Audacity

Audacity logoAudacity is an audio recording and editing software application that is open source, so anyone can download it for free with no restrictions of use. This software can: record live audio, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together, and edit various audio files (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF to name a few). This application can be integrated across disciplines and is relatively easy to use. Audacity can foster active student participation and deeper learning through content creation (e.g., podcasts) and allow students to showcase their understanding through multimedia rather than tests or papers.

Tool Snapshot

Cost Free
Learning Constructionism
Access ★★✩
Ease of Use ★★✩
Student Learning ★★
Privacy ★★
Accessibility ★★
Power & Bias ★★
Class Size Any
Login  No
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor, Creative Communicator
COPPA/
FERPA
No information available

Audacity Overview Video

Audacity & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool. Here is an example of how Audacity might fit within the SAMR model:

  • Substitution: Students create audio recordings of their presentations rather than present in front of the class.
  • Augmentation: Students enhance audio recordings by adding in sound effects, background music, primary source audio, and other audio files.
  • Modification: Students engage in advanced audio editing techniques to create podcasts or other audio recordings to share with a public audience.
  • Redefinition: Students remix historical recordings (or creative commons/copyright-free audio files) with new audio to generate creative sound bytes.

Far too often, technology is used as a direct substitute for other low-tech tools (e.g., pencil and paper). While substitution has some benefits (e.g., students develop their technology skills and knowledge), we encourage you to think about how you might use Audacity to modify or redefine learning.

Learning Activities

Audacity can be utilized across disciplines, so the learning activity examples are not sorted in any specific manner to avoid a fixed perception of the possibilities of the software application.  

  • Produce an audio advertisement (e.g., a historic scientific discovery)   
  • Promote language learning –  students can record themselves and publish their recording to have others, fellow students and/or native speakers, evaluate their speaking a second language.
  • Create podcasts  – present information as a knowledge expert in a given area of their choosing or interview a knowledge expert.
  • Record speeches – evaluate performance of others or themselves to become more effective communicators.  
  • Collectively produce an audiobook recording.  
  • Produce a movie review audio file for other students.  
  • Radio play, ex. Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds-Dramatize historical event.  
  • Record/edit Interviews-Capture an oral history interview.
  • Common Sense Education lesson plans examples that incorporate Audacity
  • 10 Great ways to use Audacity with your Students
  • Hear This – Audacity Resources

Resources

How-To Tutorials and Websites

How to Use Audacity – A Visual Guide

Download and open Audacity.
Double click on the shortcut to open the application.

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This image is of the default start-up status of the software.

A application will open up with no timeline displayed.  You can either record directly into Audacity or import audio file(s).

Tracks:  Record Live Audio

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This is a GIF that shows the act of a live recording.

To RECORD a track, click the large, red circular button and a track will appear.  Each new recording will be created on its own timeline. If you wish to record on a previous track, select it, hold shift, and press the RECORD button.  The play head will move from left to right on the timeline. Click on the STOP button to stop recording.

Tracks:  Import Audio File

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This is a GIF demonstrating how to import an audio clip.

To RECORD a track, click the large, red circular button and a track will appear. Each new recording will be created on its own timeline. If you wish to record on a previous track, select it, hold shift, and press the RECORD button. The play head will move from left to right on the timeline. Click on the STOP button to stop recording.To Import an audio file, go to File >>  Import >>  Audio and select the audio file.

Editing the track

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software, tools for editing a track: selection too, envelope tool, draw tool, zoom tool, time shift tool, and multi-tool mode.

Editing Tools(from top-left corner to bottom-right corner)  Selection tool, envelope tool (adjust volume), draw tool, magnifying tool, time shift tool, and multi-tool mode.

Select Tool

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This GIF is demonstrating the use of the selection tool with an audio track.

Click and drag to make a selection, then perform an operation on the selected portion of the track.  

Time Shift Tool

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This GIF is demonstrating the use of the Time Shift Tool, which allows a user to move an audio clip to a different location on the timeline.

Move track or clip on timeline horizontally.  

Envelope Tool

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This GIF is demonstrating the envelope tool, which allows a user to adjust the audio levels for the whole r a portion of the track.

Adjust the gain (volume) of the track or clip by placing anchor points on the ceiling and floor of the track.  

Export Project to Audio File

An image of Audacity, an open source audio recording and editing software. This GIF is demonstrating how a user exports their project as a audio file.

Export project:  

  1. Click File
  2. Click Export Audio
  3. A Save As pop-up window will appear
  4. Create file name and select .WAV
  5. Click Save
  6. An Edit Meta-Data window will appear in which you can enter data about the audio file.  You aren’t required to enter any data.

Research

Audacity in Vocal Improvisation: Motivating Elementary School Students through Technology

Oral History in the Gender and Communication Course.