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.