Welcome to Meels

Audacity - A Class with SAAS

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the course. Today is lesson #1. We begin by looking at Audacity and how it is very useful for creating basic audio content.

Before we start, think about how important spoken language is in real life. More so than written text, spoken language is very important for sharing culture, developing relationships with people, and just doing simple stuff like daily interactions. Still, spoken language is not utilized in language classes nearly as much as it should be. If it is used, it is often dry and unrealistic. Content creators usually write their lessons, but they rarely record their materials in audio form. Also audio content is usually prescribed, meaning it was written and then read by voice actors. Teachers also tend to use commercial material rather than create their own audio lessons. Why is this?

Part of the problem is that for hundreds of years education was driven by textbooks. The invention of the printing press allowed societies to PUSH their knowledge. But today we have the technology to PUSH our lessons with other mediums.

In other words we can produce our lessons, use our lessons, share our lessons and host our lessons, all because of the new era in education - the post-printing press era. We are no longer bound by books so to speak.

With computers and smartphones we can do the following:

  • Produce audio lessons
  • Use audio lessons 
  • Share audio lessons
  • Host audio lessons

Today we look at a free tool that makes it possible to produce audio lessons with ease, and another tool to use them, host them, and share them. 

We also look at some sample lessons hosted on Box. There are three different audio lesson types: three mini-lectures, one model conversation, and two listening puzzles. All were easy to make using Audacity.

So for today’s lessons, please do the following:

1) Watch the lesson on how to use Audacity. You can download it for free at audacityteam.org

2) Make a short sample audio for homework (as explained in the video)

3) Listen to the sample lessons on Box.

4) Take the class survey

This survey will help me prepare future lessons. We will learn about using Google Forms later this week.

Also, notice that the video is hosted on Teachable. We will use this platform for most of the videos. Later in the course you will learn how to use Teachable to make an online course.

Lastly, today is a rare day in that it is very heavy, so please do not feel overwhelmed if you cannot do the assignments, just save the email and do them when you are free. Audacity is one of the major tools we will use so if you cannot get to it right away, you can always do it later.

That is all for today and see you tomorrow as we talk about Blogger - one of my favorite ed tech tools! 

See you then!


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Notes, Tips and Tricks!

SAAS stands for Software as a Service, which means software that you access online at a remote server. Blogger, Drive and Forms are all SAAS because you do not download them.

Audacitiy is a tradictional software in that you need to download it.

Evernote is a hybrid, like Dropbox in that you can sync it to your computer but to operate effectively, you need an online account.

For the course, you need to have a Gmail Account but once you have a Gmail account you get to access all the other Google Products for free from that account. In other words, once you have an account you can create content on Forms, Drive, and Blogger without having to create a new account!

Did you know?

On Blogger, you can create multiple blogs under one account, which is perfect for teachers with different classes of varying levels or subject matter.

Box and Dropbox are two other great free file hosting and sharing services that rival Drive. Also, for people not interested in using the Google eco-system of products, they can use Joomla, Wordpress, Wix, or Weebly just as effectively. They are all free too!


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