Four Free Online Audio Editors

Well is that time of year again where students start to create projects. As always I spend time talking about copy-write
Audacity screenshot of Chromatic Fantasia (Bac...laws and what is and is not acceptable use of others material. This always leads to a lot of frustration on the part of students as they look for music and audio files to add to their movies, podcasts and radio plays and other assorted multimedia projects. To help my students I have over that past years bookmarked many different sites for students to use in creating their own music and audio files. There are many different options out there for students to use. The following four however seem to be the ones that my students have used over and over again. They like the simplicity and they all provide just enough instruction and materials to make it easy for students to create their own audio files. But the two best things about these four sites are that they are free and online.
One word of warning!! Have students create these files as the last thing that they do for their projects! They enjoy making music and can spend hours on these sites.
  1. Creaza    This is a free audio editor that is great for making podcasts, sound tracks and other audio projects. It has a simple to use interface that is typical for this type of application. Like most audio editors Creaza allows you to add files along the timeline and over multiple channels. You can also record sound and add it to your project. This is a free application but does require that you create an account.
  2. beatlab    Allows you to simply create your own background music and short music clips for videos and podcasts. This is a simple to use site that can be a lot of fun.
  3. Musicshake     This another free site that allows you to create sound tracks and audio tracks. This site is great for making podcasts, sound tracks and other audio projects. It has a simple timeline interface like other audio editors that allows you to have multiple channels. This site also works connects well with YouTube and Facebook. It is worth a look.
  4. FileLab Web Applications    This site allows you to edit audio and share them on the web. This is a free site and quite simple to use. Can only be used on a Windows machine. Again another typical audio editor.
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Students Answer Visually with Jing a Great Learning Tool

Over the past few weeks, I have started having students use images to explain concepts on their blogs.  This has been a stretch for them, since they had to find just the right image to post to their blog to answer the question.  One of my students began using the free version of Jing to capture and share his images, which worked very well for him.  Since then, all the computers in our lab now have Jing on them and students are using this application to capture and share partial and full images from the web in their blogs.   They can even edit the images that they have captured.  I have found that having students present answers in alternate ways really pushes my students to gain a true understanding of topics.  Also, it leads to great conversations about the subject, as students discuss each others images.  I have found this to be a win-win for me in the classroom.  I thought that this was a great exercise and Jing was a great free tool for students to use in this situation.

Check it out at: http://jingproject.com/

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YouTube A Bandwidth Problem? Try This!

In our school district YouTube has been the source of many different conversations and debates.  The amount of good content and the inability to use this content has had many of us teachers frustrated.  So our district unblocked YouTube on teacher computers only.  We were excited about using this resource in our classrooms and promptly began using YouTube.  This brought up another issue within our district and that was bandwidth.  As more teachers began to use this resource we found our bandwidth was often maxed out and the district wide slowdown of our internet service became a big problem.   This became a huge frustration for many teachers wanting to use their new resource.  The answer was simple and only took a little time to decimate the information to teachers to fix this problem.

The workaround was to download the video in the morning and keep it cached or download the video for the day on to your computer.  This solved the problem in our district for now.  Obviously, our hope is that our district will improve our bandwidth, so in the future this will not be an issue.  Until then however this will suffice and keep our teachers moving in in the right direction with technology.   Here are a list of programs we recommend to our staff to download YouTube videos.  (We did tell teachers to only keep them on their hard-drive for the day they were using the video in class and we also discussed copyright laws.)

Get your YouTube Video here!

  1. 3OUtube: http://3outube.com/
  2. YouTube Video Downloader: http://download-youtube-videos.org/
  3. aTube Catcher
  4. YouTube Downloader
  5. Orbit Downloader: http://www.orbitdownloader.com/
  6. KeepVid : http://keepvid.com/
  7. VideoDownloader
  8. DownloadYoutTubeVideos.com
  9. VideoDL: http://www.videodl.org/
  10. YTD YouTube Video Downloader

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Prezi not just another online resource! Its useful!

So today after reading about Prezi and half heartedly looking at this new online resource, I decided to give it a try in class.  So I took the lesson I had created for today in Powerpoint and began the process of cutting and pasting and put all of the information into Prezi.  I found the process to create presentations to be surprisingly easy.  As a typical guy, I did not read any of the directions or watch any of the how-to videos that they provide and was able to create my lesson quite quickly.  The only issues that I ran into was that image files needed to be GIF format and videos in Flash format.

As I presented the information to the students, they seemed to enjoy the  presentation and were captivated by the zoom in and zoom out functions during the presentation.  As an added bonus, all of your presentations are kept online so that you can access them from anywhere.   Also this site allows you to embed these presentations into your class website and download them onto your computer.  I took sometime to show this to other faculty members, and they to thought that it would be a useful resource for presenting information to their perspective classes.  This is a resource that I know I will use again and recommend for other teachers.  It is simple to use and it enables you to create presentations quickly and easily.  So if you have not already, check out this resource at http://prezi.com.

Note: Teachers be sure to check out the discount rate they offer to upgrade to the pro version.