Jan 27, 2008

Audacity and Online Audio

Hello all! Yesterday during the online session, Mike mentioned a tool called Audacity. He said he was starting to use authentic audio texts from the web with his students. I mentioned that that's where I started in terms of getting more curious about the tools the web could offer me as a teacher back in 2004. Everyone takes a different path in terms of developing his/her own technology repertoire, but the greatest thing is when we share the tools that work with us with other teachers so that everyone doesn't have to reinvent the wheel or to rediscover fire, in this case!

Audacity is a free program (it requires that you have the right to download software onto your computer) where you or your students can record your/their own voice(s) and/or where you can record any audio that you can hear when you are online and turn it into an MP3 file. The advantage of this is that there is a great deal of audio available online, but much is it is 'streamed' meaning that you cannot directly download the file, so in order to use this audio in an unwired classroom or in a classroom with an unpredictable or slow internet connection, you need to be able to make the audio portable. Once you have created an MP3 with Audacity, you can play it directly from your computer, burn it onto a cd if your computer has a cd burner, transfer it to a memory stick or disk, or put it on your MP3 player or iPod.

I have attached a tutorial to our wiki (here on the tutorials page) about how to get started with Audacity. Don't hesitate to contact Debby or me if you have any questions about using it (we created the tutorial together last autumn).

For those of you who do not have the rights to download software onto your machine, I know that it's possible to use podOmatic and OdeoStudio to record your voice and save it as an MP3 file. Does anyone have experience using these tools for capturing streaming audio? These two tools are great for creating podcasts (basically an audio blog) that might be interesting for some of you to explore in the future.

One more thing... Mike said yesterday that he had enjoyed using VOA (Voice of America) 'Special English' reports with students in the past. It seems that this service still exists here.


luz argentina said...

Yes, a great source of material.

Anonymous said...

hi. i am new to the course. my name is kim. i have downloaded audacity and want to save as mp3. i dowloaded lame but then i got something below, after the compuer did a search for more info on the file.

i ran lame but it is not being saved because i need more software. or so i think.

can anyone decipher this and tell me what to do. the message i got was:

Windows has the following information about this file type. This page will help you find software needed to open your file.

File Type: GZIP compressed archive file

File Extension: .gzip

Description: GZip files contain one or more files that have been compressed and packaged into an archive file.

Software or information available at:
Aladdin Systems Stuffit for Windows

You may search the following Web site for related software and information:

Windows Live Search
You may purchase or download software related to this file type from the following Web site:

Windows Marketplace

thanks, kim

ps- this is my first time ever commenting on a blog!

New York Lori said...

I've recorded conversations on Audacity with my private tutoring students. I usually record a conversation the second time we meet. Then, from time to time, I record another conversation. The students like to listen to their English and measure their progress. Up to now, I've stored the recordings in my computer but I just read in one of our readings that I can send the mp3 file to them. Hmmm... I never even thought about that! That's what I plan to do from now on.

I've also used Audacity to record dialogue for Windows MovieMaker.

I recently attended a wonderful presentation about Audacity at the New York State TESOL conference. The teacher explained how he used Audacity with his middle school ESL students. The students wrote songs (like rap) and recorded the songs on Audacity. The teacher said that all the students just went crazy over the project. Collaborative learning at its best!

Then, the teacher told us about one of his students who needed to spend a long time in the hospital. The ESL class recorded a get well message complete with songs and personal messages. The sick student was able to listen to the get well message from his hospital bed. Isn't that great?

Loreley said...

Hi everyone, I've used Audacity with my students when we had to play a "concert" (as we called it at school). I recorded students singing and then matched their song with the original so that we had a song sang by our students. It was lots of work because my computer kept on crashing but it was great result in the end.
However, I didn't know I could record web audio! Now I'm having a second look to the program because I've already download it ;)
Hope to be present in the next meeting, see you all around,

Anne said...

First a general comment then a reply to Kim.

My general comment is that there is a mobile version of Audacity which you can carry on a USB stick. This means that you do not need download permission to use it because everything happens on the stick. I'm just trying out the idea of porable apps in our new project for Web 2.0 teacher training, VITAE www.vitae-project.dk Find the portable audacity at http://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/audacity_portable

Regarding Kim's problem, you should make sure that you remember the location of the lame file and then go back and unzip it andmake sure that you also remember the location of the unzipped file. Then the first time you try to save a file in mp3 format in Audacity it will ask you where the lame file is. You only need to do that once and then it happens automatically from then on.