Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Scope of Audacity.

If I had to name my top resources of all time, Audacity would have to be somewhere near the top.

For the uninitiated Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sound.

I have been aware of Audacity for a couple of years since I sent a colleague to a course run by Bernard Clark, the language college director at Durham Johnston School on how to convert cassettes to mp3 files.

She was unimpressed, but I was fascinated, so I took the CD of Bernard's materials and learned, to my great advantage, not just how to convert tapes (and clean up the crackly sound), but also to record students' GCSE presentations and model speaking questions and answers, and send them via bluetooth to their mobile phones and i-Pods.

I have also taught my students to use Audacity to record their voices and experiment with the voice-changing effects to make Crazytalk clips of French and German speaking celebrities. They really enjoy it.

This summer I accidentally discovered José Picardo's youtube video "podcasting in 5 easy steps", which does exactly what it says on the label, in 5 minutes and 13 seconds. From that I learned even more about Audacity, including adding effects such as changing voice pitch, adding backing tracks and fading sound in and out.

Then last week I attended a links into languages course at Sunderland's City Learning Centre in Washington (the original one in North East England) organised by Clare Seccombe and expertly led by Joe Dale, now of CILT.

The course was great in that, under expert guidance, I got to spend a few hours practising what I had picked up from Bernard's CD, José's youtube clip and my own experiments and got to put them all together to create an (almost) professional sounding podcast.

Unlike many of the courses I attend, this one was useful, fun and educational (funducational).

If podcasting sounds like something you'd like to do, click on all the links to the resources I used, set aside a couple of hours and teach yourself.

Better still, check out the links website and persuade your line manager to let you attend Joe's course next time he is in your Local Authority. You won't regret it.

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