Assignment 2 – The Sight of Sound – #edtechcca2

For this assignment, combine audio effects into a soundscape to represent a place or an event. This assignment may not be suitable for all educational areas, so please feel free to create a soundscape for a scene from a favourite book or a poem, or come up with another idea.

The Real Work – Gary Snyder

All licensed under the Attribution License.

Took me a while to figure out a text. Limited my searching to Freesound to save time. Downloaded a bunch of files and loaded them into audacity. Just sliced, changed the volume, and made some fades. This is a good fun assignment that I’d really like to try in a classroom. Would need plenty of time as I guess this is the best part of 3 hours play for me. A fair bit of this was being distracted on freesound.

The Real Work Audacity

Time Saving Attribution

The only tip I can offer is only tangentially linked to the task and mac only. To gather the links for attribution I open the links in a set of tabs in Safari and then run a wee AppleScript this puts a list of html links to each tab on my clipboard, paste into TextMate and wrap in li tags. (I use FastScripts for running applescripts).

On sunday evenings I often take part in EdTechRoundUp. EdTechRoundUp is an informal group of educators, interested in talking about technology. originally planned as a planning meeting for a podcast the meet has evolved into a meeting that becomes a podcast. Planned on the edtechroundup wiki the meeting takes place in a Flash Meeting. Flashmeeting (described as the YouTube of videoconferencing) is a lovely free service for educators to hold online meetings with video, audio and chat elements.

The chats are a lot of fun and a good place to find out about many exciting uses of ICT in the classroom. Anyone cxan add to the agenda on the wiki and anyone can join in. The meetings are often chaired by Doug Belshaw who tidies up the audio for publication on

The audio is recorded not live but from a replay of the flashmeeting by volunteers. I have taken that role a couple of times and used WireTap, as I recall, wiretap pro could be used the same way as wiretap (an older free version) for free but I recently moved macs and downloaded wiretap studio. This worked fine for a couple of weeks and then I got to the end of the trial period. From the information on the WireTap Pro FAQs page I think I could download a version of pro and still use it that way but I’ve found another solution.

I missed the meeting on Sunday but got a tweet from Doug looking for someone to grab the audio. I said I’d do it and then found out that WireTap had timed out.

This is where Soundflower comes in.

Soundflower is a Mac OS X (10.2 and later) system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. Soundflower is easy to use, it simply presents itself as an audio device, allowing any audio application to send and receive audio with no other support needed. Soundflower is free, open-source, and runs on Mac Intel and PPC computers.

Quick to download an install, soundflower gives you a couple more options in the Sound input and output preference pannel:

All I need to do was to set Soundflowe 2 channel as the default input and output, I then replayed the flashmeeting and used Audacity to capture the sound.
SoundFlower comes with an app Soundflowerbed (I’ve not tried it yet) and has a lot more features but this did the trick for me.

The other bit of software I used was The Levelator, once I had recorded the audio I exported it as a wav file and dropped that file onto the Levelator:

It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three.

The Levelator smoothes out the ups and downs of volume which you get form several folk talking in different places with different microphones to something that is surprisingly clear.

After that I just need to export the output from the Levelator to an mp3 and send it to Doug via dropbox. I had a listen to the audio on the way home from work yesterday and the audio sounds not too bad, the content sounds very good indeed, and I am sorry I was not there, well worth a listen once Doug sorts it out and put it on

I can also recommend joining in the flash meeting anytime you are free on a Sunday evening, a very welcoming space and I’d guarantee that you come away with a few interesting ideas or thoughts. Details are always on the front page of the wiki.

We have just published the first podcast of the session on Radio Sandaig. A new bunch of children and as usual a scramble to fit it into the day. A few lunchtimes and some non-class-contact time got it done. (The children are not all in my class, so I guess this is NCC).I decided to use garageBand instead of Audacity this year, just to see what the differences are. I’ve already started some children off making some simple music using Garageband, and our peripatetic music teacher has joined in working with a few children every week. So we have incorporated one of the pieces of music into the podcast.

For the first time with GarageBand, I took a lot more control than usual of recording, mostly to figure out what we are doing and these are first impressions. Garageband has a pile of useful loops, jingles etc built in, these are easy to review and pull in. For the rest of the session I hope to find time for children to make jingles that will be used regularly, this should make the show sound a bit more professional once we start to really think about this. The auto ducking is also nice, with audacity the children hand ducked the background track as they organised the segments.
One of the things I really liked about audacity was the way you could record segments of a podcast in any order and then the children could easily move them around as they made the final edit. We recorded each segment on a separate track. With GarageBand you get a male voice and female voice tracks, jingle and music tracks. This means we will have to plan out the podcast in more detail and record it in order, this will present a bit more of a challenge to my organisation. At the moment I invite children from 4 classes to contribute so have to find time when they are available at the same time as myself (playtime, NCC time), some thinking to do.

Anyway please have a listen and if you like the show you might like to leave an audio response on the Radio Sandaig page, give us our first review in itunes or on our new listing. Thanks to Tim Geddes of Glaitness School for pointing me to Tim helps the children with the TV Glaitness Video Podcast, which is well worth watching.