"I'll use these skills in the future."
- CAN PALS
Can Pals is a fun and unique way for kids participating in Hear Me to use technology creatively to help spread their voices across Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Hear Me team at the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, created a technological listening device that combines traditionalism with modern technology. It was developed from the idea of the Tin Can Telephone that was used in the 20th century in preschools and elementary schools to teach children about sound vibration. In a modern twist on this kids' tradition, Hear Me will use tin cans to transmit kids' voices throughout the region by installing an audio playback device within the can, that will be used to project and share kids' stories, thoughts and ideas with other schools and organizations via the Hear Me 'Can Pals' program.
This is how it works...
Record Your Audio
A Quick Story Template will be sent in advance to the participating group (school or organization) in preparation for the recordings. A 'conversation of choice' will be discussed and chosen by the educator and the kids.
The kids will record their stories via computers or recording devices at their facility or they can choose to do so in coordination with an in-house visit from members of the Hear Me Team using professional audio recording kits.
The stories will then go through an editing process that will be managed by the Hear Me team.
Once the stories are edited, the Hear Me team will upload your kids' audio onto our website, where they can be heard by anyone, anywhere!
Making Your Recording Part of 'Can Pals'
The Hear Me Team will then plan a visit with your school or organization to integrate your stories into 'Can Pals'. The team will work with the students through the process of installing their stories into the can, using an electronic chip and a PC laptop.
Now your story is in the can!
The students will now create their own label (to be provided) for their personalized can by creating artwork or text that is an expression of themselves and/or their recording.
The students will then adhere the label to the can via an adhesive or double stick tape to be provided.
Now Your Story Has its Own Personal Label!
Once the class has completed their cans in full, the Hear Me Team will help you to select a school with whom to share your stories! Your classroom stories will be put into a Hear Me Container and sent to the selected school or participating organization, thus creating a pen pal, sharing process among youth in our region.
The receiving group will have the opportunity to listen to all the stories and to comment on and discuss the stories with their educators and peers.
Once the receiving group has had time to listen and experience all the stories, the students will carefully remove the labels (without tearing them) by peeling away the adhesive.
On the reverse side of each label, the receiving student - called the 'listener' - will fill in his or her first name, age and school, and then will write a short letter to the student who recorded the can story - or "speaker" - about how they felt about what they heard. The prelude to each letter will be, "I heard your story and I..."
The listener can even include in their response, the location of their own story on the website, if they have also produced a story for Hear Me, creating a further exchange of stories.
Once all the letters for each label in the group have been completed, they will then be returned to the school of origin (via a provided pre-paid envelope) so the letters can be shared with the original 'speakers' of the stories and their educators. The original kids now know that they have been 'heard'!!!
And That's a Wrap!
The cans that remain at the receiving school with the 'listeners' will now become part of the 'recycling' process, as those students will now record their stories onto the can via the same process; create their own labels; and then the cans will be sent to another school from the Hear Me Roster, thus continuing the 'Can Pals' process.
The goal of 'CAN PALS' is to get as many kids, schools and organizations involved in a speaking and listening exchange, that not only gives our kids the opportunity to voice their stories, thoughts and ideas but also the opportunity for them to be heard by their peers and adults alike!
Through 'CAN PALS' we will create a community of speakers and listeners among youth in our region.
CanEX (pronounced "can-ects")
It's a can boX, that provides an EXchange of voices, and is used in EXhibits to bring a voice to art created by the kids of Hear Me.
Like Can Pals, CanEX utilizes the same technology created by our Hear Me Team at the CREATE Lab. CanEX is another way we 'connect' kids voices to the public. CanEX allows kids to EXchange their voices with anyone who listens through these amazing modern day versions of a tin can telephone.
CanEX is simply a "Can Exhibit". Exhibited on their own, they are simply a voice for our kids. Accompanied with art, they tell the story behind the artwork. This is yet another cool and unique way to hear the kids of Hear Me!
CanEX started last April 2011, when Hear Me and one of their four partners, PAEYC, teamed together to help support our youngest members of Hear Me. Hear Me and PAEYC held a Gallery Exhibit at the Carlyle in downtown Pittsburgh. This exhibit was to help celebrate the Month of the Young Child and to acknowledge and appreciate the educators in Early Childhood Education.
*This exhibit can now be seen at the Century III Mall in West Mifflin
Over 35 pieces of art, from young children aged three to six were displayed at The Carlyle. Each piece of art had a CanEX box installed next to it that personally voiced the young artists' creativity and imagination. What may look like a simple scribble or sketch, is actually an amazing story created by these young minds.
CanEX has also been used in exhibits in both the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museum of Art. This summer CanEX installations will be placed in various local business, cafe's, childcare centers, doctor's offices, coffee shops, etc. More places for our kids to be heard!