Today, we are looking at the affordances of recording and editing sound for science exploration. Sound can be a great way to engage young learners to identify the aural characteristics of an environment to advance their knowledge.

For this workshop, you are asked to design an “audio postcard” of a place of nature that is meaningful to you. The purpose of this assignment is to share a place you love with your students and to descriptively inform them of why this place is so special. These podcasts should include recorded narration of your voice that describes the place along with two to three effect sounds that can enhance the sense of place and time, perhaps. The structure of this piece can be interpretive. It can be poetic, expository, or even in the form of a letter — “Dear students, I am writing to you from….”

Here’s an example that Nancy created about her walks by Lake Merritt.
Nancy’s Lake Merritt by KQEDucation

This project will combine audio that you will record into Audacity along with audio that you will find on the internet. A great way to find audio is through YouTube. There is a special way to download the audio version of the YouTube video. Here’s how…

Downloading sounds (MP3 files) from YouTube

To download sound files from YouTube, you must use Firefox and you will need to download the add-on from Mozilla. Do the following steps:

2. Click on ADD-ONS at the top.
3. Type YouTube MP3 in the search bar.
4. Click on the green button next to YouTube MP3 (second one at the top)

 

5. A new window will open, select INSTALL NOW
6. Another window will open, select RESTART NOW
7. Go to YouTube and find the video that you want to take audio from.
8. Click on the tab Download MP3 on the top of the video.

 

9. A new window will appear. It may take awhile for the video to convert, then click Download. 

 

HOW TO USE AUDACITY
And here’s an educast video that explains how to download Audacity from the Internet as well overviews how to record audio, import audio files, create new tracks, and do basic editing and manipulation of the audio.


 

The flow chart for this process is as follows:

1. Brainstorm and come up with a topic.
2. Write the script – narration & think of two sound effects and music (optional)
3. Record the narration in Audacity.
4. Search for sounds online via Google Search or YouTube MP3.
5. Download each sound file.
6. Import sound files into Audacity.
7. Sequence the sounds in order.
8. Change audio levels as needed to make the sound mix good quality.
9. Export as WAV or AIFF.
10. Serve cold. 

Before you begin your script, please take a few minutes to decide on the topic of your audio postcard. What place will you describe? And, what 2-3 effects will you include?

Good luck!

  • The meaningful place I'm thinking of describing is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Wai' O' Pae tide pools. I'm planning to include a Hawaiian chant and some ocean wave/snorkeling sounds.

  • The meaningful place I'm thinking of describing is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Wai' O' Pae tide pools. I'm planning to include a Hawaiian chant and some ocean wave/snorkeling sounds.

  • For my postcard I will be describing AT&T Park/ a baseball game. Some effects I will include are a bat hitting a baseball, fans cheering/talking, sounds of vendors walking around.

  • For my postcard I will be describing AT&T Park/ a baseball game. Some effects I will include are a bat hitting a baseball, fans cheering/talking, sounds of vendors walking around.

  • Alliance Redwoods, California

  • Alliance Redwoods, California

  • Like Jake, I will also be describing a tropical island beach with sounds of lapping waves, sea birds and other of my favorite vacation sounds!

  • Like Jake, I will also be describing a tropical island beach with sounds of lapping waves, sea birds and other of my favorite vacation sounds!

  • LQB

    My Audio Postcard will be walking along the Hudson River in New York City – sound effects: bicycles, talking, boat sounds, roller blades

  • LQB

    My Audio Postcard will be walking along the Hudson River in New York City – sound effects: bicycles, talking, boat sounds, roller blades

  • For my podcast I will be describing a walk on the beach by the ocean. Noises of sea gulls, children playing dogs barking and the waves.

  • For my podcast I will be describing a walk on the beach by the ocean. Noises of sea gulls, children playing dogs barking and the waves.

  • The meaningful place to me that I will be describing is the little park near my house where I take my daily walk. I'll use background sounds like birds chirping, people playing on the grass, etc. The real challenge for me would be to create background for the sunset which I always watch in awe everytime. Any ideas?

  • The meaningful place to me that I will be describing is the little park near my house where I take my daily walk. I'll use background sounds like birds chirping, people playing on the grass, etc. The real challenge for me would be to create background for the sunset which I always watch in awe everytime. Any ideas?

  • I am planning to do an audio postcard on working out in a gym with a topic of "All Work No Play?" I am trying to capture the emotions of a person looking forward to a good workout after a hard day of work. Beginning with parking of the car and quick walking steps to the gym. Banging of the locker door followed by approaching a exercise class with music on. The ending would be the exciting sound of people working out doing belly dance.

  • I am planning to do an audio postcard on working out in a gym with a topic of "All Work No Play?" I am trying to capture the emotions of a person looking forward to a good workout after a hard day of work. Beginning with parking of the car and quick walking steps to the gym. Banging of the locker door followed by approaching a exercise class with music on. The ending would be the exciting sound of people working out doing belly dance.

  • My audio postcard will be a letter to my students explaining why our classroom is special to me. sound effects: students laughing, songs we will sing, students collaborating

  • My audio postcard will be a letter to my students explaining why our classroom is special to me. sound effects: students laughing, songs we will sing, students collaborating

  • I recently went to Yosemite National Park. I will be describe my experience of what I saw there. I will include the sounds of waterfalls, a flowing river, possibly sounds of wildlife or footsteps of hikers.

  • I recently went to Yosemite National Park. I will be describe my experience of what I saw there. I will include the sounds of waterfalls, a flowing river, possibly sounds of wildlife or footsteps of hikers.

  • I will be writing a dialogue on the Cape Cod National Seashore. My focus will be on Nauset beach and my previous experiences there. In my description I will include the natural beauty of the beach, sea creatures, beach sounds, etc..Possible Sound Effects:seagullswaves crashingpeople talkingkids playing

  • I will be writing a dialogue on the Cape Cod National Seashore. My focus will be on Nauset beach and my previous experiences there. In my description I will include the natural beauty of the beach, sea creatures, beach sounds, etc..Possible Sound Effects:seagullswaves crashingpeople talkingkids playing

  • A walk on the beach of Santa Barbara.

  • A walk on the beach of Santa Barbara.

  • After much thought, I'm changing the topic of my audio postcard to Azores Islands, Portugal. I'll use sounds of crashing waves, sheerwater bird sounds, cows mooing, wind in the trees, etc.

  • After much thought, I'm changing the topic of my audio postcard to Azores Islands, Portugal. I'll use sounds of crashing waves, sheerwater bird sounds, cows mooing, wind in the trees, etc.

  • I decided to write a poem instead of writing a letter.

  • I decided to write a poem instead of writing a letter.

  • My audio postcard describes a night camping experience with crickets chirping, an owl hooting, a crackling fire and even a mosquito.

  • My audio postcard describes a night camping experience with crickets chirping, an owl hooting, a crackling fire and even a mosquito.

Author

Matthew Williams

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.

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