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Posts Tagged ‘audacity’

Slowing source audio for interpreting classes in the digital audio lab

  1. To judge from listening to Simult. Lesson 1, text 2 on Acebo Interpreter’s Edge (ISBN 1880594323), I am wondering  whether some of our students (= personalization) would need this audio to be simplified, to gain the benefit of a well-adjusted i+1?  I can pre-process the audio :
    1. Where the flatlines = natural pauses are in above graph, insert a audio signal as where students can press voice insert recording,  Example: clip_image001
    2. We can also  insert a pause and a cue at the beginning and end to set students a limit how long they can interpret, but if students operate  the player manually, there is no teacher control and no exam condition, and the students having to manage the technology tends to distract from the language practice.
    3. Slow down the audio without changing the pitch (just have to make sure not to overdo it, else will sound like drunken speech  – my time stretching software would be able to avoid “drunken speech” syndrome, but I have not been able to work on it since briefly for IALLT in Summer 2011 for 3 years now…)
      1. clip_image002
      2. clip_image003
    4. We can use this adjusted with the Sanako grouping feature to personalize instruction (find the right i+1 for each of your student, useful if there are considerable variations in their proficiency): How to group students into sessions  (in 3 different ways)    goo.gl/JgXUP/.

How to manage balance on stereo audio using Audacity, Sanako student recorder, or any audio player on Windows

  1. For language lab use, stereo is more important than usual, since the channels may carry source versus translation/interpretation, L1 versus L2, teacher versus student, model versus imitation and so forth.
  2. You can choose which channel to listen to by adjusting the balance for stereo playback.
  3. In the Sanako Student recorder (free for all), click here: image
  4. In Audacity, click here:: image
  5. From any other player on Windows, hold Win-key and press R, type mmsys.cpl, on tab playback, double click the speaker you are outputting to, and  on tab levels, change “Balance”: image

Audacity on startup automatically selects the "microphone" as recording device…

  1. Which is a problem if we do not use the front microphone jack, but rather the rear input: CAM03119
  2. Seems to be still an issue on the Group computers….
  3. Solution is the same as found and documented for the listening stations in relation to problems students had with how Saba Centra handles audio hardware, disable  the front jack in mmsys.cpl of Windows7CAM03120

How a teacher can organize a student-controlled high-stakes assessment recording session using the Sanako in the LRC

  1. How:
    1. An initial central microphone and speaker test (animated step-by-step) is recommended. Clear the session afterwards.
    2. Recording: Have the student operate the Sanako recorder to individually record (like during a self-access assignment)
      1. For starters, teacher can display this narrated individual recordings with the Sanako Student Recorder training screencast, it auto-starts and auto-cycles):
      2. And/or explain:
        1. Red Record Button to record;
        2. Blue Stop button to stop recording
        3. Green Play Button to play their assignment for review (also use the recap button to jump back)
        4. Menu: “File / New”, if they want to redo the assignment.
        5. Button: call/envelope to call the teacher on the teacher station for help (an audio connection between student and teacher should pause  the recorder automatically)
    3. Submitting:
      1. Individually by students:
        1. Menu “File” / “Save” (opt to save as student track mp3), to save locally, once student is happy to submit.
        2. (recommended:) upload the save file to a Moodle single-file upload assignment. Requires the teacher to create a Moodle Single file upload assignment, with optional attached file first.
      2. From the Sanako tutor at the teacher station:
        1. For entire class (If you do not need the flexibility to have students end at different times). TBA
        2. Group-wise (varying (staggered) recording times):  TBA
  2. Pro’s:
    1. Less distraction from language learning by having to operate technology (editing audio rather then practicing L2) and more language-learning-specific features (sidetone, recap) than if using Audacity.
    2. Works with the Sanako Study 1200 teacher stations (e.g. automatic pause of recorder when remote connecting to student during monitoring of recording task).
  3. Con’s:
    1. noise interference with dozens of student speaking in a confined space simultaneously. Nobody wants to return to the language lab station of yore, i.e. in a cubicle. However, a teacher-controlled oral exam (sample video, step-by-step video),
      1. can play a soothing background sound to students over the headphones which insulates them from their neighbors (prevents both distraction and cheating);
      2. there is no room  for distracting unrelated chit-chat;
      3. there is no need for distracting conversation when  students do technical troubleshooting, during highly structured question/response exams.
    2. More user flexibility/control  is achieved by more individual distracting operation of computer technology, which always implies more opportunity for user error. To reduce (not eliminate!) the error ratio:
      1. Students
        1. have to have received the general digital audio lab introduction for students.
        2. have to double-check their recordings for quality before submitting.
      2. Teachers
        1. have to monitor students’ recording progress closely
          1. which the Sanako Study 1200 teacher station (link cannot replace hands-on training) greatly facilitates (provided Students use  the Sanako Student Recorder, as described above).
          2. however, even with a classroom management system like Sanako Study 1200, it is impossible to completely monitor a class size of students operating computers. Therefore teachers
        2. have to check the validity of submissions before students leave.
          1. If you use submission through Moodle, here are 2 tips how to do this quicker:
            1. how to quickly download their Moodle file submissions
          2. Whether you use submission through Moodle or collection through Sanako tutor:
            1. view end of this video for how to quickly check validity of all file submissions in a folder using Audacity
          3. are advised to have a make-up assessment plan not only for those students missing the exam, but also for those that miss to complete the computerized multimedia assessment correctly.

How to mix SANAKO- recorded individual students’ audio tracks together

  1. If the students’ audio tracks are not already time-aligned, first use audacity: "time shift tool" to align individual tracks  image (with this tool selected, you can move individual tracks back and forth, to the left or right).
  2. If/ When they are time-aligned, use audacity/ menu: tracks/"stereo track to mono".

How to fix “no audio” on the computers with black Sanako headsets

  1. First, show the Sanako student application (e.g. from button:Start / Student).
  2. Is the Volume Control slider set to 0? Move it up where it says “Adjust volume”:image
  3. Still hear no audio playing on the black Sanako headsets? Then the volume slider was likely moved to 0 since the headset was not detected: On the rear of the computer, check the connection
    1. of the blue headset plug into the USB extension cord, and
    2. of the extension cord into the rear of the computer.

Why to save Audacity projects locally …

… with enough file space to avoid unspecific problems, including later parts of your recording becoming inaudible.

This problem was caused by attempting to save an Audacity project to a network share over a slow network and with limited storage space.

This Audacity project (.aup extension, with subfolders) had a size of a 200MB – the exported .mp3 likely less than 1% off that.

So always save Audacity projects you are working on on local hard drive or USB thumb drive.

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