A-Level CPD GCSE

Creating Discussion

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Focus on Sound

In this Focus on Sound Pro blog I want to look at how it can be used for creating discussion. You might think that FoS is all about lessons and quick quizzing, but it is much more than that. It is possible to create discussion style questions that your students can complete within the platform.

Why?

As I am sure you are aware, within most GCSE & A-Level exams, students need to complete more extended writing. You could refer to this as an essay, long answer or paragraph response. In essence they are competing a discussion based question. Students benefit from practice in writing about music. They might be a superb performer and composer, but how well can they write? Creating discussion questions in FoS is a great way to give students practice in writing more extensively about music.

Discussing music doesn’t always come naturally to students. The more we can play them music and engage in discussion, the more progress the will make. We want to offer low stakes opportunities to help prepare for the higher stakes mocks and exams.

So how can Focus on Sound Pro help us with this?

Creating a Discussion Question

Creating a discussion question is a simple process and one that you can embed into your teaching. First you need to navigate to the “My School” section of FoS and then go to “Custom Tests”.

Now you will want to select “Written/Discussion” from the drop down menu, and you can give your question a title. Then click on “Add” and you will be taken to the next screen.

We are now able to give an introduction and select the type of question that we are going to use, and there are 4 options:

  • Single Sound, write answer
  • Compare two sounds, write answer
  • YouTube video, write answer
  • Compare two YouTube videos, write answer

As you can see, you have the choice to use audio, or a YouTube video. I like to use YouTube videos as this also gets the students watching music happening.

If you are using audio, then you will be given a box to click on. This will allow you to upload audio, which you will need to have prepared beforehand.

The YouTube Option will allow you to attach links to your question that will open up directly in FoS.

Once you have added your audio, links and question text you can publish the test. However you are also able to add additional questions should you wish. You can also add an optional answer to your question should you wish.

Once everything is ready, you can publish the test.

If you choose to use audio, then students can play extracts right there within FoS. There is a box underneath the play bars for them to provide answer. One word of caution is that I find students often write in a different way when they are typing in a box. Encourage them to write in full sentences so that they are crafting an appropriate response.

If you opt for the YouTube approach then the videos will be embedded into the question as you can see below. This is a useful feature and works well to have them both alongside each other. Students can move between them and give their response. One small issue you may encounter is the need to be specific about which bit of the video to watch. It is often easier to go from the beginning and maybe ask them to comment on the first minute. With audio you can more easily edit it using something like Audacity. But a vide on YouTube is not as easy to edit. Something to keep in mind when you are writing your question.

Marking

Once students have submitted their work you will be able to mark it and give them feedback. You can read their work on FoS and give all the feedback on there. This is a good way of ensuring that students get a mark and a response from you. If you are using Teams or Google Classroom, then you can easily integrate the test into the learning platform. Marks can also be stored on FoS or exported to your learning platform.

Creating Discussion

Creating discussion questions on FoS Pro is a straightforward process. The quality is good and it will be helpful for your students to have the audio or video all there and ready for them. They can then type a response and receive feedback from you. These tests can then be shared with classes, used within a FoS lesson or shared with your learning environment. You are given the option to use the new content in a lesson at the top of the screen as shown below.

This lesson can then easily be shared with different groups that you have created within FoS.

Hopefully this process will be a useful one to you, and one that you will quickly get to grips with. It might be a really useful way of generating questions and lessons for students who are working at home. It avoids using paper and all of the answers and feedback are stored within FoS and easily exported to your learning platform.

I hope you have found this short Focus on Sound Pro blog useful. Do subscribe to my blog using the box below.

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