Podcasting Made Simple – Part 3 – Audacity

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Aaron Puley in education, podcasting

The first platform that I want to discuss for recording podcasts is Audacity. This easy to use, free, open source software is available for download at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Version 1.2.6 is the latest stable version as is for the Windows 98/ME/2000/XP platforms.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not supported in Audacity 1.2.6. Please use Audacity Beta for these operating systems. All Audacity downloads can be found at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/windows.
To export your completed audio project as an MP3 for uploading to webhosts, you will also need to download the LAME MP3 encoder. Full instructions can be found here http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3 and I will post a screencast in one of the upcoming posts.
The following video is my introduction to Audacity for you, using a Blue Snowball Snowball Microphone. This example demonstrates the laying down of three voice tracks with one audio track, some effects, simple editing, and the exporting of the file to the .mp3 format needed to upload to most web hosts. 

Part 1: Introduction to Audacity and the Recording of Audio Tracks

Part 2: Simple Editing, Moving Tracks, Adding Music, and Exporting to MP3
  1. Paul Bodan says:

    I’m making videos to replace my lectures (high school math). Why use audacity to post them and not youtube? Any other advice for me? If I use the textbook’s example could I have any copyright issues?

    • apuley says:

      Hi, there

      Audacity is an audio recording and editing software only. You can use it to record audio, add multiple tracks, edit, and refine audio only – no video. YouTube is a video hosting platform and is primarily a vehicle to watch videos. You wouldn’t want to host audio files there. You could use audacity to create the audio tracks for a video.

  2. Paul Bodan says:

    Thanks for the reply. I understand now, I think. I make my videos and narrate at the same time, so I don’t think I need to use audacity. The first videos I made had the audio level too quiet, so I was able to turn up the microphone and that fixed the problem.

    Then the files were way too large, so I brought them up in Windows Live Movie Maker and saved them as WMV files and that brought the size way down (the originals were AVI files). Typical size change was 7 gig down to 35 meg. Then I wanted them on my mp3/mp4 player, tried a couple of conversion programs only to find that the program that comes with my player (Sandisk, Sansa) was the only one that works. I should have 10 hand held mp4 players in my classroom next year.

    Is Youtube the best way to get them to my students over the internet? Do you think there is a possible copyright problem with the textbook company because I use their examples?

    • apuley says:

      Hey, there

      The two big video host sites are YouTube and Vimeo. Both would serve your purposes well. There are some things to consider though. Our board recently unblocked YouTube so that it is now accessible by teachers and students to use for inclass instruction, lesson, activity, and research; previously it was blocked. In fact, many school boards block YouTube as their consider it more of a distraction than they do a tool. If it is not blocked then I would to say to use it as you can create a channel for yourself for students to access. You can easily embed those clips in a blog from there. YouTube does have a 10 minute length limit.

      Vimeo is not often blocked and is another great service that also allows easy embeds into blogs. Vimeo only allows HD embeds with a pro account but the HD content plays fine from their site.

      I am looking into your question of copyright – it is a good one and quite valid for us all.

  3. Paul Bodan says:

    Thanks for looking into the copyright question. I have looked a little, but I’m no lawyer. There seems to be at least two points. One being if I am doing something formative with the examples, and I believe that I am. The other being if I am depriving them of an opportunity to make and sell something, and I don’t believe I am doing that. Thanks again, we need more thoughts and expertise about this.

    Edutopia is all abuzz with learning through video games. They posted another blog about it today. I have been playing with Lure of the Labyrinth. It is a fascinating math education game. From what I have seen, I think it should be used in sixth and seventh grades. I’ve spent a couple of hours logged on as a 13 year old and it is quite engaging, very extensive, and very challenging.

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