What is Audacity?

Audacity is a free sound-editing program that can be downloaded from the Internet. I have used it for podcasting in my classroom and found it to be very easy to learn. For those just starting out, you may want to check out a tutorial on Audacity.

Why Use Audacity?

Many people use Audacity to create and edit podcasts, but there are many more ways you can use Audacity in the classroom besides podcasting. For the reading and language arts class, you can read poetry outloud for hear the rhythm and rhyme. You can record reader's theater, storytelling, or examples of reading fluency for each child. The students can write interviews, how-to instructions, and classroom news sessions. Listen to this example recording by Christopher Walken for "The Raven" and imagine being able to create similar performances in your visual and performing arts class. Speech teachers and ESL teachers can use Audacity to record a child's pronunciation and use the recordings to show progress. Reading teachers may want to record students for reading fluency and compare the recordings every month or every quarter to check for progress. For music class, teachers can record students singing or playing instruments. If you have a projector that will allow you to project your computer in class, you can then play and show the music to your class to demonstrate rhythm and sound waves. Audacity can be found in math lessons as well. There is one lesson that teaches all about the dynamics of sound waves and another that teaches you to "see music" with harmony and dissonance. Check out the lesson plans!
Remember, there is no power like the power of the spoken word.
Children find listening to their own voice motivating (I know, go figure), so why not channel that into something powerful in the classroom? Once I started podcasting with my third grade class, even my most reluctant writers were scrambling to get information onto paper.
If you would like training on how to use Audacity in your classroom, contact your Technology Resource Teacher.

Podcast Example

Audacity Tutorial

Sound Websites

Now that you know Audacity, where can you find music and sound effects to enhance your projects? Here are a few sites below to help get you started. Remember to check the copyright notice on each site before using any of these audio clips.

Discovery Streaming: Did you know you can download sound effects here?

Free Sound Project

Magna Tune

Partners in Rhyme

Absolute Sound Effects (pop up ads on this site)

Find Sounds*
  • When you perform a search using FindSounds.com or the WebPalette feature of FindSounds Palette, you obtain links to audio files hosted by Web sites throughout the world. The sounds in these audio files may be copyrighted and their use governed by national and international copyright laws. FindSounds.com does not offer advice on the fair use of these files.