28th April 2006 at 01:00
Sound recordings have an unending fascination.

Pupils could listen to music clips from different periods and then explain how they are features of particular periods just as much as photographs, paintings or letters. For the Second World War there is a terrific sing-along resource at www.snaithprimary.eril.net music.htm, but clips of commercial recordings can also be found. Or try earlier music at www.earlymusic. co.uk Pupils could compare the importance of, or simply write two contrasting narratives of technological development. They could base the story of sound recording on this article and then compare it with another item such as the shipping container (tinyurl.como3nph).

Students might look at the applications of sound. For technology they could consider the impact of sonar in the world wars. Alternatively, examine the importance of sound recording in news and propaganda in a wide variety of regimes. Earthstation has a lot of material (www.earthstation1.com) but there is a lot of free material in archives such as the British Library (www.bl.ukcollections sound-archivensa.html), the Imperial War Museum (collections.iwm.org.uk) and the Library of Congress (memory.loc.govammemindex.html).

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