How to Use
A Guide for Teachers
18th February 2008
Why use Audacity? 3
Benefits of Podcasting 3
What You Need 3
How to Download and Install Audacity 3
Opening Audacity 3
Using Audacity For The First Time 4
Recording Tracks 5
Highlighting Tracks 6
Joining Tracks Together 6
Editing Tracks 7
Exporting as MP3 files 8
Saving a File 9
Opening a New Project 9
Upload to Internet 9
Useful Websites 13
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WHY USE AUDACITY?
Audacity is a free piece of software used by Educators around the world. It is simple and easy to use.
It incorporates many functionalities used in Microsoft packages and so has a familiar look and use.
Podcasting is the creation or audio files available for download or play on the internet.
BENEFITS OF PODCASTING
Pupils can become writers and presenters of their own shows! Podcasts can be used for online
revision notes, glossaries or recording plays, poems and short stories. Teachers can even record
repetitive lessons and then play key points back to students.
WHAT YOU NEED!
An installed copy of Audacity.
HOW TO DOWNLOAD & INSTALL AUDACITY
Audacity is available for download from this webpage:
Follow the simple instructions to save the files on a suitable location on your computer.
Once the files have been downloaded then you run the set-up wizard. It is very much like all new
installations, whereby you follow the step-by-step instructions and select a location for Audacity to be
properly installed on your machine.
Start Menu – All Programs – Music - Audacity
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USING AUDACITY FOR THE FIRST TIME
When you open Audacity up it takes you to a blank project for recording.
The toolbar is very easy to use and understand.
Here is a description of the main buttons:
Play – playing the recorded file. Record – records the sound via mic.
Pause – pauses the current recording. Stop – stops the recording.
Other notable buttons are the Skip to Start and Skip to End buttons, which takes the recording to
the beginning or end.
Also for the purposes of this beginner’s guide we will assume the Selection Tool is
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To begin recording, once you are sure your microphone and speakers are okay just click on Record
and begin talking.
Sound is displayed as a line just like a heart monitor. Naturally the peaks are louder than the troughs.
If you click on Stop, a new track comes up.
The second and indeed multiple tracks can be used to add sound effects such as a crowd noise or
So remember: it is better to just let the track record and ignore mistakes and errors. They can be
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Click on Edit then Select and then you have three options. All, Start to Cursor and Cursor to End.
You can also use your mouse to highlight the section(s) needed.
JOINING TRACKS TOGETHER
If you wish to join two different tracks together it is straightforward. Highlight the Section(s) required
and then Edit – Copy, click on the destination track where you wish to make the join and then Edit –
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The first step in editing is to use the Selection Tool to highlight the audio required.
Then, for example, we can choose to increase sound. This is a common need in Audacity. Select
Effect and then Amplify like so:
In this case you will see a new dialogue box:
Make sure you tick Allow clipping and then you can enter a figure into New Peak Amplitude. 1 or 2
is normally sufficient.
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The result sees an increase in the height and depth of the audio like so:
EXPORTING AS MP3 FILES
Audacity cannot encode MP3 files on its own. It needs to use a file called lame_enc.dll.
Once you have recorded, edited and saved your work and want to export it as an MP3, then go to File
and then Export as MP3.
The first time and first time only you are converting to MP3 you will be told Audacity cannot encode
the track and needs to find another file. When you do so you will have a browser come up and you
look for the file lame_enc.dll. Select this file and Audacity will do the rest for you.
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SAVING A FILE
Audacity calls its files Projects. Saving is simple. Click on File then Save Project As.
OPENING A NEW PROJECT
If you need to open a new project, go to File and then New, as demonstrated below.
UPLOAD TO INTERNET
There are several ways to upload to the internet. The easiest way is to register and login with a Social
Media website that gives you your own blog.
My two personal favourites are:
We will use edublogs for this example and we assume you have already registered and logged in.
1. Type in http://edublogs.org into your web browser (or use Google).
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You will have a homepage like so:
Scroll down to this menu here:
Click on Site Admin. This takes you to your Dashboard (your control panel for
managing your blog).
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You will see a screen like this.
Click on Write and then on the new page scroll down to find the Browse tool.
Once you click on the Browse tool you simply search for the file you wish to upload.
Once you have found it, click on Open and then on Upload. You will see the
progress as the file is uploaded.
The file can be given a Title and you can write a brief Description of what it is.
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Once completed click on View Site
You have successfully uploaded a file!
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AUDACITY DOWNLOAD – www.audacity.sourceforge.net
The website for your free open source Podcasting studio!
WILDVOICE – www.wildvoice.com
Wildvoice allows you to create podcasts straight onto the internet. You will have to download their
Wildvoice Studio software.
BTPODSHOW - http://btpodshow.com
Another site to record podscasts straight onto the web.
BLOGGER – www.blogger.com
The most user friendly blogging site.
EDUBLOGS – http://edublogs.org.uk
For educators and schools only. Doesn’t have as many features as blogger.
MY BLOGGER SITE - www.mrmcgowan.blogspot.com
My own blog for my Business subjects.
SAINT ROCH’S - www.big-roch.blogspot.com
My original project done with zero budget and on a 0.4 jobshare! The idea was to have every
department and every teacher blogging away under the Big Roch brand/banner. If you get the chance
download and listen to podcasts on different topics including the exclusive with Michael Martin MP,
Speaker of the House of Commons.
CATHKIN HIGH - www.cathkin.blogspot.com
Another SLC school who got in the act early on.
MY EDUBLOGS SITE - http://mrmcgowan.edublogs.org/
My own edublogs site, though I prefer blogger!
MR ALEXANDER’S SITE - http://mralexander.edublogs.org/
My colleague Robbie Alexander’s excellent Administration blog.
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