Conference Theme

Sound in Learning

Scientific literacy is typically gained through the study of graphs and various types of visualizations. Many of these have been in existence since the late 18th century, and are part of the standard research vocabulary.

The twentieth and twenty-first century have made dynamic, multi-modal displays feasible. Visualization is essential for many applications — it draws on the strength of the eyes for assessing static qualities such as size, color, or texture. But many applications could greatly benefit from displays the address the ears, with their particular sensitivity to dynamic changes and capability for following multiple simultaneous streams. 

Auditory information is also received faster than visual information. Hearing sets the stage for what we see. Sound is quickly transmitted to areas of the brain that carry out basic functions at an emotional, survival level. The legacy of our ancestors quick fight or flight response is the human creatures unique appreciation of music.

Because of all this, sound should be a part of learning science and other topics. Young students being introduced to information through sound will likely have a more holistic and engaging experience than is possible with visual materials alone. If a generation of students were raised to learn about science by listening as well as looking, what implications would this have for the scientific climate twenty or thirty years in the future?