E-learning Toolkit: Audio
For this E-learning toolkit activity, I used Audacity to record 10 .mp3 files that I have uploaded to my moodle course. The purpose of these voice recordings is to have audio support for the reading component of the course; the descriptions of the Milky Way, the Sun and the planets. In each module, there is a resource titled “Centres de littéracie / Literacy Centers”. When you click on the name of each planet, you will notice an image of an ear holding a megaphone with the words “Cliquez sur l’oreille!” in red beside the image. Looks like this:
Cliquez sur l’oreille!
When the student clicks on the ear, a new window opens up and they will hear my voice recording reading out the text. After the recording has been listened to, the students must close the window to return to the course. From there, they can click on the word “Description” to see the text that was just read out for that topic.
I have used Audacity before in ETEC 510 for my Group Design Project. My group created a technology enhanced language project designed to assist educators in enhancing the Spanish oral proficiency skills of their students. Students used Audacity to record conversations in Spanish which were then posted to their oral portfolio.
When I first started using Audacity, I remember struggling and struggling with exporting to an .mp3 file. Once I realized that I had to download the LAME plug-in for my operating system, I really had the ball rolling! This was the biggest challenge in using Audacity. For the toolkit activity, I followed the instructions and made my recordings without any difficulty. From there, I uploaded the files to the appropriate folder in moodle and was easily able to link the files to the “ear” image. Once I had my system in place, it was just a matter of clicking here and there!
In the past I have also used GarageBand with iTunes to create .mp3 audio files. However, these programs are specific to Mac computers and Audacity is open source and cross-platform making it possibly more accessible to more users. When deciding on a process for students to follow in our ETEC 510 group project, we chose to design it around the use of Audacity for this reason.
Using Audacity has made my course more accessible to my students. In Grade One, students range from emergent readers to students who are already decoding words and reading them with comprehension. By adding in an audio file, students who are emerging as readers have the opportunity to listen to the text instead of struggling through it. Furthermore, students who are already reading can listen to the audio and can practice reading with fluency. This is very important, especially when learning a second language.
By adding audio files to a course, the principles of Universal Design for Learning are considered. The paradigm of UDL, which was first developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), is a means of respecting a variety of diverse individual learning styles without requiring adaptation. This theoretical framework promotes the success for all learners by inherently having the flexibility to support each individual’s needs. UDL applies to all learners, not exclusively to individuals with disabilities, but aims to provide everyone with equal access to learning.
Audacity is a very powerful tool that I will be using to enhance my teaching.