Audacity

Another expressive area is that of audio. Even though the ability for recording audio has been available, few have embraced this idea as a tool for expression. With recent interest in “podcasting” and sound editing, timing is perfect to offer exploration into audio expressive ideas related to curriculum.

Ideas for teachers:
Record make-up work for absentees
Record mini-lessons for students who need remediation
Record songs that emphasize skills or rules that need to be remembered
Record short stories for struggling readers

Anyone needs the ability to get a point across quickly and accurately. This is an essential skill. Therefore, we should start early having students develop their presentation skills at an early age, and student-generated audio programs are a great way to do this.

Ideas for students:
Record book or movie reviews
Practice reading and listening to one's self for improvement
Tell personal or fictional stories written in class
"Teach" mini-lessons on topics they have mastered
Conduct interviews for assignments

Audacity is an audio editing tool and recorder that enables you to use a sound studio. With Audacity, you can record, mix, cut, copy, paste, filter sounds, and even change the speed or pitch of the recordings. Audacity can convert tapes or records into digital recordings, or it can be used to convert one type of sound file to another.


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Audacity is a free and open source application used for recording and editing sound.

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When you launch Audacity you’ll see a blank screen with a series of buttons near the top of the screen. These buttons look like those on a cassette recorder to control recording, playback, rewinding, etc.

It is a good idea to create a test recording to set the audio levels properly. You can adjust the input volume level so that your voice is recorded at just the right level. If you record at too high a level, your voice will be distorted. However, if you record at too low a level, you will not get good quality sound when the level is adjusted later in the editing process. The best approach is to get the input level set so you’ll have little or no changes to made to the recording.

A suggestion for getting used to recording audio is to read from a script first. Don’t worry about mistakes, after some practice you’ll get better, and you can always remove the mistakes.

Save your recording to the computer using a title to distinguish it from other files. Save each audio recording with a different title in case you need to go back to a previous version.

Editing involves cutting mistakes and excessive quiet time, as well as moving audio portions around. Select the portion of sound you want to work on by using your mouse. Copy, paste, or delete sections to your desired outcome. You can undo any cuts or pastes you make.

Audacity lets you perform special effects on your recorded sounds. To use any of the features found in the Effect menu, you need to select a region of sound you want to change. You can change the pitch of your voice which is useful if you want to sound like you are squealing. A few of the more practical effects are fade-in and fade-out features to create introductions and endings.

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Audacity allows you to mix several recordings together into a finished outcome. Experiment with adding background sounds or music to your project.

Recording audio in Audacity
-Plug the external microphone into the computer.
-Launch Audacity.
-Select Microphone from the input source drop down.
-Click the Record button to begin the file, recite the script,
and when done, click the Stop button.
-Edit as necessary.
-Save the file as an MP3 file by selecting File, Export as MP3.

There are many ideas for creating and using audio recordings. Young learners can record readings to track changes in ability over time. Recording narration for slide shows to accompany student work in various subject areas which can then become part of a portfolio with reflections. “Podcasts” of student-generated radio shows on topics such as current events can be recorded, posted to a webpage and downloaded for listening on other devices. Student musical performances can be recorded and podcast. Lectures or guest presentations can be recorded as reference. When recording someone other than yourself, get their permission first.

Samples:
The Education Podcast Network
Bob Sprankle
Mills Murfee Podcasts
Willowdale Elementary - WillowWeb
Learning in Hand by Tony Vincent


Audio recording and editing is a basic skill. It is a great way for students to overcome presentation anxiety, self-critique, improve and develop speaking skills they need to share their ideas and insights.