Discovering the creation of an audio game in Excel

I have learned and gleaned a tremendous amount of information from the insights of the experts who blog on Paths to Technologywho provide excellent reviews and how-to’s and I thought it may be helpful to document some of the processes of discovery as a TVI for enabling (or attempting to) teach technology for use as a tool for the VI student. I always approached the subject of technology in education and technology in general as a tool to facilitate learning and tasks, not an end unto itself, as I have witnessed in my teaching career (“The teacher will use technology….etc.”) Things have somewhat improved, but attendance at ed tech conferences can illustrate the sometimes nihilistic promotion of technology over cognitive gains and the primary educational mission of educators. As Steven Anderson asserts, student engagement does not necessarily mean that learning achievement is occurring and often does not when students are engaging with technology, for example playing digital games for entertainment or becoming preoccupied with the formatting of a PowerPoint. The debate engendered by this idea is is discussed in many places, including  the book Wizard and Prophet and OurEdtech Conversation (Mann, 2018) and Backwards Technology in Public Education.

That being said, this exercise, Creating an Interactive Game in Microsoft excel.pdf  led me to consider how to create a similar, accessible exercise for VI students that would allow for true engagement with a purpose.  My idea is more difficult than I thought, and will be a work in progress, but a first step was to play a sound in Excel when a certain condition is met and I discovered that a prewritten VBA script can configure personalized sounds:

Play a custom sound based on cell value with VBA code

If you want to play a sound based on a condition, this VBA code is the solution:

1. In Excel, hold down the ALT + F11 keys, opening the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window.

2. Click Insert > Module, and paste the following code after the  title in the Module Window.

VBA code: Play a specific sound based on a cell value:

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#If Win64 Then

    Private Declare PtrSafe Function PlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" _

        Alias "PlaySoundA" (ByVal lpszName As String, _

        ByVal hModule As LongPtr, ByVal dwFlags As Long) As Boolean

#Else

    Private Declare Function PlaySound Lib "winmm.dll" _

        Alias "PlaySoundA" (ByVal lpszName As String, _

        ByVal hModule As Long, ByVal dwFlags As Long) As Boolean

#End If

Const SND_SYNC = &H0

Const SND_ASYNC = &H1

Const SND_FILENAME = &H20000

Function SoundMe() As String

'Updateby Extendoffice 20161223

    Call PlaySound("c:\windows\media\Speech On.wav", _

      0, SND_ASYNC Or SND_FILENAME)

    SoundMe = ""

End Function

3. Then save and close this code window, return to the worksheet, and enter this formula: =IF(A1>300,SoundMe(),"") into a blank cell beside the cell that contains the value you want to play a sound based on, and then press Enter key, nothing will be displayed into the formula cell, see the picture associated with this post:

4. From now on, if a value greater than 300 is entered into cell A1, a specific sound will be played at once. The sound wav file can be configured from  the c:\windows\media\ file path and in the future I will experiment with personalized recorded sounds, including narrative.  

The attached Excel file shows how this works; unfortunately the PTT template will not allow uploading of Macro enabled files but this works on a local computer, In the future, I hope to emulate the visual interactive game with audio and eventually create a easily usable and modifiable template for students to create their own math (or any other subject) quiz games, which can include the creation of problems in arithmetic to more advanced mathematics problems.