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What Audacity! A new nerdy toy for Mom

August 14, 2007

Chers Amis,

Hat tip to Priya (et Dave).  I have a new toy on my computer – Audacity, a free down-loadable audio editorAudacity
and recording software. 
I purchased an inexpensive headphone/microphone set this summer in hopes of using it to help me bi-locate ๐Ÿ™‚  One of my frustrations last year was trying to be in two or more places at once, listening to Caddie’s narration on St. Stephen of Hungary or Robert E. Lee while reading a book to Pippin and giving Scarlett her spelling test.  Padre Pio I am NOT (needless to say.)  So I was in one place, irritated and overwhelmed.  My plan for this year was to find a way to be able to record short audio files that the kids could listen too when I was busy with someone else. For example by recording Unit I spelling test for Scarlett in advance, "Number one,  candidate,  Which candidate for president received the most votes. Candidate.  Number two, pollster. . ." Unfortunately I found that the only audio program that came free on my computer was limited to sixty seconds.  Even I can’t squeeze 20 words into that tight interval. I did record the Caddie’s spelling list  on this program last week, but she had to hit play, pause (write answer), play, pause (write answer) twenty plus times.  She enjoyed the novelty and it really did free me up to give the other test, but it was tedious. 

     I mentioned this limited solution to a friend and she suggested I download Audacity. Her dh has used it for his work in linguistics/education.  I love it!  It is really quite sophisticated and I have only scratched the surface of what it can do, but it has great possibility.  I recorded the girls’ vocabulary words for French with instructions to ecoutez et repetez " Numero un – le frere ………… le  frere ……….le frere.  Numero deux –  la mere (etc.) They were then able to return to the beginning of the ‘clip’ and hit record again. This time the software played my voice track and allowed them to ‘listen and repeat after me’ during the pauses while recording their voice.  When we played it back we heard: Numero un – le frere .le frere.. le  frere ..le frerele frere.  It also shows a sonograph of the audio.  The girls loved hearing themselves speak and were able to really hear how they pronounced words.  Still feeling a bit rusty myself, I recorded myself reading aloud from one of my favorite little books, La Premiere Gorgee de Biere et Autres Plaisirs miniscules by Philippe Delerm.  Not nearly as bad as I thought (although , Helene, you might say otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚ Again, it was very useful to hear problem areas.

The program also allows you to cut, paste and even add effects! So how will I use this?  There is no limit to track length (that I have seen) so I can record:

  • spelling tests
  • poetry/memory work
  • read aloud tapes for Pippin from picture books or short selections such as our Saint of the day
  • oral narrations
  • oral reports
  • ‘radio shows’
  • singing/music
  • and more!

The girls had GREAT fun recording fictitious commercials and news reports this afternoon.  I feel a radio show or news broadcast coming on.  You can also export MP3 files which I should be able to upload ๐Ÿ™‚ here.  We shall see if that works.  Please let me know if you all have any ideas for other uses of this neat new tool.

–Marjorie

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2007 5:10 pm

    Wow, that sounds great! So I could record my whole homeschooling day and then just lie on the couch and read?

    Do you think someone who is computer illiterate could figure it out?

  2. August 16, 2007 12:37 am

    We have been using Audacity for awhile now for sound editing for plays and such. I LOVE it! Sung has even figured out a way to record sounds directly off the internet even if there is no MP3. That has come in handy. But it NEVER occurred to me to use it for school. Thanks for sharing!

  3. August 16, 2007 9:08 am

    As a gadget junky all I can say is WooooHooooo! My children and I have had so much fun playing with Audacity this morning. Thanks for the tip.

  4. hรฉlรจne permalink
    August 19, 2007 2:56 pm

    Si tu as besoin d’enregistrements de “native french” avec un petit accent du sud, je peux aider …

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