Making the Cut with Audacity 2.1.2

microphone-audio-computer-sound-recording-55800.jpeg

Overview

Brief Video Description (2:39)

Description

Audacity 2.1.2 is an updated version of the Audacity audio recording freeware program. It allows users to record, edit and create audio files in a variety of formats (e.g., MP3, .WAV, .MID). This tool enables anyone, anywhere, to create high quality, audio tracks for playlists, podcasts and even video projects.  Whether you are a teacher, student, musician, beatboxer or audio recording hobbyist, this tool is for you.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Use this tool to record student presentations, and musical or dramatic performances
  • Create and send short audio clips to students for immediate feedback
  • Use Audacity to easily create Podcasts of lessons, or teach students how to create their own podcasts
  • Students can record and edit musical performances to publish in portfolios or for reflective exercises
  • Audacity provides the potential for teaching students how to sample, create loops and create backing tracks for beatboxing or rapping
  • Use to support ESL students in practicing and reviewing their new language

 

 

Access Details and Cost

Audacity 2.1.2 is a free download! No cost is required for the full version of the program. Donations to the creators of the program are suggested but not required.

Audacity is a multi-platform program available for both Apple AND Microsoft.

 

Getting Started

How to Use Audacity (5:43)

 

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Speech Preparation and Feedback (Grade 7, Language Arts)

Learning to speak clearly and effectively in front of an audience can be challenging and quite threatening. Audacity provides a way to rehearse, listen to, polish and re-record an oral presentation. In addition, if you have a particularly shy student, you can provide recording their speech as an alternative.

Want to create some instant feedback for the students? Record your comments on your phone or mobile device, then save and send it to your computer. Audacity can open the file and allow you to copy, cut or paste any segment of your recording to be used to help your students in their journey of learning. Just sent them the file.

Idea 2 – Readers/ Radio Theatre (Grade 6, Reading/ Oral Communication)

Want to provide your students with a realistic way to present their drama or script reading? Why not have them record it in Audacity to create a radio play? They can listen to the file, edit or re-record and even add sound effects, and background music.

Idea 3 – Instrumental Music Recording Projects (Grade 7 – 12)

One of the best ways for students to improve at playing their instrument is to be able to listen to their own performance and reflect on it. Using Audacity, students can record their performances, both individually and in groups. They can even create multi-track recordings one track at and time and combine them for a truly complex sounding piece of music.

Are your students needing to create an audition recording for college or university? Audacity makes it easy and free to create quality sound recordings to use for their application portfolio.

Idea 4 – Sound Editing, Mixing and Sampling (Grade 10/11 Music, Open)

Are your students interested in pursuing a career in sound engineering or computer technology? Programs like Audacity allow for easy entry into these complex areas. With many great informational websites and “how to” videos available, students can get right into recording, editing, and sampling with just a computer with a microphone.

Idea 5 – Podcast Interviews with Historical/ Cultural Figures (Grade 12, Canadian History)

Are you tired of having your students complete the same old presentations in front of the class yet again? With Audacity, they can create professional sounding podcasts to present their knowledge about anything from geographical regions to Canadian history the 1940’s. Why not have them record an interview with a member of the community and make it into a podcast to share with the class? It’s easy with Audacity.

 

Helpful Resources

Resource 1 – Complete Tutorial for Beginners

A full explanation of the various aspects of using Audacity 2.1.2 for beginners. Functions and terminology are clearly explained.

Resource 2 – Complete Operations Manual

The complete text based resource to answer all your questions about Audacity 2.1.2

Resource 3 – How to Create a Podcast in Audacity

Interested in creating your own podcasts? This brief tutorial will show you the basics of creating one.

Resource 4 – Recording a Song with Audacity

This is a VERY detailed video of how to create a music recording with melody and background track. It also explores some editing options and effects.

 

Resource 5 – How to Create a Rap with Audacity

Ever want to try your hand at rap? Thought your students might enjoy some rhythm with your poetry unit? This is how we do it. (Caution: contains some explicit lyrics)

 

 

Author

Submitted by Mark McPhail

 

Email: mark.mcphail@uoit.ca

Twitter: @treblebasschal1

 

Bio: Mr. McPhail is a musician, teacher, and student of technology.  He has taught in a variety of grades and subjects over the last 18 years. Currently, Mr. McPhail teaches high school music for the Peel District School Board.  His passion is to see students, not only survive, but thrive in their teenage years.

 

 

Truth About Tech Use & Focus

The decreasing level of attention span in our…what was I saying?

Technology is providing amazing and entertaining new ways of learning and doing that were not available years ago. Students have access to countless sources of information, and knowledge. They also spend countless hours viewing a multitude of sites designed distract, entertain and engage their attention, often in the classroom, while they should be paying attention to the lesson. With policies in school boards that encourage students to bring their own devices (BYOD) to school, is it any wonder that teachers struggle with keeping the minds of their students on task?

Even in the “real world” adults in the worlds of business and industry easily fall prey to the countless distractions available through social networking, emails, twitter feeds, and even checking the stock market every 5 minutes.

It seems apparent that our society is changing at its core. As technology is becoming more invasive in our everyday lives, we can see the results can be disastrous at times. In one example, cities and counties around Canada are adopting laws that are geared a cutting down on distracted driving, as people are being killed or are sustaining life-altering injuries because they cannot put their cell phone down.

What is the story behind this fight for our attention? What can we do about it?

What is technology doing to our brain?

Though research in this area is taking place, it is still early in its development. In the field of neuroscience, professionals like Dr. Gary Small are studying the effects of technology on the brain. In an article, Dr.Small (2008) states that our brains are developing and learning to master the ability to process and respond to multiple digital stimuli which in turn provide instant gratification. These changes do lead to shorter attention spans and a lack of interest in other activities that provide a delayed reward like reading or even watching a longer television program or movie.

This information coincides with other research conducted by specialists such as Dr. Rich who also believe that the brains of our young people are being habituated to distraction and away from focus.

How can we help ourselves? How do we, as educators, cope with this in the classroom?

What can we do?

In some articles, researchers like Dr. Taylor (2012, December 4) suggest that it may not be a case of technology being all bad, but about which technology children use and in its frequency of use.  Others such as della Cava (2010, August 4) also take a very common sense approach in suggesting that we need to monitor ourselves and teach our students and children to set limits on use and take breaks.

The reality is that developments in technology are going to keep coming. We need not take the position as many did in the 1970s and 1980s thinking that television would destroy the brains of our youth. It did not, and technology, if used properly with self-discipline will not.

Since we have such vast tools at our disposal, I encourage educators to rise to the occasion. Put a few past teaching practices aside. Take interest in a new digital tool or two this month. Find a way to connect with your students at their level. Personally, in trying to incorporate more technology, I am seeing greater engagement and enjoyment in my students.

Help Yourself

If it is you who is struggling with finding a good balance with technology, there are a variety of online tools and resources available to you to help with distraction.  A few tools to get your started are listed below. Hang in there!

1.Focus (Mac)

2.Focusbooster (Mac/PC)

3.Freedomto (Mac/PC)

4.Dejal:Time Out (Mac)

3 Roadblocks in Teaching Technology to Educators

pic

Technological tools can be used in many ways to further student learning. The continued growth and innovations in educational technology are both exciting and challenging.

With the development of 21st-century technology, it is important to provide quality professional development (PD) for administrators and staff members in schools.  As there is an increasing amount of innovative technology being introduced, school boards must ensure that employees are not only familiar with the technology, but also become comfortable learning more about it independently.

In today’s classroom, the teachers really are life-long learners. This is not only a nice idea, it is a must! In many cases, staff are introduced to these tools during meetings or professional development sessions. In my experience, even when tools are introduced and explored, there follows a period where some staff engage in trying to use the new tools, while many do not.

What are some of the barriers in training staff members with new technology? What are causing the roadblocks in the pathway from introducing the technology to implementation? How can they be removed?

Lack of Context, Lack of Connection

According to Plair (2008), one of the reasons that teachers struggle with implementing technological tools is that they miss the connection between what they have learned in training sessions and how to use it in their own specific teaching areas (p. 71). She indicates that some educators still struggle with changing their prior understanding to see that technology is no longer something mainly explored in the computer lab or Communication Technology courses.

One solution is mentioned by Plair. “Helping teachers comfortably reach this stage calls for the professional development available through a knowledge broker.” (p.71)

This knowledge broker, within school boards or organizations, would possess a “…combination of pedagogical, content, and technological knowledge…” and could “…more effectively and efficiently scaffold instruction, match tools to content, and keep pace with innovations” (p.73). An expert such as this could help bridge the gap between the new tools and the classroom teacher through offering one-on-one support.

 Lack of Time

Educators are heavily involved with the everyday tasks of running classes, planning lessons, supervising, marking, communicating with parents and running extra-curricular activities. Because of the sheer number of tasks requiring the focus and attention of the teacher, adding any new knowledge, skills or technological training can overwhelm and discourage.

Not surprisingly, the results of a study completed by McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley in 2011 found that “…competing demands on time are the most significant factor restricting a teacher’s ability to provide instruction. (McRae et al., 2012)

If teachers are already burdened with other responsibilities, their willingness and ability to connect with PD on modern technology is diminished.

What could be done to provide more time or assistance?

 Information Overload

Aside from the busyness of each instructional day, a major barrier for teachers in increasing their knowledge of technology is one of sheer volume. According to a study by Lawless and Pellegrino (2007), “Long term change through technology-infused pedagogy is…complicated by the ever-evolving nature of the technology itself.” (p.607)

As teachers become comfortable with one technology, other new and exciting tools emerge. This may cause increasing stress, leading to a break-down of innovative teaching and learning in the classroom. According to an article by Dr. Willis (2014), this stress negatively affects the brain’s ability to learn. What is true for our students under stress is true for us too!

 What else could be done?

It is safe to say that teachers who genuinely care about their students have a desire to improve their own practice to help them succeed. They will continue to learn and attend professional development seminars, often voluntarily.  Those who attend PD to gain new knowledge to aid their pedagogy and practice show notable satisfaction in learning and teaching technology (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007).

Much is seems to be written about the need to engage our students in 21st century learning. Could not more be done to support the frustrated, overwhelmed teacher?

Dr. Willis (2014) suggests that better learning and engagement takes place when positive motivation is present. That may be something to think about.

 

References

Willis, Judy (July 18, 2014). The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-behind-stress-and-learning-judy-willis

Lawless, K. A., & Pellegrino, J. W. (2007). Professional development in integrating technology into teaching and learning: Knowns, unknowns, and ways to pursue better questions and answers. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 575-614. doi:10.3102/0034654307309921

McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley (June 4, 2012). Teaching any time, any place or at any pace. ATA Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20Magazine/Volume%2092/Number-4/Pages/Teaching-any-time.aspx

Plair, Sandra Kay. (2008). Revamping professional development. The Clearing House, 82(2), 70-74. Retrieved from   http://marianrosenberg.wiki.westga.edu/file/view/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf/372909202/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf

 

Making the Cut with Audacity 2.1.2

microphone-audio-computer-sound-recording-55800.jpeg

Overview

Description

Audacity 2.1.2 is an updated version of the Audacity audio recording freeware program. It allows users to record, edit and create audio files in a variety of formats (e.g., MP3, .WAV, .MID) This tool enables anyone, anywhere, the capability to create high quality, audio tracks for playlists, podcasts and even video projects.  Whether you are a teacher, musician, beatboxer or audio recording hobbyist, this tool is for you.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Use this tool to record student presentations, and musical or dramatic performances
  • Create and send short audio clips to students for immediate feedback
  • Use Audacity to easily create Podcasts of lessons, or teach students how to create their own podcasts
  • Students can record and edit musical performances to publish in portfolios or for reflective exercises
  • Audacity provides the potential for teaching students how to sample, create loops and create backing tracks for beatboxing or rapping
  • Use to support ESL students in practicing and reviewing their new language

Access Details and Cost

Audacity 2.1.2 is a free download! No cost is required for the full version of the program. Donations to the creators of the program are suggested but not required.

Audacity is a multi-platform program available for both Apple AND Microsoft.

 

Getting Started

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Speech Preparation and Feedback (Grade 7, Language Arts)

Learning to speak clearly and effectively in front of an audience can be challenging and quite threatening. Audacity provides a way to rehearse, listen to, polish and re-record an oral presentation. In addition, if you have a particularly shy student, you can provide recording their speech as an alternative.

Want to create some instant feedback for the students? Record your comments on your phone or mobile device, then save and send it to your computer. Audacity can open the file and allow you to copy, cut or paste any segment of your recording to be used to help your students in their journey of learning. Just sent them the file.

Idea 2 – Readers/ Radio Theatre (Grade 6, Reading/ Oral Communication)

Want to provide your students with a realistic way to present their drama or script reading? Why not have them record it in Audacity to create a radio play? They can listen to the file, edit or re-record and even add sound effects, and background music.

Idea 3 – Instrumental Music Recording Projects (Grade 7 – 12)

One of the best ways for students to improve at playing their instrument is to be able to listen to their own performance and reflect on it. Using Audacity, students can record their performances, both individually and in groups. They can even create multi-track recordings one track at and time and combine them for a truly complex sounding piece of music.

Are your students needing to create an audition recording for college or university? Audacity makes it easy and free to create quality sound recordings to use for their application portfolio.

Idea 4 – Sound Editing, Mixing and Sampling (Grade 10/11 Music, Open)

Are your students interested in pursuing a career in sound engineering or computer technology? Programs like Audacity allow for easy entry into these complex areas. With many great informational websites and “how to” videos available, students can get right into recording, editing, and sampling with just a computer with a microphone.

Idea 5 – Podcast Interviews with Historical/ Cultural Figures (Grade 12, Canadian History)

Are you tired of having your students complete the same old presentations in front of the class yet again? With Audacity, they can create professional sounding podcasts to present their knowledge about anything from geographical regions to Canadian history the 1940’s. Why not have them record an interview with a member of the community and make it into a podcast to share with the class? It’s easy with Audacity.

Helpful Resources

Resource 1 – Complete Tutorial for Beginners

A full explanation of the various aspects of using Audacity 2.1.2 for beginners. Functions and terminology are clearly explained.

Resource 2 – Complete Operations Manual

The complete text based resource to answer all your questions about Audacity 2.1.2

Resource 3 – How to Create a Podcast in Audacity

Interested in creating your own podcasts? This brief tutorial will show you the basics of creating one.

Resource 4 – Recording a Song with Audacity

This is a VERY detailed video of how to create a music recording with melody and background track. It also explores some editing options and effects.

Resource 5 – How to Create a Rap with Audacity

Ever want to try your hand at rap? Thought your students might enjoy some rhythm with your poetry unit? This is how we do it. (Caution: contains some explicit lyrics)

Author

Submitted by Mark McPhail

Email: mark.mcphail@uoit.ca

Twitter: @treblebasschal1

Bio: Mr. McPhail is a musician, teacher, and student of technology.  He has taught in a variety of grades and subjects over the last 18 years. Currently, Mr. McPhail teaches high school music for the Peel District School Board.  His passion is to see students, not only survive, but thrive in their teenage years.

3 Tips for Combatting Cyberbullying Through Empathy

pexels-photo-218413

The cyberbully is one who can attack anywhere, anytime and with complete anonymity. These bullies are not restricted to school playgrounds or back allies. One can be attacked anywhere they access their technology, even in the safety of their own home. Because the perpetrators of cyberbullying can hide behind the mask of technology, it can be difficult to provide justice and even reconciliation. How can we, as educators in our society, deal with this problem? Some suggest to teach empathy.

Empathy Is Tough to Teach But is One of The Most Important Life Lessons

Empathy is the process of identifying with another person, attempting to understand their perspective and relate to it. As part helping to eliminate hate, and working toward a more inclusive society, empathy is a must.  Is it possible to use the same technology used for hurt to also heal? With cyberbullying being such a big problem, can we teach empathy effectively to help diffuse and limit this destructive behavior? Though it is hard to teach how can we foster empathy online?

Studies have been undertaken to discover and test ways to lower the impact of cyberbullying and to encourage positive relationships through teaching empathy. The following sections sugges a beginning: 3 ways that educators can affect positive changes in cyber-relationships.

1. Intervention Over the Long Haul

Not surprisingly, the most important step in combatting cyberbullying is for bystanders (teachers, family members or friends) to intervene. In a study by Machackova and Pfetch (2016), it was discovered that providing empathy to the victims of cyberbullying had a positive result.  As educators, we can encourage our students to build healthy relationships and to support each other.

Teachers can find use lessons and units of study that help to foster positive online relationships and limit cyberbullying on sites like mediasmarts.ca.

Schultze-Krumbholz & Scheithauer (2009) found that short term intervention through lessons in class tend not to last. The results of their study showed that longer term intervention was the only intervention condition showing significant positive outcomes regarding cyberbullying perpetration. (p.153) Thus, teachers may find better outcomes through longer term planning of units that address cyberbullying and building empathy.

2. Modelling

It is not enough to teach students what empathy looks like, or how to provide it, teachers must demonstrate it and engage in it themselves. In an article about teaching in online environments, Fuller (2012) states that having an empathetic environment for learners requires instructors to practice it themselves. This will look different, depending on the level of education. An example in online environments might be to make frequent contact with students through selective discussion board postings or regular email contact. The key is to connect regularly and frequently, especially early on to build trust. (p. 43)

3. Exploring Empathy Through Gaming

Role playing and the use of drama have been explored to foster understanding through multiple perspectives. Online gaming can be used to provide students with fun ways to engage in real world issues of poverty, globalization, and conflict through playing different roles within the environments such as Serious Games. Other online games like thomaswasalone  can help students explore feelings of isolation and problem solve to find solutions for it in a virtual setting. Other games presented on sites like commonsensemedia.org provide games and videos that are geared to various age groups, presenting issues related to bullying and cyberbullying that encourage greater thought about others and attempting to understand differing views.

As can be seen, there are strategies and tools that educators can use to help their students combat this issue. Being prepared and acting pre-emptively is important. Readers are welcome to share other resources and ideas as well. Let’s do something about it together.

Another video to ponder…

The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life

References

Fuller, R. G. (2012). Building empathy in online courses: Effective practical approaches. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education (IJICTE), 8(4), 38-48. doi:10.4018/jicte.2012100104

Gentès, A., & Cambone, M. (2013). Designing empathy: The role of a “control room” in an e‐learning environment. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 10(1), 31–48. doi:10.1108/17415651311326437

Machackova, H., & Pfetsch, J. (2016). Bystanders’ responses to offline bullying and cyberbullying: The role of empathy and normative beliefs about aggression. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57(2), 169-176. doi:10.1111/sjop.12277

Mindshift. (2017, February 8). Empathy is tough to teach but is one of life’s most important lessons [web log post]. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/02/08/empathy-is-tough-to-teach-but-is-one-of-the-most-important-life-lessons/

Schultze‐Krumbholz, A., Schultze, M., Zagorscak, P., Wölfer, R., & Scheithauer, H. (2016). Feeling cybervictims’ pain—The effect of empathy training on cyberbullying. Aggressive Behavior, 42(2), 147-156. doi:10.1002/ab.21613