Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 9 - Audacity

For today's challenge we are going to explore a tool that is not a web-based tool. Audacity is a free, open source software program that turns your computer into a sound recorder. With Audacity you can easily record, import audio, edit, add effects, and create MP3 sound files. As a music teacher I benefited greatly from using this tool but the uses for Audacity outside of the music classroom are just as rich. Audacity can be used to create podcasts by students and teachers. Teachers in many different disciplines have found uses for this great tool (see the uses of Audacity below). Just think of the possibilities as a student creates an MP3 sound file which can be a great stand alone project or one that can be used with a movie or photostory project. This tool allows you to create professional quality audio projects quickly and without a lot of hassle.

Here is the basic layout of the Audacity User Interface:


Check out this tutorial with some basics to get you started creating your project:





Here is a tutorial explaining how to turn your Audacity project into an MP3 file:

Please note that you only have to do the LAME plug-in set up once!


Some Great Uses of Audacity in the Classroom:
  1. 10 Great Ways to Use Audacity with Your Students
  2. Audacity in the Classroom
  3. Audacity in the 1st Grade Classroom
  4. Tips for Using Audacity in the Classroom
  5. Search Results about Audacity from Classroom 2.0 Site

Click Here for a written tutorial of how to use Audacity

Having trouble finding LAME on student netbooks? Watch this video

YOUR ASSIGNMENT:
  1. Download Audacity and begin making some basic voice recordings to understand how it works.
  2. Try exporting to an MP3. See video above for exporting issues.
  3. Think of a project you could create using Audacity.
  4. If you have used Audacity in the past, share your experiences and ideas.

34 comments:

  1. My students use Audacity to record their singing tests for me twice every grading period. Once we got the lame plug-in set up, it was quite simple for them to record themselves, convert to an mp3, and submit via dropbox. However, finding lame was a major ordeal for my middle school students, even with me walking them through it in class. Many of them had already moved files and folders around on their netbooks by the time we got to this; some didn't have lame on them at all. If their netbook goes out for repair and is reimaged, we have to go through the process again.

    The other issue we have experienced is students forgetting to export as an mp3 before they submit. They are so used to going to "file - save" for word processing and other applications that they think they are done after they do that.

    That said, we have done this 3 times so far this school year, and most of my students are able to do this without issue at this point. I am thinking about using the voice recorder in Aviary as another option. Maybe next year - just learning how to use Audacity is enough for them right now.

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  2. We have an older mac lab in our school that is not updated with garage band on every computer, so this is a great alternative that will run on a little older operating system, and still give the students a chance to work with sound editing and voice recording. I definitely needed some practice with it, though, since it is not as immediately easy as some other programs. But once you get the hang of it, this will be a great resource.

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  3. Audacity would be helpful in the math classroom when assigning a difficult problem in Algebra for students to try at home. Hints, examples, or the step-by-step solution could be recorded beforehand and placed on Angel for students to refer to if they are stuck.
    PS...I have already used Jing in my class today to save the work we had completed on the board so we can pick right back up tomorrow where we left off :) As an image file, I then uploaded it to Angel for the students, too.

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  4. I've used Audacity in the past as a free way to record interviews. I had to interview a student for a research paper because all my group couldn't be there. After converting it to an mp3 no one had the excuse they couldn't listen to it!
    In my class, my students had the option of creating a song for Mole Day and making a YouTube video. Audacity was listed as a choice for them to use to record them singing the song. The project is due tomorrow and I'm hoping a few students chose to use Audacity!

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  5. Saving audio as an mp3 is very convenient. This would be helpful to post along with notes from class to explain how to do the skill learned that day. It would also be good for parents to see how it was taught at school.

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  6. Audacity is a great, easy-to-use audio tool. I've used it at home for several years now. It could be a great tool for the classroom as well. While I've never tried it, I think it would be great to have students create their own lesson and narrate it. It would also be a good way to create a "Podcast-like" MP3 that students could download and listen to things such as interactive lessons or blog.

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  7. This is something beneficial, but as a Mac user, I use garage band for this. But here is how we used it.

    Erin Weikert and I read a study that showed reading improved when students heard themselves reading. We took a student and gave her a passage to read. We took the recording and went over it with her. We identified places where she had difficulties, talked about what she saw and how she read it, and went over it with her. The recording allowed us to listen to it together so she could hear her mistakes. We re-recorded it and went through the process again.

    This was very effective and we want to do more of this. Audicity would be a great tool for this.

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  8. I think this would be a great tool in the classroom for presentations that are posted rather than given in class.

    It really is true that kids like to hear themselves on a recording. I didn't know the research about hearing themselves read but it certainly makes sense.

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  9. I did something with an English teacher at my last school (more for fun on my end). Kids were writing poems, so we had them record their voices and taught them how to use Audacity to mix and export podcasts with music, background sounds, etc. Very similar to This American Life sort of thing. The kids loved it and I had a TON of fun working on it.

    It makes me wish I was a technology teacher sometimes...oh well.

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  10. I agree with Kara that it was always difficult getting all of my students setup with the MP3 LAME plug-in! If they ever had their netbook reimaged they would forget about it and have to struggle through it again. I think the Beta version has made this easier.

    I too have used this with my students to record themselves singing so they can submit a singing assessment to me. It was great especially for the introverted kids who would not want to sing in front of me or the class.

    One of my favorite projects was when our students created their own 'demos' by covering a favorite song. We imported instrumental or Karaoke versions of a song to Audacity and the students sang with it. I was impressed with what they made!

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  11. I have used Audacity a bit, I wish I had time to use all the tech tools I have! I know I could put them to great use and had another idea just now as I was reading responses here.

    Currently we are focusing on reading as a school trying to help our students reach grade level reading or above. However, since I teach a totally new language written in a 3 different alphabets all combined, it's a struggle for students to even read at times. I do think that reading/ pronunication should be a part of a students grade in world language study. So my idea was to have students in all levels, read texts aloud. I already have an activity called 5 minute reading challenge where the student reads a loud for 5 solid minutes with a partner. I could simply turn this into a recorded event with Audacity. This way I can pin point places where individuals struggle. This would be a huge help for me especially because I can't always work with students individually or even as a class since I try to split time between levels when the class is blended.

    I would also love to have more speaking assignments and could use Audacity as a tool for students to create a speaking response back to a video or "message" that I leave for them. I know there is an acitivty that some teachers use were they ask the student to call the teacher's phone and leave a message in the target language. Instead of using the voicemail space, the students can now use their own netbook.

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  12. Audacity looks like it would be great to use to narrate math problems for use on netbooks. I could see it being helpful to add narration to my student's bellringers. I also thinka good project my students would like to use this for is to rewrite lyrics to popular songs and record them. The students I have love to sing, so if nothing else they would love to play around with the software on their free time.

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  13. I downloaded audacity a while back on my computer at home, but never really did much with it. Now that we have net books in class, it would be grat to use for hints or explaining a set of problems that students are having issues with. I could also have my students as part of their homework, explain how they worked out a problem(s) as another way to check for understanding.

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  14. This is a neat tool for the students. I have used it to record student projects in the past and the kids enjoy using it.

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  15. I could very easily see using this software to do a storyboard type of project, say for MLK Day or something like that-doing a voice over of Black History using pictures from the Civil Rights movement. Only issue is I hate the sound of my voice, but I would love to ask someone to do the narration for me! Other uses would be podcast (but same problem) or voice over of Powerpoint. But the tool we learned earlier on (Podcast Capture) worked very well for me (I already used it!), so I would probably stick with that for my needs. But even the things I mentioned (which of course could extend beyond Black History Month to other cultural learnings) could very easily be done as a great project with kids.

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  16. I recently had my students create a public service announcement for a skin disorder they researched. Some of the students recorded their PSA on audacity. I downloaded the program to be able to listen to the PSA's that the students created. I have yet to use it myself, but I could see this as a useful tool for students that were absent. You could record the lesson/lecture and have it available for students to listen to outside of class.(great for a flipped classroom)
    Wish there was a little more time in the day to really get to work with some of these tools. :)

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  17. I could see using audacity for students to record questions they may have on an assignment if they are sick for an extended time. Hard to say everything in an email.

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  18. This would be a great tool to use with my students that read below grade level. Many of the students struggle so much with reading that they refuse to complete any outside assignments that require reading becuase they either cannot read the assignment or understand what they read. However, their listening comprehension is wonderful. Using this tool I could create an MP3 file modeling the reading that they are to do for homework. They would be able to listen to the reading and follow along in thier text. this would relieve the stress and frustration level from the homework.

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  19. This tool would be great for elementary teachers to use to record books for children to listen to as they read along. It would also be great for the recording of the student's oral reading. Those recorded readings could be used to show improvement during the year. Older students could use it to record oral histories of family members or community members to investigate a variety of historical or current events.

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  20. Wow I have so many ideas for this tool. I feel like I repeat directions sooo many times. Several of my kiddos need directions in more than one format. I could give it to them in type/text & with an MP3 file and they could get started with an independent project. It would also be helpful when the kids are working out multistep math problems. They could replay the steps whenever they get stuck or they need to check their work.

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  21. As a Professional Development coach this is a great tool for leaving with teachers after you have presented a training so they can access the information again. We know that some learners have to hear the information more than once in order to understand and implement new ideas.

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  22. I could see this being used with students doing podcats on book reviews. I also like the idea of using it to record readers theater. We are always working on expression and fluency, and this could be a way to make it more engaging and fun.

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  23. I can't imagine how helpful this would be in the special education classroom. I also love that you can change it into an MP3. Makes things a lot simpler. I can see group projects becoming a breeze using this.

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  24. This can be used in Math so I can actually hear what the student was thinking when they solve a problem. Part of the homework assignment would be to answer a problem on paper, but then tell me how they solved it using words! Great!

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  25. I am going to give this program a try with a project I have this week. I need to record some songs in a music class and have them on an iPad. This way the student will be able to practice the songs in music class at home as well. Cross your fingers that I can get it to work!!

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  26. I think I could use this to record someone reading a book. The recording could be used in my listening workstation. I could also give students words to take apart to practice PSF for DIBELS testing. There are many possibilities for this to be used in a classroom of pre-readers.

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  27. I have never used audacity before. I am not really sure of how much I would use it math. Students could use it to explain how to solve an equation or what method they might use to solve a situation/problem and why. Core standards really stress reasoning and explaining, so this could a resource to help students. It could also be beneficial for students to share their recordings with one another to hear other thought processes.

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  28. Audacity is impressive and seems to be easy to use. My students are working on a Germany project and could use this tool as they create their advertisements.
    I am very interested in using Audacity with my struggling readers. The idea of having them record their reading and then listening to it with them is intruiging. It could be very powerful for students struggling with fluency and pacing.

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  29. This could be used to record sounds to add to powerpoint cause/effect programs for special needs students.

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  30. This could be used to narrate pictures and other presentations. You could ask students to send in a recording of them walking through a math/stoichiometry problem or to give instructions on how to solve a stoichiometry problem. They could be uploaded to a class wikipedia and organized as a 'stoichiometry problem' help page.

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  31. My favorite use of Audacity was to take student's "This I believe" essays and mimic the radio series by publishing them to my website. I think they worked harder knowing there was an audience.
    http://mrsjankowski.weebly.com/this-i-believe-audio-files.html

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  32. This tool could enhance student's presentations. Also, it may be a fun way for students to podcast and/or compose a catchy song about a concept. It would be easy to upload and share the files, so everyone in the class can have access.

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  33. OK not for sure how I missed this one but here goes! I like this. I play music in the morning and then do a count down of how many minutes they have before the bell rings and it is time to transistion. I could do this instead. We are working on in/out or function charts in class right now and I could see using this to give an audio verison of one and having them guess the rule and then having them create their own by making the complete chart and then taking parts out and seeing who can guess their rule for thier chart. I also would use so the students could record books, listen to themselves reading, fluency practice, or it would be great vocabulary practice.

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  34. I could see this being a great tool in a publishing sequence for students in a writing workshop. After completing a story, they could put together images into an iMovie project as illustrations and create their own recording of the story as an overlay. They could also explain their problem solving process to a math problem and place it over a screen recording of them working it out.

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