Saturday, January 15, 2011

News: Language Teaching Technology - Audacity

(Picture is the sole property of the Audacity developers. Used only as a reference here)

Hello everyone, Becky here!

Below is some information obtained through the Ohio Association for Foreign Language (OFLA) listserv regarding a software you can use with your FL students. Enjoy!
Here are the highlights and most important issues when using Audacity:
· Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
· You can download Audacity from: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/
· Save your project often!
· To export as an Mp3 fro Audacity – you will need a LAME encoder installed on your computer. This can be downloaded and installed free of charge from: http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/
· If you start a project on a certain computer, you should finish it there by exporting it as an Mp3 or wav, so that it will play anywhere. If you move the project to another computer, that computer has to have Audacity, and you have to move the .aup file AND the data folder.
· Mp3 is the best format for export as it is a small file size and pretty universal, but .wav works as well (no LAME encoder required).
· You will need a headset with mike for best recording – mikes alone will work buy can impede listening if several students are working on files at the same time.
· Music added to Audacity creates another track, and then it is combined with the narration when saved as .mp3/.wav.
· Once you save the project as an .mp3 or a .wav, you cannot edit that file, but you CAN go back to the project file and edit it.
· Mp3 or wav audio files created in Audacity can be imported into Windows Movie Maker and IMovie as well.
Pedagogy applications using Audacity:
· Students tend to adapt very quickly to this type of software as they are already used to the player controls.
· START SMALL! Short recordings are best for language learners. It is the process that is most important, therefore they can spend time planning/editing/proofing their narration before recording the final product.
· Erasing is an easy as a click!
· Students can choose the preferred language to use for the Audacity menu and controls (great authentic practice)
· Project ideas:
o Radio broadcast recordings
o Interviewing another student
o Adding a music/song track (import music to their narration for a storytelling episode)
o A family portrait
o Vacation audio snapshots
o Weather broadcasts
o Pet Corner
Thanks to Rebecca Bias from OSU for sharing this information with OFLA members!

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