Creating and Using Audio

Work through this lecture at a leisurely pace; don't rush yourself. Play with each of the tools until you are comfortable enough to make a decision as to whether you want to use it with your students or not. We suggest you start with one or two - the one or two that you are most comfortable using, that fit best with your teaching, and that you believe will most benefit your students.


There is an excellent, widely used, free software called Audacity that is used to make recordings. This software allows for all manner of editing: cutting and pasting; adjusting volume; eliminating noise, etc. It is available for both Mac and PC users.

This is a quick-start explanation of Audacity. You will have to download and install it, which is straightforward for both Mac and PC. When you go to the website it should recognize the computer you are on and give you the correct version to download.

Once installed, open Audacity. You should see something like this.

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Use the controls in the upper left to record. Press the red circle to start recording; use the tan box to stop. After you have recorded, listen to make sure your volume settings are good and that it sounds okay.

Once you have recorded, you will see the sound.

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There are many editing functions, including

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To save your file, or export it as a usable sound file, use the File menu.

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Note that there are many sound file formats. You will normally want to use mp3 as it is the most common.

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To work with a specific part of the recording, click and drag to highlight it. You can then delete it if you do not want it, or cut or copy it if you want to use it or repeat it elsewhere.

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Note that you can use standard keyboard shortcuts here, such as the Delete key to delete, Ctrl C to copy; Ctrl X to cut; Ctrl V to paste; Ctrl Z to undo.

You can continue recording where you left off. Just put your cursor there and press the record button again.

One important note about saving as an mp3 file. This requires an additional file be added called a LAME mp3 encoder. You can find information about it here. It is free and not complicated to do, but it is necessary in order to export your sound file as an mp3 file.

There a number of good tutorials sites for Audacity, including by the makers of Audacity.


Soundcloud is another nice online audio recording and storage website. It is very straightforward to use. You can record on the site or upload an existing recording. You can name and tag your recordings. You can share them via an email message, a link, or you can embed them.


Vocaroo is a very straightforward, very simple recording device on the Internet. You make a recording; if you're happy with it you save it. You can email the link to someone or you can embed the recording on your website. Note that the recordings will not last forever; maybe a couple of months; there's no stated length of time that they last. And someday this functionality may just go away.

One cool thing you can do is embed the recorder into your website, so if you are using a website and you know how to embed, you can embed the recorder. In fact, beneath the video explanation below I have embedded the Vocaroo recorder and you can try it right there. There's no account or sign up or login required.

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