In the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ), the Research Committee on Education in Acoustics was established in 1997. Although its history is relatively short in comparison with the Administrative Committee on Education in Acoustics in the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), many activities have been steadily carried out. For example, surveys of syllabi (educational plans of subjects in universities) were made. Demonstration tools used in university classes were also surveyed. The extent of our research was not limited to only universities. Textbooks and teaching materials used in elementary schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools were also researched. Furthermore, activities in cooperation with the National Museum of Nature and Science in Japan have been taking place, including an exhibition and a class with acoustic demonstrations and handicrafts for children. We believe that such activities are very important as social contributions of an academic society. In this review, some of our activities, our discussions, and the like will be introduced.
This paper describes vocal-tract models that we have developed and their applications in education in acoustics. First, we grouped the representative models into two major categories depending on their configuration: straight vs. bent. Then, within each category, we discussed the characteristics of each model in terms of its degree of freedom of movement. Subsequently, we review lectures using the vocal-tract models and report the results of tests and questionnaires carried out simultaneously with the lectures, some of which were re-evaluated in this paper. On the basis of the review, we further discuss how education should be carried out using the vocal-tract models, and we made the following conclusions: 1) the models are useful not only for education on sounds themselves but also for phonetic education; 2) it is important that appropriate models should be selected depending on specific purposes; and 3) it is necessary to continuously develop more models having different properties with wider variations in the future.
Technical listening training (TLT) is a systematic training program designed to improve auditory sensitivity. TLT consists of discrimination and identification tasks for a wide variety of acoustic features, e.g., frequency, sound pressure level, and spectrum pattern. To improve the auditory sensitivity of employees in a corporation in the acoustics industry, the TLT curriculum at the Department of Acoustic Design, Kyushu University (KU), was transferred to the corporation as part of a corporate education program. An initial 5-day trial course was carried out by the KU staff to demonstrate the process of KU-style TLT and its effectiveness to the corporate staff. After the creation of a TLT control system and training room, a second trial 11-day course was jointly carried out by KU and the corporate staff as a simulation of the TLT course in the corporation. Participants in the trials were engineers in the corporation. Through the TLT trials, they improved their auditory sensitivity and their understanding of the relationship between acoustic properties and auditory attributes. They recognized the importance of the systematic listening experiences provided by TLT. Through these two trials, the corporate staff gained understanding of the TLT curriculum. Therefore, the corporation has begun running the TLT curriculum smoothly and successfully.
In an introductory course for environmental/architectural acoustics in universities, it is often used the teaching method based on soundscape, in which students are asked to make a sound map with listening their surrounding acoustic environment. However, if objective measurement of sound pressure level or frequency spectrum can be introduced in such a course, it will interest students in environmental acoustics, and enable them to discuss the acoustic environment more profoundly. Measurement apparatuses are usually expensive and difficult to be used in such a course. Therefore, we consider to use a smartphone: using a smartphone with acoustic measurement applications, it can be possible to introduce an objective measurement in such an introductory course for beginners. In this study, first some applications for acoustic measurement are examined to confirm their accuracy as well as the effect of a simple handmade windscreen. Secondly, using suitable applications, as a possible work in the course, sound maps with measurement results by a smartphone are made and their examples are shown. Finally, some issues to introduce this method in actual courses are discussed.