There are many ways in which audio clips can be used effectively for teaching. The following examples show how audio clips can be used to aid pronunciation in language teaching.
To play the examples you should ensure that the windows media player or real player are installed on your PC.
The above clips are examples of wav formats. This is a standard audio format for Windows operating systems, often used for storing high-quality, uncompressed sound. However wav files can be quite large, approximately 10 mb per minute of audio.
One of the most popular formats for audio clips is mp3. The mp3 fomat employs a compression system which removes frequencies judged to be essentially inaudible. However mp3 still manages to deliver near-CD sound quality in a file that's only about a tenth or twelfth the size of a corresponding uncompressed wav file.
Midi files can be even smaller. A midi file doesn't contain actual audio data, but rather contains commands that let midi-capable synthesizers re-create a specific musical passage. Computer sound cards typically feature the ability to interpret midi files into music. Since they don't actually contain the music itself, but rather the commands used to re-create music, midi files are a lot smaller than audio files like mp3s or wavs.
To do this you will need a microphone which can be plugged into your pc's soundcard. Microphones can be bought for as little as £4. In order to listen to your recordings you either need to have a set of speakers or headphones.
These instructions assume that you are using a Windows (95,98,NT or XP) operating system.
Step 1 - Setup the hardware
Plug in your microphone and speakers or headphones. On the RM computers the microphone socket is usually pink and the speaker / headphone socket is green.
Step 2 - Open Sound Recorder
This is a basic sound recording program for creating audio file in the wav format. It is one of the applications that is included with the windows operating systems. It has quite a few limitations, the biggest being that you can only record a 60 second sound clip. Its editing capabilities are also very limited.
The method of opening sound recorder depends upon a) your operating system and b) how it is setup. If sound recorder cannot be found by Start ->All Programs - >Accessories-> Entertainment -> Sound Recorder (Windows XP). Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> Multimedia -> Sound Recorder (Other Windows systems) then you should search for the file sndrec32.exe. Drag the sound recorder file onto your desktop to create a shortcut
Step 3 - Recording the audio clip
Press the Record button to start recording and speak into the microphone. Press the Stop button when you have finished speaking. To listen to your recording press the Play button. Then save your recording.
You can now upload your audio clip to a web page
Editing your audio clips
To delete a section of your sound, move the slider to the appropriate position and then choose Edit -> Delete Before or Delete After Current Position
To insert one sound file into another (useful for creating file longer than 60 seconds), open the file into which you want to insert the second file and position the slider where you want the new sound to go. Then choose Edit -> Insert File and pick the file to insert.
This is the easiest method to add audio to a web page is to add a link to an audio file. The process is the same as for uploading and linking to a word or other document i.e.
When a user clicks on a line that has a link to an audio file, the browser launches a small program called a plug-in and the audio file starts downloading. The length of time that it takes for the file to download will depend on it's size and on the connection.The audio doesn't start playing until the entire audio file is downloaded, and if the file is very large this can take a very long time. Hence its always a good idea to indicate a) the audio file format (so that the users can check if they have the plug-in) and b) the size of the file.