ECT 300 EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: Can you examine the use of audio production in micro(peer)-teaching?

CHAPTER 9

DISTANCE EDUCATION

9e ii). Examine the use of audio production in micro(peer)-teaching

MEDIA PRACTICALS TOPIC: AUDIO PRODUCTION

The process of producing audio recording can be discussed under three major stages:

  1. planning
  2. script writing
  3. presentation/recording

Planning

The planning selection of topics to make up the series. a series of topics for a particular class is made of topic’s enough to cover a year. In some countries, a series is made up of 24 audio lesson topics namely eight per term. the selection is guided by the specific functions of the medium as well as the needs of the subject or course. we must bear in mind the weaknesses and strengths of the audio/television medium was we select these topics. We must also give priority to topics that are not well covered in the class textbooks as these are the topics that actually need the audio support. the need arises due to scarcity of instructional materials and the nature of the content. audio recordings can for example be useful in the teaching of music where the class teacher cannot demonstrate some of the tunes in the classroom or in the teaching of literature where different scholars give different interpretations of the same novel throughout the selection the writer must consult with the subject specialist.

The next step ner this tatege is writing the programme outline for each topic. this outline is made up of six elements. the first element is the programme title which must be concise and precise. for example the titles “Coffee growing” and “Coffee growing in Kenya” are different since in the former, the programme cannot conine itself to coffee growing in one country only or region but must address itself to coffee growing globally. the next element is the specific objectives we wish to achieve through the programme. these will depend on the class level the programme is intended for. it is important in writing these objectives to cater for the different domains of educational objective. the objectives must be achievable in the time available for the programme. the objectives if well stated become very useful in content selection.

the third element of the programme outline in the content summary. there the writer must now list the main facts, ideas, skills and altitudes to be covered by the programme. this content must be arranged in a logical manner for easy audio lesson development. the content summary if well prepared at this stage helps a great deal in deciding on the reference materials, resource persons to be interviewed and the illustrative examples if any. once the content summary is in place it is then possible to decide on the fourth element of the outline namely form and structure. deciding on the form and structure involves choosing whether to use straight talk, illustrated talk, interview, panel discussion, documentary techniques, dramatization, or a mixture of the above (magazine). the writer can then concentrate on the fifth element of the outline namely developing support materials to accompany the recording.the materials should encourage active participation of the learners in the programme. the material must involve learners at three critical stages of the lesson.the learning activities make up the sixth element of the outline. these stages are activities before the listening, during the listening and after the listening. once the outline for the topics have been completed, it is advisable to discuss them with other subject specialists as to the validity and relevance of the proposed content.

The programme outline which comprises the topic, instructional objectives, content summary, support materials, and learning activities will be properly written out to make up the Teachers’ notes. the teachers’ notes is the document that will guide the classroom teacher on how to make effective use of the recording.

Scriptwriting

the art of scriptwriting involves laying on paper a stimulation of how people really speak. the key point to remember is that the audio channel is for the ear and not for the eye. the sentences must be short, consisting of familiar phrases since we rarely use long sentences in everyday speech. long rambling sentences must be broken down into shorter ones. the active quality of natural speech ensures that the scriptwriter captures the attention of the listener and conveys information. the best way to write an audio script would therefore be to put down word by word the way you would tell the story to a friend. the words must sound warm and personal to compensate for the loss of visual communication.

the writer should consider whether the content suggests more than one presenter, a need for music, indigenous sounds, sound effects or simply one voice commentary. a good educational broadcast lesson should be voiced by #radio teacher and at least two radio pupils besides other presenters. it is good to have more than one presenter to give the programme some “taste” but itc oems but it becomes confusing when the voices are too many. consideration should also be given to using sound effects at appropriate stages to give the programme a natural outlook for instance when the script is referring to an event taking place at dawn then the sounds of birds and other insects could bring in the time perspective. if the script is referring to an interview involving a poultry farmer, then during the interview sounds of hens and cocks should be heard in the background. the programme must open and close with a signature tune. this is a sound effect that identifies the programme series, it should where possible show some relation to the content or theme of the programme.

the following rules should be followed in script writing:-

  1. the script must convey the message in a logical manner. it should be made up of one’s thoughts arranged in a sequence to drive the listener to stay tuned.
  2. all the facts must be factual, i.e. accurate honest, current, truthful and sincere
  3. the script must be “mobile”, intent and relevant the environment. it must illustrative so the lister is mentally visualized.
  4. the scriptwriter must have a complete story in him.
  5. a good script must have a “hook” which is catchy, to catch the listener’s attention and sustain it throughout the listening session.
  6. the script must avoid overloading programme with lots of data would confuse the listener.

The script layout should be standard as this helps in ensuring that all those involved in the production understand its form and structure. an audio script should be made up of four distinct parts. The first part should be the introduction. here the radio teacher should welcome the listeners to the programme and connect ( be it to previous knowledge. the second part is the main body of the programme where the content should be delivered logically, punctuated with the pupil activities. the programme should allow for pauses to give pupils time to respond to questions and tasks. the third part of the script is the closing. Here the radio teacher with the assistance of the radio pupils summarize the main points of the lesson. if necessary the next topic can be stated and the pupils asked to collect necessary materials. a series of questions to direct the follow up can also be posed. finally, some programmes finish off by giving credit to participants namely the script writer, script editor, the presenters, the producer, the technician and the station.

it is important to remember that the script should be:

  • typed, double or treble spaced with margins of 1 ½ to 2 inches for easy reading
  • with pages numbered sequentially
  • with each page starting on a new sentence
  • reproduced on single sided non-flimsy paper
  • with enough copies for all those involved in the production (producer, presenters and technician)

materials to be recorded in the studio should be separated from pre-recorded materials (taped inserts for interviews, music and sound effects). identifying details should be given for all inserts including name of interviewee, title of music, description of sound effects, cue in (opening words or sounds) and cue out (closing words or sounds) and exact duration.

PICTURE DESCRIPTION OF A SAMPLE SCRIPT

The sample script shown above could be improved by say inserting an interview with a nutritionist or school matron or including a conversation between a housewife and one of the presenters. As a means of enabling the classroom teacher to utilize the audio material effectively, the Teachers; Notes on the topic should be availed.

THE TEACHER’S NOTES

CLASS: Standard 7

SUBJECT: Home Science

TOPIC:Basic food groups for a balanced diet

Objectives

By the end of the rado lesson, the learner should be able to :

  1. Classify common foods into 3 food groups
  2. State functions of foods in each group.

Learning Aids

A chart showing drawings and mountings of the three food groups.

Activities before the broadcast

Pupils should be asked questions such as the following by the class teacher:

  1. Name 3 good eating habits.
  2. State at last 4 factors that influence eating habits.
  3. Name 3 ways of obtaining food.

The class teacher should also write the following on the chalkboard:-

  • Carbohydrates-energy giving foods
  • proteins -body building foods
  • Vitamins- protective foods

Activities during the broadcast

the class teacher should receive responses from pupils when asked to do so by the radio teacher. S/he should quickly write down these answers. The teacher should display the chart showing drawings and mountings of the 3 food groups. S/he should point at the relevant parts when asked to do so by the radio teacher.

Activities after the broadcast

the classroom teacher should ask pupils to write in their exercise books all the food they eat at home and finally classify them. the pupils can also be asked to choose foods from these three groups and plan balanced meals for a whole week. Once the script has been written and Teachers’ Notes compiled, the script editor should edit the programme. the editor should consider the flow of content, the time slot allowed for the programme and the general layout of the script. he is to cross check the appropriateness of the recorded inserts and the music use. he also ensures that the signature tune chosen is appropriate. The signature tune is that piece of music or vocals that comes at the beginning and at the end of a programme. it is the same for a whole programme series and is regarded as the “trademark” of the programme series it identifies the programme. Usually, the message in the signature tune is related to the theme of the series. the signature tune should never be used as bridge music. if the introductory remarks of a programme are to voiced over the signature tune them the tun should be instrumental for ti to be faded under the speech effectively.

Recording

Once the script has been written, edited and all the inserts and sound effects lined up then the next stage is to put the content on tape, that is recording. the producer must use voices that have been auditioned. during auditioning the voices are chosen for their quality in terms of pronunciation, clarity, fluency, pace, intonation general voice quality. the voices should also be chosen for their suitability for narration, drama, poem reciting and radio pupil roles. once the producer has assembled his artists (presenters) in the studio, each of them should have a copy of the script and thoroughly rehearse the script several times. this will help the producer and technician get an estimated duration of the programme. if there is need for further editing it can be done at this stage to reduce the programme to the prescribed duration and still have the message. during the recording session, the technician should ensure that the microphones are properly positioned to mained a good recording level throughout the session..

if the duration of the recorded programme with all the inserts, music bridges and pauses included is still higher than the prescribed time, then post-production editing can be done. this can be accomplished through mechanical splicing or dubbing.

Editing

Editing materials means removing parts of it and re-organizing the material to give it “shape.” editing can be done in two ways:

Script Editing

Before recording a programme the writer should allow a colleague to read through the script and give comments. A media specialist should also be allowed to judge the script for its suitability. The writer can then modify the script in line with the comments given by the colleague and the media specialist. Sometimes the time slot allocated for the programme is 20 minutes and on rehearsal the programme overshoots the time. it is then necessary to cut down on the quantity of material to bring it down to under 20 minutes.

Tape Editing

this is an important aspect of recording. it is conveniently done in tapes than in cassettes. this is because of two reasons. firstly, the tape speeds 7 ½ and 15 inches per second (ips) are ideal for editing than the slower audio cassette speed of 1 ⅞ ips. Secondly the tape is one track while the cassette is two track . the following alterations can be done on the tape programmes through editing:

  1. Reducing the overall length of the programme
  2. Rearranging the order of events by placing one sound sequence ahead or behind its original position on the tape, thus providing bases for comparisons contrasts or emphasis.
  3. inserting new material such as speeches, music etc.

There are two methods of tape editing:

Electronic Editing (Dubbing)

This is ideal for audio cassettes and involves copying (dubbing) one recording through a second recorder onto another tape or cassette. this is done without cutting the original tape/cassette. This method must be used very carefully as it introduces pops at the start and end of a sound sequence.

Mechanical editing (Splicing)

this method involves using scissors or tape silver and splicing the tape. it is highly recommended for “polishing” an interview by removing slight imperfections such as to add tape for lengthening pauses, reducing pauses or even to substitute a corrected bit of narration. the steps to follow are:

  • with the script in front of you listen to the recorded tape, listing spots that need editing and record the counter reading.
  • Dub the tape onto another fresh tape, file the original tape for reference. Proceed with the tape you have just recorded.
  • Lace the freshly recorded tape onto the recorder Play it and confirm the counter readings recorded earlier.
  • carry out rough editing first that is removing whole paragraphs, whole sentences and rearranging them in the appropriate order. to identify a point to cut we engage the “edit” key on the tape recorder, then we can move the spools manually back and forth across the playhead.
  • the point to be cut can be carefully marked with a fine tipped felt pen or a china marker (grease) pencil.
  • two points on the tape can be connected using the splicing tape> the splicing tape should be put on the shiny side.
  • after making a joint, playback the tape over the joint and satisfy yourself that it is well done.
  • if a new bit is to be added, identify the spot where you wish to add the new bit. Mark it with a felt pen.
  • playback the tape over the two joints and satisfy yourself that the joints are well done and that the new bit fits in very well.

(TAKE HOME ASSIGNMENT)

  1. In your subject area, identify a topic that in your opinion needs audio support
  2. after deciding on the programme level, identify the instructional objectives.
  3. prepare the Teachers’ Notes.
  4. prepare a script, rehearse it and edit to between 15 and 20 minutes
  5. Develop support materials for the programme.
  6. using your cassette recorder and an audio cassette/compact disc(of good quality) record the programme.
  7. Playback the recording and listen to it.
  8. Hand in the recorded material, the script, the Teachers’ Notes and the support materials for assessment.
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