Using Audio Tools (Audacity) in the World Language Classroom

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OverviewInstructionsResourcesActivity Management

Audacity is an open-source (aka 100% free) program for recording, editing and exporting sound files. It can be used to record a voice track that can be exported into other programs, or to mix music, narration and sound effects together into a single file.

Units

Audio Tools

Duration

2 hours

Standards

Communication, Communities

LEVEL

Advanced, Beginner, Intermediate

WEBSITE

Visit Audacity Website

OS

PC or Mac

PREREQUISITES

  • Basic use of Internet
  • How to download a file
  • How to set up a microphone on a computer

OBJECTIVES

At the end of the lesson, workshop participants will be able to:

  • Explain what Audacity and sound files are and why they are useful to teach languages.
  • List the kind of tasks that would be appropriate for their students using Audacity.
  • Explain how to design tasks focused on student collaboration.
  • Give an example of one activity in a lesson plan using Audacity in alignment with the Standards for Foreign Language Learning.
  • Describe how to assess students’ learning progress using Audacity.
  • Critique the effectiveness for language teaching of other Audacity projects.
  • Download “Audacity” and create their own Audacity projects.
  • Teach their students how to make their own Audacity projects.

MATERIALS NEEDED

A microphone

Step-By-Step Instructions

Pre-Exercise: Why Use Audacity?

  1. Watch the SL Merryman video: Using Audacity to Practice Speaking Languages (English) on YouTube.
  2. Watch the SL Merryman video: Using Audacity for ESL: Slowing down Audio Files on YouTube.
  3. Go over the list of suggested activities using Audacity.
  4. List the pros and cons of the foregoing Audacity examples for World Languages class use.

Pre-Exercise: Designing a Task with Audacity

  1. Develop an example of one activity using “Audacity”.
  2. Write goals and objectives for your activity.
  3. Write a detailed script for  your activity.
  4. Identify the task your students will be performing and write an assessment rubric.
  5. List standards addressed in your activity and rationale.
  6. Describe how students will be collaborating.
  7. Explain how your students’ performance will be assessed.

 Create Audio Files

  1. To download Audacity, go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
  2. Click the Download Audacity link for the latest release.   
  3. Select the Audacity Installer link.
  4. You will be directed to a page that lists mirror sites providing copies of the Audacity download.   Select a mirror site that is geographically close to you to minimize download time.
  5. A download box should open automatically.  Click the OK button.
  6. Wait until the download box says 100% of file is downloaded.
  7. Locate the file you downloaded and double click it.
  8. The setup window opens. Click the Next button.
  9. Select  I accept the agreement and click the Next button.
  10. Click the Next button three more times until you see the the Install button.
  11. Click Install and you will see the Extracting Files message. Wait for this to completely finish.
  12. When set up is complete, launch Audacity by clicking the Finish button.
  13. To record, open Audacity.
  14. Click on the red “Record” button to begin recording.   Click on the red "Record" button to begin recording.
  15. Click on the blue “Pause” button to pause the recording.  Click it again to continue.
    Click on the blue "Pause" button to pause the recording.  Click it again to continue.
  16. Click on the green “Play” button to listen to the audio you just created.
    Click on the green "Play" button to listen to the audio you just created.
  17. To save the Audacity project, go to the “File” menu on the top tool bar.  Choose “Save project as”. To save the Audacity project, go to the "File" menu on the top tool bar.
  18. Name your Audacity project and click the “Save” button.  Now you have audio where you can come back and edit , add more audio, music, etc
    Name your Audacity project and click the "Save" button.  Now you have audio where you can come back and edit , add more audio, music, etc.
  19. To create sound files, go the “File menu”.  Select “Export as wav” button.  The sound file is the type of file you need to create in order to be able to send your audio by e-mail as an attachments or upload to any course management system such as Blackboard.
    To create sound files, go the "File menu".  The sound file is the type of file you need to create in order to be able to send your audio by e-mail as an attachments or upload to any course management system such as Blackboard.
  20. Name your sound file and click the “Save” button.
    Select "Export as wav" and click the "Save" button.  
    Note:
     You will save your sound file in .wav format which looks like this.

    wav format

    Your sound file is the type of file you need to create in order to be able to send your audio by e-mail as an attachments or upload to any course management system such as Blackboard.   Once you save it in .wav format, you are not able to edit the audio.

    You can come back to your project which is saved in .aup format, and which looks like this.

    aup format

    As long as you save the project, you can edit it to create another audio if necessary by using Audacity.

    If you need to have the MP3 file format (this is a compressed format for longer recordings), you need to have download a special media encoder. For more information on how to create MP3 files from within Audacity, see Exporting MP3 Files or the Video tutorial.

Credits

Thanks to Professor Merryman for sharing his YouTube Channel which contains useful how-to videos on Audacity.

 

Activity Management

Instructors should consider planning their lesson as follows:

  1. Show the video Using Audacity to Practice Speaking Languages (English) to explore examples of how Audacity can be used:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_PpDODVpNg&feature=related
  2. Show the video Using Audacity for ESL: Slowing Down Audio Files to explore examples of how Audacity can be used:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OggzE7s2d7Y
  3. Go over the list of suggested activities for Audacity
    https://martintrt.wikispaces.com/Audacity
  4. List the pro and cons of the “Audacity” examples for languages class use.
  5. Describe how to assess students’ learning progress performed in “Audacity”.
  6. Develop an example of one activity for a lesson plan using “Audacity”.
  7. Write goals and objectives for the activity.
  8. Identify the task  students will be performing.
  9. List standards addressed in the activity.
  10. Explain how students’ performance will be assessed.
  11. Discuss Audacity’s usage and tasks students will perform.
  12.  Explain how to make tasks focused on student collaboration.
  13.  Workshop participants create their own Audacity project .
  14.  Workshop participants share their Audacity project online.

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