Audiojack: A breakthrough in education which takes our imaginations to another level
By Jennifer Schlueter
When my friend invited me to an event at the Sono Studios in LA to experience a “sound movie,” I didn’t know what to expect. After some welcoming drinks and snacks, we, approximately 40(?) guests, chose our seats in a semi-circle around Audiojack creator and founder David Tobin. Each chair was equipped with a blindfold, a pen, and a notepad. David then gave us a short introduction to what was about to happen; asked us to turn our phones off, relax, put the blindfolds on; and told us to focus on our imagination so we could create a story along with the sound movie.
As soon as the room got quiet, I listened to my first Audiojack – an “audio-based movie with no words, no music, no video, only sounds,” as Tobin’s website describes it. I heard rain, doors squeaking, footsteps, horses trotting over cobble stones, someone running through grass, etc. – at least, these were images my mind produced according to these sounds. After a second play of the Audiojack, we were asked to write down the story our imagination had sparked, and after the third, we had time to refine our stories. I had thought about a girl in 19th century France watching a guy running away from someone. Secretly, she followed him into a cave, where an unknown creature tried to harm the intruders; however, they got away.
“Is anyone willing to share their story?” David wanted to know. Several people raised their hands. All of the sharers’ stories differed, but some similar aspects could be found.
The variety of people’s accounts is the exact point of an Audiojack, according to David. Designing the sound movies, he has his own stories in mind, but always keeps them completely secret, even from his parents. Thus, there is no right or wrong answer, people are eager to share, and surprised how their creativity just flows. This method has proven especially valuable for students and the blind community. They are not afraid anymore to share their thoughts, and happily engage in class.
Before Audiojack had become popular, its creator wanted to make sure it would have a lasting impact, and not just be something fun. Inspired by his mother, a teacher, education has always been of utmost importance for David Tobin. Audiojack lesson plans for different markets and countries were developed, and thoroughly tested for years. When this was confirmed as a huge success, David brought his company to the large scale where it is today: The website www.audiojack.com has been translated into 30 languages, and is also usable for the blind. Audiojack lessons adhere to Common Core Standards and are used in k-12 education. Because the sound movies have no language barrier, the whole world can access, use, and profit from them. Individuals, schools, and other organizations can subscribe to the program on the website. For the near future, David plans on launching a program with which people are able to create their own Audiojacks.
It still stuns David that he created something that improves people’s quality of life, stimulates their creativity and develops their critical thinking skills. He goes to schools and education conferences to introduce Audiojack and the positive feedback he is getting is incredible: “A blind girl told me that through Audiojack she felt as if she was able to see for the first time,” he recalled. On another occasion, at the renowned Perkins School of the Blind in Massachusetts, an official told David that he had cracked the code for the blind; that they had been waiting for something like Audiojack. David described this moment as “sobering,” because it charged him with even more responsibility. These events make him work harder and are his drive to continue his mission to give back to people. Audiojack is more than just a job to David; it’s his passion.
For more information, i.e. on how you, your school, or your organization can subscribe and profit from Audiojacks, contact Audiojack on www.audiojack.com.