Going Audio: sound in teaching

gif by Gareth Fowler

Description

This hands-on session provides participants with a broad introduction to using audio in their teaching practice. We share eg of sound used in teaching, the basics of recording and editing audio. You’ll explore a range of audio samples and production tools, from the smart-phones to a professional audio studio. You will practice the basics of audio editing and prepping files to be embedded in your online course.

This session offers a hands on opportunity to use tools and techniques for embedding audio in a classroom context.

Outcomes:

  • To listen to share a variety of educational audio.
  • To record an audio sample and save for editing.
  • To edit an audio files(s) and to make it accessible.


“Can you hear what I hear”?

Using recorded audio in the classroom is old as recorded audio itself. Educational uses of audio were predicted to be amongst the primary uses of the phonograph intended by Edison in 1878.

The audio test recaptured in this historical audio recording from 1927.
Thomas Edison Mary had lamb

Why teach with audio?

Recorded audio can be used in numerous academic contexts.

  • To provide students with a study aid they can review after lecture;
  • To enable students to review the lecture in preparation for discussion and debate;
  • To demonstrate a task, procedure, or complex concept that would benefit from multimedia presentation and/or the ability to watch repeatedly;
  • To use on an ongoing basis as a reference for students;
  • To free up class time for discussion. Making recorded lectures available before class meetings makes more time available for discussion and hands-on activities

At SFU, audio from lectures can be easily be recorded and distributed to students. Check out this page of audio lecture services available at Simon Fraser University.

Educational audio examples

As you listen through some of the examples of educational audio below, consider ways sound could be used in your own learning space.


Sample audio – Early adopter podcast – Modeling Social Phenomena is a lecture edited for podcast from Courtney Brown, Emory University 2006


Sample audio – Storytelling: History 451 A history course in which audio was used to create ‘memoryscapes.’ Audio was also used to demonstrate the task of recording audio and includes some recording tips. Many unique SFU voices were recorded for this project like this interview with one of the facilities workers.

Sample audio – Teachers as producers – http://trusoundcamp.net/resources/products

Sample audio – SFU lecture recording. With and SFU computing ID you can access a wide range of audio recorded lectures – http://cgi.sfu.ca/~lectures/pub_html/cgi-bin/index.php

Sample audioA soundcloud collection

 


Audio recording 101

Start: To complete this lesson, choose an audio recording medium. You can use one of the audio capture devices we bring to the session or, download the Soundcloud app on your mobile device (requires account) and publish to the internet from the field. For a list of devices we use and share see the EdMedia resource page.

Tools – What options do you have to record audio? What are important

Techniques – What conditions should you pay attention to while recording.

 

Activity: Record a short (30-60 second) reflection on audio in the classroom, tell a story about your experience listening to learning, , the workshop, or just make something up. I will add it to the “Amplify your classroom” set on soundlcoud if you forward me your audio.


Getting ready to record your audio project?

Top 6 Audio Recording Tips:

1. Script your dialogue! – Write out your dialogue in a script format and practice, practice, practice!  There is always room for improvisation, but be sure to have the core of your dialogue planed out.

2. Plan out all the gear that will be needed – Are you recording with an external USB mic? Are you recording directly into your laptop microphone? Make sure you plan to have a microphone, any necessary cables, headphones, installed software, etc. Do some test recordings to make sure all your software and hardware are working properly.

3. Find a quiet location – Record somewhere where you can control the environment. Background sounds might be needed in some recording to provide context, but be sure that they dialogue is audible at all times.

4. Get close to the microphone – but not too close – keeping the microphone a foot away ensures the recording is loud enough and that background sounds do not overpower the voice.  If you are to close you’ll pick up loud unwanted plosives and proximity effect. If you want, you can use a windscreen on the microphone to prevent wind and breathes from distorting the microphone capsule.

5. Set a proper level on your recording device – Levels should be set so you see your dialogue is being recorded on the meters at -12db -10db and has absolute peaks at -6db. Make sure to take plenty of time to set proper recording levels!

6. Don’t try to capture “The One” – Make several recording and select the best recording. Give yourself plenty of options when you’re in the editing phase.

 

Editing audio with Audacity 101

Start: To complete this lesson, download Audacity and install it on your editing computer. Make sure you have also installed the LAME encoder to export .MP3 file format.

There are many great resources for Audacity fundamentals out there. On the Audacity website itself there is a great collection of tutorials, but also SFU’s own radio station CJSF provides editing software resources via its wiki. They occasionally host more in depth Audacity workshops so keep an eye on CJSF news!

Audacity basics

Audacity Basics

EMP Audio Workshop Instructions

SFU Vault Resources


Links and references

TRU Soundcamp, Youshow – Many fascinating projects have been developed at Thompson Rivers University creating space for Faculty to experiment with audio.

John Born post -> http://etug.ca/2013/01/08/t-e-l-l-january-audio-in-education/

Keith Webster and Hayley Hewson, Best Tool for Creating Slides with Audio -> http://etug.ca/2015/01/19/t-e-l-l-january-finding-the-best-tool-for-creating-slides-with-audio/

DS106, the preeminent digital storytelling learning experience, is very comfortable with the medium of audio. One of many assignments and resources available from this community.