Sunday, May 20, 2007

Audacity and 2Create a Story Mash up

Image: Rob Ireton

Following some inspiration from Simon's blog I have been pushing the envelope with 2Create a Story and Audacity. And I have used my ideas to support my MFL colleague in delivering a session on ICT and French earlier this week. When not working with ICT Subject Leaders, I have found that it is important to showcase the quick, easy and most appropriate ICT applications. For this reason I chose to use Photostory3 and 2Create a story. There are other more advanced applications, these have toolbars that are far more crowded than is acceptable to an occasional or phobic ICT user. This is why I favour Podium as a podcasting tool, rather than Audacity, even though Audacity allows you alter sound and multi track, whereas we have to wait a while for Podium 2.0 before such features are introduced. Podium is a an easier entry level application that will beeaier for the technophobe to eaily get on with. Though you need to know youRenewed Framework , in order to convince the Technocynic of it's value.

What we did

We begun by creating simple narrated slide shows of landmarks around Pairs and images of prepositions using a cuddly toy. To do this we used Photorsory3 - It is very easy to create a narrated slide show with this free application and mentioning it now, both here and @ INSETS now feels a bit old hat. However, the results one gets with this tool in only about 6 clicks are amazing, and they allow you to communicate meaning in a way that you would often struggle to do on paper- this is surely the heart of multi-modality. I remember seeing some of the MIRANDANET dissertation work @ a seminar in NAACE. I was struck then by the power and immediacy that this medium offered. It is clearly not the only method of communicating meaning, and surely we should not deny the power of the written word and we should continue to find ways to encourage children to craft poetry,arguments, adverts, emails etc with a pencil or a wordprocessor . Yet we can not deny that in our Youtube/Google Vido culture there are literally millions of online clips all competing for our attention. Those like the Maddy video , shown at the Cup final, have the power to provoke and stimulate our minds . And as the pictures are already on screen- you do not need to mentally conjure them up yourself.

Sound Recorder and Powerpoint
We created simple slides picture and text box in PowerPoint and hyperlinked the images with sound clips we had recorded in sound recorder. This allowed for simple teaching tasks- e.g. where is the teddy? Or in my case all my images were of Cybermen. I am afraid my French does not stretch to the cyberman is on top of the upgrade machine.The disadvantage of Powerpoint is that sounds can only be inserted in wav form which is a bit of a pain, when most sound clips are in mp3 format. And also Powerpoint and accompanying music are not easy bedfellows, hence Photostory 3.

Audacity and 2Create a Story

I was asked to show how using Audacity, voices can be changed by altering the pitch and (if your brave) modulation. By using this effect and downloading just two etrc small sound files / I was able to create the story below. This was not the serious outcome or objective, but a context I gave myself to help me internalise the process and skills needed to use audacity. I was amazed at the results. Almost all characters in the story are me! I am sure the idea was that teachers could get a native speaker to record stories in French and alter their voice digitally, or they could do this themselves. I think this great but surely the real value of recording audio in MFL or to be honest any lesson, would be the saving and uploading for later listening