Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Music students create mobile phone ring tones

Worth some acknowledgement - gutsy stuff to run with this idea and make it work.

Our music teacher has used mobile phone ring tones to teach design and music principles. Students in her class created ring tones using the midi file format, uploaded them to her new phone and then she was able to transfer them to student phones where they had infrared or bluetooth connectivity. She has requested that these compositions be placed onto out school magazine cd. I got to listen to one of the tones created - impressive. Impressive because it did the job but also I could hear that the student had been thoughtful in the design of the product. She reported that students found the task particularly engaging. I'll be getting to hear the others soon.
Recent phones are very tolerant re file types. Kids are spending big money on purchasing ring tones. Students could create some very tiny files using midi right through to the full vocals etc of mp3 and use these for ring tones. I am thinking of kids being original in their creations although reality is that most of this will be rip mix burn - an I think that this is OK, it is being creative with the arrangement. This could be an interesting exercise because storage is premium on most phones and so there is a need to plan and think. There is also some thinking that needs to go into what might make a good ring tone. Should it start off a bit quieter or just launch into a full volume tone? What are the couple of bars that really matter? How long does a phone ring? How long do I want an SMS alert to go for? Can I create a number of different tones for different profiles so that I can cater for various scenarios? How many sounds will a polyphonic phone play at one time (no point in creating more sounds than the phone will cater for)? So a good design component for a task like this I reckon. Pretty much any of the sound editing tools will do to achieve this - audacity, midi tools and the like. Many, many free ones.

The only real expense might be to purchase a usb cable for a nokia phone so that tones can be uploaded. If a student has a different make of phone then upload to the nokia and then infrared to the other phone.

It could also be good opportunity to talk about issues like copyright. Pros and cons. Creative Commons.
PS – Her phone was not a Nokia.


  • At 10:46 pm, Blogger Bill Kerr said…

    hi wara,

    Great use of mobile phones in education, surely the way of the future

    I found a couple of articles about this at Marc Prensky's site
    and at future lab


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