10 Great ways to use Audacity with your Students

Audacity is a great audio editor for use in the classroom. It can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, and the best part about it is that it is free!

NB: The Mac equivalent, GarageBand is another great option if you are at a Mac school, but in the interests of all users, I’ll refer to Audacity.

To quote their website, Audacity can be used to:
* Record live audio.
* Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
* Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
* Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
* Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
* And more

Here are 10 great ways you could use Audacity with your students.

  1. Make an audio/radio advertisement - My Grade 3 students are using Audacity to advertise products the school produces to support service learning for their Advertising unit.
  2. Promote language learning – record kids speaking in one of their language classes then upload to Voki to create speaking Avatars. One of the Mandarin teachers at our school, Wendy Liao, did this very successfully with Grade 4 students.
  3. Create Podcasts – limited only by your imagination. I recommend checking out what Kim Cofino and colleagues are doing with Podcasts at ISB. Celeste Hopkins and her Grade 2 students use Audacity to create podcasts of book reviews, reports and poetry readings. Mr Balcom‘s students created music tracks for their video podcasts. Find a need and get podcasting!
  4. Record speeches to provide evidence of learning, and upload to Glogster (a wonderful online poster tool) to share with a wider audience, as I’m doing with Grade 4 students for their environmental unit.
  5. Promote reading development by recording kids reading books, as Colin Becker outlines in his post on Emerging Readers.
  6. Create sound stories for images using free sound effects websites, as my Grade 2 students are doing for the school arts festival. You could easily use creative commons Flickr photos as your source of  ‘sound-rich’ images.
  7. Record sound for PowerPoint slides to enhance any presentation (hat tip to Colin Becker).
  8. Record comments/opinions to load to a Voicethread at a later stage. This can be useful if there are problems with multiple users on a Voicethread or to save time.
  9. Record compositions or class singing to share with others (e.g. parents).
  10. Record soundtracks for animations as my Grade 4 students did for their animation project on the systems of the human body.

Do you ideas for using Audacity in the classroom that you could add to the list?
I look forward to hearing them!

34 thoughts on “10 Great ways to use Audacity with your Students

  1. Great list! For those who teach language, a web-based digital recorder like TEFLspeaking.com is more convenient. No software download needed, and it’s much simpler to use than Audacity.

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  3. I saw your post regarding audio projects for students using Audacity and though I would provide some links to *free* royalty free music and sound effects for the teachers and students to use in their audio projects.

    On this page there is a collection of free royalty free music loops that are perfect of idents, stings or background music behind a voice-over. Available for personal and commercial use, no strings attached:
    Free Royalty Free Music Loops

    This page has thousands of free sound effects to download and use, organized into easy to search categories:
    Free Sound Effects

    This blog constantly posts new royalty free music and sound effects that are available for use in personal and commercial projects:
    Royalty Free Music Clips

    Download and enjoy.
    Good luck with your projects.

  4. Great blog in general and post in particular! One detail though – Audacity may be used by Windows, but equally on Mac (and even Linux). Why bother with it if you have GarageBand? The fact is, not everyone owns a Mac and Audacity projects (don’t forget to include their corresponding data folder) can be moved between platforms via USB key etc. A really good reason to support Open Source!
    Cheers, Chris

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  18. I’m still a fan of audacity. Even though this was posted awhile ago, it’s still relevant since Audacity has continued to improve. Great software (and yes, FREE) and I do all of my multi-tracking with it.

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  27. Fantastic examples. Wondering … if a teacher is using Sesame IO digital portfolio to assess student audio work, how can I upload it to the Sesame IO system?

    • Hi Sylvia,

      I’m glad you found this useful. I’m afraid I have no knowledge of the Sesame IO digital portfolio. Could you contact them regarding this question?

      Keri-Lee :)

    • Hey Sylvia, Ian from Sesame IO here. After you’ve created the recording using Audacity, you can upload that to the student’s (or students’ if it’s group work) portfolio along with anecdotal notes or even assess it using rubrics and checklists that focuses on specific skills. This functions the same way as with photos, videos, links, or any other mediums that students work in.

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