Thing 5: Audio Tools

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Topics covered in this lesson*: 

  • Tools and apps for easily recording audio
  • Ideas for using audio in the classroom

* Remember you don’t have to explore everything in this lesson. Pick what interests you most. 

INTRODUCTION

microphone
photo credit: Ayton via photopin cc

Give your students a voice!

Audio tools help students record their thoughts, share book reviews, give presentations, gain confidence and more.

Using audio recording tools, your students could create a podcast series sharing book reviews on a weekly basis.

With the StoryCorps app students learn more about effective storytelling and can share family memories with the world.

Use voice typing in Google Docs to record thoughts faster than many students can type, particularly helpful for younger students.

Create audio blog posts, record presentations, practice vocabulary, share reflections and thoughts, and so much more.

For this lesson, get out your microphones, your laptops with built in microphone or your mobile devices and have some fun testing out audio tools. And remember, no one likes to hear their own voice, we just don’t sound right to ourselves do we. But the rest of us know what your voice really sounds like, so don’t be shy!

green pop up podTIP: Shy students? Noisy room? Record in privacy! Shannon Holden of EdWeb had a great idea, buy an inexpensive popup pod for privacy. About $30 on Amazon.

Articles, Resources, Examples

TOOLS TO EXPLORE

  • Mobile apps – if you’re using android or iOS devices, check out their native voice recording options and apps.
  • Vocaroo – Very simple tool, with limited features. Just click and record. No account or login needed. No editing options. Recordings are stored online, but not forever. Download for safekeeping or upload to other audio storage sites. Great for short recordings. Simple interface makes it easy to use with younger students. I often use it as a super simple test of any audio recording equipment setup.
  • ChatterPix App – iOS only. Great for the little ones. Take a photo or snap a photo of a drawing, draw a line to indicate where the mouth should be and record your audio. Video plays back with the mouth opening and closing and playing your audio. Fun and easy. Cute examples here from  Kindergarten class:

image links to a chatterpix example image links to a chatterpix demo

  • Anchor – Free and easy to use app to record audio and create podcasts. iOS, Android and web. All podcasts are public, students must be 13 or older to have their own accounts. Podcasting with someone else is as easy as having a phone conversation. Listeners can leave voice messages, which can be added to your next podcast episode. Tips on getting started.  Shukes and Giff is a fun edtech podcast using Anchor. 
  • SpeakPipe – Free, online voice recorder. No registration needed. Record up to 5 minutes of audio. Save to your computer and/or store online. SpeakPipe gives you a link to your recording. Recordings are stored for three months since the last playback. Audio file can be downloaded to save elsewhere. Great for students since they don’t need an email address to record and files are only accessible by the link you’re given. Recorded files aren’t added to a public stream of recordings, as they are on some free tools. Reported to work on Android and iOS through a regular mobile browser.   (Nathan Hall’s guide to using SpeakPipe)
  • Synth – Record short audio & video segments, up to 256 seconds long. When audio is played back, a transcript of the words scrolls by on the screen. Other users can respond to your synth with their own recording.
  • FlipGridNow 100% free for educators. Great for sharing, stories, opinions, ideas and for assessments. Records video and audio up to 5 minutes. start by setting up “grid” and add individual “topics” to that grid. Teachers might set up separate grids for each of their classes, then add topics for different activities throughout the year. The topics are where students record their audio/video responses to questions. In a workshop setting, I might set up a separate grid for each workshop and then add topics for participants to respond to throughout the day.
  • Google Docs Voice Typing – Speak into microphone and google docs will transcribe your speech. Great for students who struggle with typing, takes that barrier away.
  • Kaizena –  The latest version of this requires a more complex setup than previously, but worth it for the ease with which you can leave audio notes on student papers.
  • Audacity – Free, open-source recording and editing software to download and run on Windows, Mac, Linux. Lots of options, not the simplest tool to get started with, but very useful.
  • Spreaker – iOS, Android, Web, Windows, Mac. Free podcasting plan includes recordings up to 15 minutes in length and up to 5 hours of recording storage. Has multiple options for recording including: desktop interface, online recorder, apps and more.

And 2 bonus tools that can be used to record audio and to create music. (I’m not at all musically talented, so didn’t thoroughly test these!)

  • Soundation – Can be used to record audio through your microphone and also has lots of music creation options. Record and edit multiple tracks as well. Looks pretty powerful and could provide some really creative options for students. No login needed to get started. Create and download files without a login.
  • Soundtrap – Very similar sorts of features, but requires login. Also has options to create collaboratively in realtime. Pretty cool. 🙂

MORE TO EXPLORE

LEARNING ACTIVITY

  • Your choice! Choose one of the recommended tools or explore any other audio tool/app that you would like to test.
  • Create some audio content.
  • Consider how you could use audio with students.
  • Your blog post:

    • Embed or link to your audio content.
    • Share your experience testing out a new tool.
    • Discuss how might you use audio tools with your students?
    • Or how you could you use audio tools yourself?

*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT

  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
  • Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.


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