Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Audacity – a Great Audio Creation and Editing Tool November 25, 2010

Filed under: Blogs and Education,Podcasting,Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 9:44 pm
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Audacity is a free Web 2.0 tool that is a great audio editor and can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux platforms. According to the Audacity website, Audacity can be used to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, Edit various formats of sound files, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together, change the speed or pitch of a recording and much more.

The goal of this activity was to use Audacity to create an instructional, promotional, commercial or video audio. At least 3 audio clips needed to be joined and mixed together. I choose to record a lesson for my Management 364 class, Human Resource Management on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the impact on organizations. I choose this because it is a topic I am currently discussing and I thought I could make it available to students on my website. I added a track with music at the beginning and ending of my audio. Click on the link below to hear my recording:

ChristineMarkAssign3.mp3

I think Audacity is a great tool with many uses for teaching and learning. In looking through some education blogs I found some interesting ways to integrate Audacity into classroom activities. Students can make an audio/radio advertisement that can be part of a marketing project. Audacity can also be used to promote speaking a foreign language. It can also be used to create podcasts, record speeches, facilitate reading development by having students record their reading out loud. It can be used to record audio for PowerPoint slides in addition to many other uses.

Audacity was very easy to use and was quite intuitive. I found it to be a very powerful tool for creating audio and doing a variety of audio editing tasks. Compared to many other recording applications, the real beauty of Audacity is its slate of processing tools that allow one to add effects, reduce noise, and control the actual sound of the final project. For my project I used the noise reduction feature. To begin with I recorded about 5-10 seconds of ambient noise before beginning my audio recording. After my recording was complete I then used the first few seconds with the noise reduction tool to remove this noise from the entire recording with a few simple highlighting steps. The resulting recording was much quieter and more professional.

Another feature that was appreciated was the direct to MP3 saving ability in Audacity. Several other recorders I have used a good at producing WAV files, but MP3 files have more data and produce a better quality audio sound. Although installing the LAME encoder is somewhat clunky, the end result was worth the effort.

 

Creating a Podcast (It’s Not That Hard) March 4, 2010

Filed under: Podcasting — Christine Mark @ 7:21 pm
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I made my first podcast this week and people can actually subscribe to it on iTunes!!!  As part of my PhD program I am taking a class called Seminar in Instructional Technology.  This is a class that explores Web 2.0 tools and their use in education.  As part of the class I was required to create a podcast that others could subscribe to on iTunes.  This was an interesting project as I had to use many other tools and types of technology to create the podcast and make sure it could be subscribed to by others. 

 The first thing I had to do was make a recording in MP3 format.  I used a free program called Audacity to create the audio file.  The first one I created was 26 minutes long.  All the research I have read states that this is way too long for a podcast.  I came to realize that my students would not listen to me ramble on for 26 minutes.  I rethought the project and made a second attempt.  This one was about 6 minutes long.  This was much better.  I used Audacity to take out the long pauses and few ums.  I found a piece of instrumental music and played it at the beginning with it fading as I began speaking.  I also played the music at the end.  I was actually surprised how good it sounded.  The next step was to upload it to my Web server.  This was quite easy for me as I took a class in Web design and I understand how the FTP program works.  I felt sorry for some of the students in my class who do not have this expertise as this could take a while to figure out.  I then used Podcast RSS Feed Generator to generate the html code needed for the podcast to be subscribed to.  The feed generator was very easy and once all the information was entered it generated the html code which I saved in a Notepad document.  I then uploaded this document to my Web server.  The name of this html file is what is entered to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.  I found this to be quite easy and I can see using it for my classes going forward.