Making the Cut with Audacity 2.1.2

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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.

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Get your Students Coding with CodeCombat

Learn programming through live coding in an immersive multiplayer strategy game.

Written by: Josh Charpentier

Overview

Description

CodeCombat is a gaming platform that allows users to learn computer sciences. Users explore this web-based sword-and-sorcery game by programming characters with Python or Javascript coding languages. These programming platforms allow players to command their on-screen warrior, ranger, or wizard into action, navigating the character through the level, engage in battle, and destroying foes. Gamers are rewarded for devising clean programming solutions. However, if the user writes a buggy code or fails to find an appropriate solution, their character will wander through the level or could be destroyed by an enemy. This results in the player investing in trial and error strategies, experimentation, and collaboration with peers to find solutions. The player can also access in-game video tutorials to learn new coding strategies.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Students learn and develop skills in computer science and web development.
  • CodeCombat motivates children to learn programming languages through a fun and engaging platform.
  • The important principles of coding and the step-by-step introduction of the syntax of various programming languages aids in students becoming proficient in computer science and web development.

Access Details and Cost

Free Version

  • Clicking on the Play Now button allows the user to create a character and start coding without creating an account. User progress will NOT be recoverable if the user leaves the game.
  • An individual can create a free account, by clicking here. This will allow the user to maintain in-game progression when re-entering the game.

Paid Version (Teacher and Classroom Users)

  • A teacher can create a classroom account. Each student is assigned a license and classroom code for logging into the system. The student would click on the I’m a Student button and then enter the classroom code to gain access to the game.
  • The first course (20 levels) offered to classrooms is free. However, additional courses can cost $25-$50 CAD per student per year depending on which course licenses the teacher wishes to purchase.
  • The pay for access site offers extra levels and in-game video tutorials.
  • The teacher will have access to resources and course guides to help students with programming.

Paid Version (Individual User)

  • For $9.99 US/month individual users can create an account, access premium levels, receive weekly challenges, and have email support from professional programmers.

Getting Started

Teaching Ideas

The following teaching activities can be applied to any class ranging from grades 2-12.

Idea 1 – Coding Competitions (Game Development, Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Use CodeCombat to create coding competitions. Students will be divided into equal teams. Within their teams, students will write code for a level entitled Wakka Maul. Students will use mathematical concepts to develop code, observe how the code fares against their classmates, and then students will make improvements and resubmit.

Idea 2 – Engineering Challenge (Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Engineering is all about tackling problems, but the first rule of engineering is that you might not get it right the first time through. Use CodeCombat to teach students about the Engineering Cycle of thought. First, students will DESIGN a solution to a problem that is presented by the teacher on the level Power Peak. Students will identify the issues and break it down into smaller parts. This includes problem-solving and finding mathematical patterns in code. Then students IMPLEMENT their design, which is putting their ideas into action. Third, they TEST their solution. Does it work? Is the problem resolved? If the test fails, students have to decide if it was because of the design or the implementation of their program. Students can discuss issues openly and collaborate on finding solutions.

Idea 3 – Reflective Writing (English and Computer Sciences)

Students can write reflections about their progression through the CodeCombat levels. The teacher can also encourage students to use coding vocabulary that has been gained through different levels of the game. The teacher could have students contemplate questions, like:

  • Do you know more code now than in the beginning? What skills do you have now that you didn’t have before?
  • What advice would you give someone just starting out in CodeCombat?
  • What kind of strategies do you use when you encounter an obstacle?

Idea 4 – Headlines and Headers (Web Development and English)

CodeCombat offers courses in web development. Students can apply their skills to writing in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students can write a paragraph regarding any topic, and then they can apply the elements like <p>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> to the left margin of their writing. Students can then apply additional elements of basic syntax, headers, images, and organization to design a webpage. Once students have placed the desired elements into their work, webpages are automatically published to a custom URL so that students can easily share their finished work with others.

Idea 5 – Boss Level (Computer Sciences, Mathematics and English)

Students will work collaboratively to find a creative way of defeating this boss. Students also have to apply skills in mathematics and computer sciences to develop solutions for collecting coins, hiring mercenaries, and to heal their hero (character). Students can work in pairs and they can share their strategies and tips with other teams. Students can make observations about the level on grid paper before tackling this level, and then teams can plan out their solutions.

Helpful Resources


About the Author

Josh Charpentier has been an elementary school teacher for 10 years. He has taught in the Bronx, New York, and is currently working for the P.V.N.C.C.D.S.B. in Peterborough, Ontario. He started the graduate program at UOIT in 2013 and has been completing his Master of Education degree as a part-time student for 4 years. From his experience in elementary school, he definitely sees the potential benefits of introducing computer sciences and web development teachings to students in elementary classrooms and is a proponent of technology integration in education.

email: joshua.charpentier@uoit.net   Twitter: jjncharpentier

Quizlet: Do You Need It? You Decide!

Study on the go, challenge your friends and engage your students with a fun and mobile quiz application.

Overview

Quizlet is an online study tool available on any device (desktop, iOS, and Android) for students and teachers to practice learning in an engaging way. Any age group of students can use Quizlet either in class, individually or with friends (see how they started).

Key Benefits:

    • Study on the go with Quizlet.
    • Encourage students to take ownership of their learning.
    • Promote in-class engagement using Quizlet Live.

Getting Started

To appreciate the benefits of using Quizlet, you will have first to create a study set and determine how you will deliver the content to the class using the many different study mode options. Below are two videos to help you get started using Quizlet.

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Visual Knowledge Practice (K-12/Higher Ed)

Placing an image in any Quizlet study mode allows the student to review a picture and define what it is they see. An example would be a series of famous paintings from a particular art period where students are required to identify characteristics of the era or movement. The quiz could prompt them to determine the name of the artist’s style, the period, the artist’s name and name of the work. Students can add levels of complexity to their quiz questions as their knowledge on the subject evolves.

Idea 2 – Audio Knowledge Practice (General/K-12)

Using Spell study mode, students can review and test their vocabulary knowledge and “type what they hear” when they hear the audio. Users can also set up Quizlet to read descriptions of an object and have the student identify what it is that they hear labeled. Listening to audio allows students with accessibility challenges to participate and for all students to strengthen their listening skills.

Idea 3 – Vocabulary Strengthening (General/K-12)

Students studying vocabulary can review definitions or attributes of a word or phrase using Quizlet Flashcards. Images can be used to support student memory through repetition delivered in a fun game (remember images are only available in the paid versions). Adjectives can be provided to help students identify the word (noun) associated with the attribute. Students can use descriptive keywords in any language and can assist in strengthening their comprehension. Teachers can create their study sets or choose to explore other educator’s quizzes. Students are also able to search existing quizzes that may support their learning or decide to set up their own.

Helpful Resources

Quizlet.com | How Can Teachers Use Quizlet
A step-by-step guide to setting up your class on Quizlet

Edshelf.com | Quizlet Review
Video: Educator’s overview of Quizlet used for a secondary English class

Ditchthattextbook.com | Game Show Classrooms
Educator’s review of Quizlet, Kahoot and Quizalize features

PCMag.com | Quizlet Review
The pros and cons of using Quizlet

Cost

Free Version

  • Quizlet is available for free with a variety product features. Quizlet for free is available for desktop, mobile (iOS and Android) and is also available as a Google Chrome app.

Paid Version

  • Quizlet Plus is available for $19.99 USD/1 Year or 2 and 3-year discounted subscriptions. Quizlet Plus enables users to create their voice recordings, add their images, study over time with Long-Term learning and study ad-free.
  • Quizlet Teacher is available for $34.99 USD per year. School discounts are available for multiple users and larger groups. Quizlet Teacher enables teachers the ability to add their voice recordings, images and search teacher-created content. Additionally, teachers can use features for managing multiple class activity and student progress. Teachers with a Quizlet Teacher account will receive a specialized “Teacher” badge next to their user name, which means faster support when you need it.

Google Classroom – The Key to a Paperless Classroom

It is taking classrooms by storm. Test out this intuitive platform that increases productivity and reduces teacher workload.

Overview

Have you always wanted to reduce the number of wasted photocopies you make every year? Are you looking for a user-friendly platform? Look no more! Google Classroom is an online blended learning platform that is readily available to educators as part of Google Apps for Education (GAFE). Google Classroom allows teachers to set up a collaborative online learning space where students can submit assignments, complete quizzes, access shared documents, comment on posts, and easily access class files with Google Drive seamlessly integrated.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Creating a paperless classroom has never been easier – share Google Docs, invite peer collaboration, and easily collect student assignments in one easy-to-navigate platform.
  • Google Classroom allows for seamless integration of all Google Apps (Google Docs, Calendar, Drive, Gmail, Sheets, Forms, Slides).
  • Content is available 24/7 and can be accessed on any mobile device with an internet browser.

Getting Started

Google has developed numerous how-to videos, making it easy for educators to participate in professional development and implement new ideas in the classroom.

Teaching Ideas

Google Classroom has unlimited potential. It has been called “Google Drive Management”…providing educators and students an easy way to connect all that Google Apps for Education has to offer. Here are just a few ways that Google Classroom can make your life easier!

Idea 1 – Post Templates / Notes

Google Classroom’s media stream is the perfect platform for posting student handouts, assignments, or URL links. No longer can students use the excuse, “I forgot my homework at school.” When templates are created in Google Docs, students can easily begin to collaborate on tasks. Documents can be tailored to individual student needs, and shared with specific individuals rather than the whole class.

Idea 2 – Communicate from a Distance

Never fret about sudden illness. Use Google Classroom to communicate from a distance. Leaving supply material has never been easier – simply upload student instructions, URL links, a video file or attachments from home. Similarly, students who are away from class can see what they have missed and proactively work to get caught up.

Idea 3 – Complete, Track and Evaluate Paperless Quizzes and Assignments

Tired of trying to track down missing assignments? Do you waste time marking multiple choice and true/false questions? Use Google Classroom as an online assessment tool. Quizzes and Assignments can be easily shared using a URL or through one of Google’s G Suite Apps (such as Google Forms). Students can submit their assignment electronically, attaching required documents or photos to their submission. Educators can easily assess student work, assign a grade, and provide individualized feedback.

Helpful Resources

Cost

Did you know that Google Classroom is FREE for educators? All Google G Suite for Education programs are free.

The Wikispaces Classroom

The all in one collaboration tool. Works like an LMS, but incorporates co-writing, and co-editing to foster a collaborative learning environment. 

By Alysha Doria

Overview

Wikispaces classroom allows you to create a safe and private space to connect, communicate and collaborate with your students. The Wikispaces Classroom uses a Wiki allowing students to co-write and contribute to course content. The Wikispace creates a student-centered environment where students are accountable for their own learning process and engaged in active learning. The Wikispace is particularly useful when integrating problem-based learning into the curriculum.

Getting Started

Signing up for Wikispaces is EASY! And using it in the classroom is even easier. Wikispaces provides a set of educational resources to help teachers use the specific tools tailored to education. Wikispaces also has a YouTube Channel which provides overviews and tutorials on how to use the Wikispaces classroom.

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1- Write Collaboratively 

Who doesn’t want to write a story together? Students can Co-write, Co-edit and fact-check each other’s work when writing a wiki page collectively. Collaborative writing allows the students to construct their own knowledge and can even improve writing skills! Collaborative writing is especially useful in problem-based learning environments

Idea 2– Share and Store Resources 

The days of “Where did I see that document?” are gone! The Wikispace classroom allows you to share files, documents, articles, news stories (and pretty much anything else you can think of) with your students. The best part? They can share them with you too.

Idea 3- Discussion, Discussion, Discussion 

I know what you’re thinking: “Asynchronous discussion? How boring” but on the contrary. Students are able to use discussions similar to a social news feed. Posts can be answering a question you have posted or asking questions to you and their peers. Either way, it is a simple way for them to communicate as a classroom, just don’t forget to participate with them.

Helpful Resources

Cost and Alternatives

You can sign up for Wikispaces Classroom for free. Wikispaces also has a campus version which starts at $1,000.00/year for up to 100 users. This is for schools that wish to have an institution wide wiki. If you are looking to increase your user count you can have unlimited users for the cost of $2,000.00/year but only for K-12 environments. If you are a higher education institution, the cost for unlimited users increases to $6,000.00/year!

Alternatively, if the Wikispace Classroom is not for you, you can try using PB Works. They have a free basic account for educators which allows for 1 Wiki workspace, 2 GB of storage and free customer support. They also have a paid version which has more features such as 40 GB of storage, 100 user limit, Custom security and custom personalization settings for $99/year (this is still only one wiki) or if you would like 1000 user and unlimited wikis, you can opt for the $799/ year option.

Lastly, there is Google Sites. This google application works with all other Google applications as part of your google drive. You can turn on and off sites for viewing and collaborating and manage the way the site is shared. Google sites is free with your Gmail account.

Kaizena: Terrific Tool for Giving Meaningful Feedback to Students

Online program is easy to learn and navigate. Allows teachers to give personalized feedback on student work.

Overview

Kaizena is a student feedback program that allows instructors to provide meaningful and personalized commentary on submitted work. Teachers have the ability to highlight specific areas of submitted work (sentences, words, or paragraphs) and leave audio or written feedback for that highlighted area. This is an effective tool for both blended and online classes as it allows for teachers an intimate setting where feedback on student work is specific and finely tuned to student’s needs.

Getting Started

Do you dread sitting down and marking student work? Kaizena offers an amazing alternative where assessing student work becomes a rewarding experience for both teachers and students. Check out this short video on how to get started on Kaizena!

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1- Provide Personalized Feedback

Kaizena allows teachers to provide detailed written and audio feedback to student work. Teachers can highlight specific sections of student work and link that area to written or audio feedback.

Idea 2- Connect Lessons to Student Work

Through Kaizena teachers are able to construct a group of lessons, for example a YouTube video detailing how to use APA Citations, and link that lesson directly to the specific area of student work. This tool allows students to be linked directly to lessons to see where they might have gone wrong or alternatively where they went right.

Idea 3- Connect Feedback directly with Assessment Criteria

Teachers are able to highlight specific areas of student work and provide a leveled grade on the associated skill being assessed. For example giving students a level 3 for citations or a level 4 for persuasive writing. This tool allows teachers to be as transparent as possible when assessing student work.

Helpful Resources

 Costs

The greatest part of Kaizena is that it is free to use!

Google Forms – A Teacher’s Digital Swiss Army Knife

Google Forms is a free tool that comes with your Google account. Forms can be used for a variety of different educational purposes, making it the perfect edtech utility tool for educators.

Overview

Google Forms allows the user to create quick surveys that can be shared via email, social media apps like Twitter and Facebook or embedded in a website. Setting up a Google Form is intuitive and easy which allows for quick survey creation and real-time data collection and analysis.

Getting Started

If you already have a Google account most of your setup work is already complete. If you do not have a Google account you will have to sign up for an account. If you have an account already simply log in and navigate to http://drive.google.com. From there, click the “New” button, then select “More” and finally “Google Forms”. The following video does a great job of walking you through the process.

Teaching Ideas

Diagnostic Assessments (General)

Google Forms allow you to create quick diagnostic assessments that can be used at the beginning of your lesson. The results of your diagnostic questions can be analyzed in real-time, which you can view either as a summary (charts and graphs) or as a spreadsheet. These kinds of diagnostic activities could be modified slightly to be a lesson summary activity as well.

Peer Evaluations (General)

Creating a form for peer evaluations is made possible by selecting the “Multiple choice grid” and placing all of the criteria you want students to assess each other on in the appropriate row.  The score the student assigns to their peer(s) will be selected with a check in the appropriate column.  There is also a question type that allows for linear scale questions which might be preferred as they can be followed up with a short answer question asking the student for a rationale for the mark they awarded.

Rubrics (General)

Instead of creating rubrics in a word processor, try using a Google Form.  Creating your rubric as a Form allows you to easily grade student work on any device that has access to the Internet. Once you have finished assessing the student work you can quickly copy the feedback for each student and share it with them.

  • Example of a Google Forms rubric

Helpful Resources

Getting Started with Forms

A quick introduction to using Google Forms.

Practical ways to use Google Forms

Matt Miller from DitchthatTextbook lists 20 practical ways educators can use Google Forms.

Google Forms Add-ons

Some of the best Google Forms and Google Sheets add-ons for teachers.

Cost

Google Forms is free of cost. The only requirement is that you must have a Google account to create a Form, you do not have to have a Google account to respond to a form. The only other requirement for Google Forms is that you need an internet connection. If you think you are going to be in a location where connectivity is an issue, you may want to have your students fill out the Form(s) prior to coming to class. As of the publication date of this post, there is no paid version of Google Forms.


Author: David Swerdfeger

Email: davidswerdfeger@gmail.com

Twitter: twitter.com/DaveSwerdfeger

David Swerdfeger is an eLearning Content Developer for the Centre for Academic and Faculty Enrichment at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario Canada.  David also works as a part-time professor of mathematics and communications for the School of Interdisciplinary Studies and the School of Skilled Trades, Apprentices and Renewable Technologies at Durham College.  David has been working in the field of education since 2010 and enjoys integrating the right pieces of technology into his teaching practice.