Free Materials For Teachers

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Free Sound Editor
Did you ever want to get rid of the pop at the end of your students’ recordings? Have you ever found a nice bit of music or a sound effect to add to an activity you are building, but it’s a little too long? You need a nice, simple sound editor. And while you’re wishing, how about wishing for a free one! Your wish is granted!

What’s Audacity?
The freeware application Audacity is a powerful, easy to use sound editor that works on both Mac and Windows, including the latest version of both operating systems. After spending only a short time with it, I could load sound files, record, change the pitch so that my voice sounded like a baritone or a child’s voice, convert a sound effect to match the same format as my recording, and paste in my sound effect after the recording to create one long track. Some features I don’t know how to use—I don’t know that much about sound—but there are many useful and easy features even for the sound-ignorant.

Download A Tutorial
The PDF file you can download from this page will get you started with Audacity, and take you step by step through the functions I learned in my first adventure. Try it out–it might make a fun and productive short workshop. After that, you’ll hopefully be posting comments here on new ways you have found to use this handy application!

Download Freeware
Download the latest version of Audacity from the Source Forge web site. Follow the instructions on the Audacity site for installation on your particular operating system. Download, decompress, and install the main Audacity application, and also download and install the optional LAME MP3 encoder, which allows Audacity to export MP3 files. Using MP3 files will save you plenty on file size, and many applications (Classroom Suite, Clicker 5, My Own Bookshelf, and the newer versions of PowerPoint) can load and use them.

Sources For Free Sounds
One obvious use for Audacity would be customizing and linking up sound effects. For a library of 5,000 free sounds,go to beachware.com. You will need to install the Shockwave plug-in, and then you can browse the entire sound library sorted by category. For more free sounds, look in the sidebar on this page for the Free Stuff links (scroll below the Contact Me button). The Free Sound Project is an especially good source, and as of 2019 it had over 400,000 sounds! For more information read Discover Freesound, a post I wrote about it.

Getting Help
Audacity comes with a good reference manual, but sometimes it’s not enough. Luckily, many people use Audacity, and many of them have taken the time to write useful tutorials. For example, I could not figure out how the Noise Reduction filter works. That’s one you’ll probably need, to get rid of wind noise, motors, hiss, and other static in a recording. I searched for an answer, and found very clear instructions in a technology blog article originally written by Deepak Morris in 2006. He even wrote an updated version in 2015! I use that tutorial so often I’m adding a link to it on this page. Anyhow, if you need help, ask, and probably someone has posted an answer.

Application needed: Audacity (see download link below)
Subject area: Sound editing.
Level: Author, teacher tip.

Online Link-Freeware

CLICK HERE to go to the Audacity download page. Versions for both Mac and Win.

Tutorials

MoreAudacity.pdf (417 KB) Audacity quickstart tutorial.
More Audacity tutorial online Online version of the Audacity quickstart tutorial, ready to present to groups.
Remove noise … with Audacity 2.1.0 Excellent tutorial by Deepak Morris on how to use Audacity’s Noise Reduction filter to remove hiss or other unwanted noise from a recorded sound.

July 5th, 2008 at 7:55 pm

 

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