Douglas MacCutcheon

Douglas_MacCutcheon2.jpgA lifetime fascination with sound brought me to Ecophon. Beginning with a long period of formal musical training in piano and violin and working later in school and tertiary education as a researcher and teacher, I became interested in how learners hear and process sounds. Across a decade of postgraduate education in psychoacoustics, cognitive science and musicology at universities in South Africa, Finland, the United Kingdom and Sweden, my research interests have been shaped by a strong desire to understand the complex ways in which learners’ behavior and cognitive abilities are shaped by the sound environment.

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My research interests have been shaped by a strong desire to understand the complex ways in which learners’ behavior and cognitive abilities are shaped by the sound environment.

After completing a PhD focusing on how noisy and reverberant classrooms affect speech perception in different learner sub-groups, I became frustrated knowing that some learners get left behind in learning environments that do not take their needs into consideration. So I began to search for a way to become part of the solution that bridges academic insights with real changes in the built environment.

Ecophon was my first choice because of their people-centered approach to thinking about indoor environments. Sound is almost always given second place to concerns that are thought to be more important in education – meanwhile learners’ needs are ignored despite an abundance of scientific evidence. Now multitudes of experiments have communicated that aligning the external environment with learner’s needs is essential for both the mind and the body to function properly, but is anybody listening?

I am privileged to fulfil a role at Ecophon in which I am able to help the built environment to understand and apply this evidence in order to effectively create buildings that are designed for the people that will inhabit them. To globally create a sound environment in schools that is conducive to learning, communicating and mental and physical wellbeing may be a work-in-progress, but it is something worth striving to achieve every day!

If you want to know more about sound in educational environments, please contact me at Douglas.MacCutcheon@ecophon.se, follow me on LinkedIn or check out my research on ResearchGate.

Douglas MacCutcheon sociālajos medijos