Many sounds heard at Oberlin pertain to the modern era and have evolved over the course of the college’s history. Being an educational institute, there are many sounds related to learning at Oberlin, which are produced in different academic environments by different kinds of people carrying out different activities. The recorded sounds have been placed into three separate categories: technology, environment and apparatus. Each of these plays an important role in modern day education.
The apparatus used for learning has been changing ever since the beginning of humankind. The book, the pencil and the backpack are items every student uses daily. The flipping of the pages of a book, the sound of a pencil writing and the packing and zipping of a backpack are common sounds that can be found all around Oberlin’s campus. Learning in Oberlin is the most important attribute that Oberlin has since it is in the Oberlin motto “Learning and Labor.” These sounds, while recorded at Oberlin, are heard in all places of learning. These sounds define what it means to be a student universally. The utensils of learning will be ever changing but the legacy of knowledge that Oberlin offers will forever remain the same.
It has also always been important to be updated on the latest technology and, here at Oberlin, most people are able to keep up with the times. Technology has evolved to allow us to work faster and more efficiently and now with computers and projectors there is almost no need to take notes in class with a pen and paper anymore so the sound of a pencil writing has been replaced with the sound of typing on a computer. We have exchanged quiet sounds for more efficient technology but the sounds also provide a good purpose. The whirr of the projector screen lowering and the clicking of the classroom touchpad indicate that a class should now start to quiet down instead of talking. This is just one of many examples of how new technology has allowed us to more efficiently learn and conduct a class.
Academic environments play a vital role in education worldwide. There is an unsaid, yet well understood rule of respect as well as discipline in areas designated to studying and learning. There are also many distinctive sounds which are related to a specific settings such as the sounds of students talking or professors and teachers lecturing their students. On the other hand, areas such as libraries or study rooms are extremely silent with only the sounds of pen on paper or typing on a keyboard echoing throughout the room. Classrooms may or may not be quiet depending on the nature of the class and the apparatus and furniture available in the room.
The following sounds are universal in all learning environments. Apparatus, environment and technology make up most of the sounds associated with learning but do not encompass the vast majority of the property that is sound.
The hum of the hard drive in a laptop signifies that the user is accessing all of the processing capabilities of the laptop. This means that the user is probably using many different applications at once or is playing a very complex game. A lot of the time a computer’s full processing power is used when someone is conducting research because they have to take notes, look things up on the internet, and maybe even communicate with other people if they are in a group. Laptops came from earlier notebooks which came from computers. The idea to actually shrink a computer into a portable size came in 1971 but it wasn’t until 1976 that the first portable computer was actually built. After that the computers got smaller and more advanced so now you can wear them around on your wrists if you want.
A stapler is a mechanical invention from the 18th century that is primarily used to join sheets of paper together. This is done by pushing a thin metal rod through the papers, bending each end around one another, joining the two papers together by the pushing action of the stapler. The hinge at one of the ends of the stapler enables the metallic mouth of the stapler to close, pushing the staple pin through the paper. The sound of the metal coming together and the spring within the hinges snapping back to their original position is synonymous with the concept of the completion of a tedious assignment or work related documentation. All the work comes together and is ready to be handed in after the stapler has been used.
A drawer is a box-like container which is usually inserted into other pieces of furniture such as desks. These drawers can be drawn out to be able to remove or insert contents. This is usually done by attaching a rolling mechanism alongside the drawer,enabling people to smoothly bring the empty open box to a suitable position to reach the inside. The sound of a drawer opening and closing is the sound of people trying to organize their work, to maintain a clean working environment. This invention has proven to be very useful and almost all desks nowadays are fitted with drawers to provide people with the extra storage space they need to keep their things in.
Hallways are areas where many different sounds fuse together to make up their sonic environment. A hallway in a college is comprised of the sounds of students and professors speaking, entering and exiting classrooms, footsteps as well as many doors opening and closing. A hallway in a college represents one of the many possible different environments related to education and learning. It may be quiet during classes or it may be roaring as students are trying to get from one class to the next. Of the many kinds of educational buildings such as libraries or classrooms, hallways in a building dedicated to hosting classes have the most sonic variety with reference to the difference between their sound-related components during different times of the day.
The sharp quick click of the electronic buttons that control the various electronics of the classroom are a new way to get people’s attention. They slice through the sounds of children chattering and enable the teacher to begin his or her lecture. The sound is made artificially as the screen recognizes that it is being touched and then produces a sharp beep to signify to the user that the machine has registered being touched. The touchpad was invented in 1988 and it was first used by the general public in 1994 when Apple Computer first introduced the Powerbook laptops with a touchpad. Since then the technology has expanded to everything from the tiny motion square in a blackberry to an entire computer screen. It is used for many different purposes including navigation and education.
The sound of a screen coming down is actually the sound of the motors turning to slowly let down the screen. Screens were first used to watch movies for a paying audience in 1895 with L’arrivee d’un train en gare de la Ciotat (The arrival of a train into a country station). The screen has evolved from just being a wall to being an actual object that can be transported to display images. The screen can be used for many things including projecting movies for a class to watch, displaying notes for students to take, and showing photos for people to admire. In college students, the sound signifies the beginning of the class because all or most of the learning in the class takes place on the screen so it is vital to the teacher and student. Without the screen the teacher cannot use his or her prepared notes on their laptop and it the screen makes it easier to make sure the entire class can see the notes.
This sound is the sound of a person flipping pages of a book. This is a common learning environment sound that either in or out of the classroom we hear daily. The book has been around ever since Egyptian empire. The rubbing of paper on paper creates this common sound of learning. The book has long been the basis of learning for centuries and is slowly being taken over by computers. Computers save paper, which may help to keep the forests safe. Computers are also more convenient and cheaper then buying the book hard copy. The better technology gets the less we will see books. E-readers like the Nook and the Kindle are leading the industry, advertising thousands of books on one single tablet. This sound will be a sound of the past after a few centuries and books will no longer be found at universities or home since the technology will have replaced them.
This sound is the sound of a backpack opening and closing its zipper and packing and unpacking books. The backpack has been around ever since the dawn of man traditionally made out of weaving sticks together. The backpack is the everyday person’s tool and something every student swears by. Its convenience and practicality make it one of the most use tools a student can have by allowing easy transportation of books and journals in large quantities. This particular sound of the zipper is common to most backpacks but not universal to all backpacks. Many backpacks have buckles instead of zippers which are becoming increasingly popular and fashionable. Although the zippered backpack is not as in-style, there is no worry that the backpack will cease to exist for its convenience out weighs all the negative fashion outlooks that it may have. The backpack will be around until the end of human existence because of its ability to strengthen individual capabilities.
The pencil has been used ever since the 19th century. It became necessary when a tool was needed as a writing utensil that could be erased. The ink and quill had long been the instrument of choice until the pencil was easier to pickup and go rather then needing ink. The sound here is a pencil writing and drawing on a piece of white paper. Although this sound is about 150 years old this sound wont be around for much longer. The fountain and then ballpoint pen replaced the ink and quill and made it just as easy to use as a pencil. Erasable pens have already been made by companies like Bic and are relatively successful. While the erasing ability of the pencil is still stronger than the erasable pen the pencil is running out of years in the history of human kind. This sound will soon no longer be heard.