into a concept or demonstrate understanding while constrained by using only sounds?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s