A recording of a large pot full of meatballs on the cooking is not what we had in mind when we asked the pupils to think of, and record, sounds that were representative of their school. But it certainly works!
So, yes, we had a field-recording session, where pupils were to get sonic material for their last exercise: the sonic postcards, but that is next week….
Now, since the process of recording requires, I would say, an immersive approach, as well as a trial and error one; we usually leave the whole session for the pupils to go around and explore their school, recorder in hand, and that is all there is to it. With the exception of a small introduction dedicated to refresh their knowledge on how the recorders function, and what are the adequate procedures to record sound.
For example, they know that if a sound is too loud, or the sensitivity of the recorders is too high, or they are too near the sound source, or a combination of those; the recorded sound wave may clip and distort. So they had to adjust the sensitivity, input level and proximity to the sound in order for this not to happen.
They also know it is important to pay attention to background noise, when recording a concrete sound, if they want to get a clear take. And that they have to listen to their recordings after taking them, as to repeat them if they did not come up well.
Of course we were around :) so we could resolve their doubts with both the equipment and the procedures (and their entangling headphone cables)
Overall it was a fun session, running around with strange machinery, like ghost hunters, listening to amplified sounds, and learning to record sound. Now, please, listen to some of their results (note this is a school were music and singing is part of the everyday sonic environment) You can listen to the rest clicking here. Enjoy.