Topic outline

  • Introduction

    Despite the large number of available multimedia offers, radio plays and other audio offers still play an important role in children’s everyday activities. Listening to audio programmes especially as a family ritual before going to bed or during family trips by car is very popular with children.

    The Audio module offers a great advantage as it can, combined with a lot of fun and without great effort, be introduced to the topic of Media Literacy  suggesting a good approach for media educational work in ECEC. Children between the ages of three and six in particular learn quickly that there is a medium that they can use on their own responsibility. In addition, the audio medium also brings a lot of advantages to ECEC children for productive and creative work. There is hardly a story or topic that cannot be processed as an audio contribution. The sound recording technology, for example the dictaphone on a tablet , is easy to use. Handling is easy to learn and after a short time the technique can be used by the children independently. The only difficulty lies in the cutting of the recordings, which must be done by the ECEC professional on computer. But also, this work is easy and uncomplicated. After all, everyone will have something at their disposal for a long time after a project has been completed.


  • About this Module

    When studying this course you will…

    • Gain knowledge about the importance of listening in general and audio plays in particular
    • Learn how to plan an audio project with preschool children
    • Gain knowledge about teaching children practical and creative work in the field of audio
    • Get basic information about working creatively with the programme Audacity

    In this module…

    • Basics of audio techniques are explained and visualised
    • Practical advice on creative work with children in ECEC is given
    • Activities will support you to better understand the content and to prepare (yourself) for the assessment
    • Further links will guide you to more information
  • Audio Projects in ECEC

    When producing their own audio projects, such as audio plays or interviews, children get to know the recording technique and its results. They can expand their media technology skills, gain experience with recording and microphone technology and learn how to use this medium productively and actively at an early stage. Children also learn about the difference between listening and viewing, how to tell a story without using body language, the role of acoustics and how to use sounds, music and the surrounding sounds. For example, if children make an audio play, they gain important experience with media reality; they learn the potential of their voice, how to change it slightly and yet to distinguish it well from the other children's voices. They understand that manipulation is also possible if, for example, a piece of paper is crumpled to sound like fire in the recording.

    Development of Skills when Producing Audio Projects

    In audio plays, fictitious characters can be brought to life without much effort, with the help of sounds and the voice alone. Children are given the opportunity to hide behind their favourite heroes and to reveal fantasy, creativity, their own fears and their "bad" sides. Even reserved children can overcome their shyness when they act as witches or rabbits in front of the microphone.

    The generation and recognition of sounds is an essential basis for the production of audio recordings since everything that is to be recorded must also be made audible. Sounds can therefore not only be seen as an aid for audio productions, but they can also be used dramaturgically and create excitement when listened to. Moreover, when children deal with sounds, they practise their sense of hearing by experiencing the sound of their environment divergently and learning how to decode it.

    You can guide children to make audio productions by showing them how to produce small audio plays or how to set a picture book to music. Recordings of natural and imitated sounds make children aware of how media reality is created, as the imitated sounds on the recording also sound real.

    Quiz Make your own sounds

    Are you curious how to make a frog croak or waves rustle? Take a look at these little videos and try it out yourself.



    All children should be involved in the production of the audio recordings. Every learner in your class should be given a task: speaker, operator of the recording device, microphone holder (if you use one). Audio production, like film production, is the result of teamwork. However, the final editing should be done by the ECEC professionals themselves, as the editing programmes are not designed for children. The free editing programme Audacity, which we present in this module, assumes, for example, that the user can read.


    Comprehension Questions

    1. How can you involve as many children as possible in the production of each audio project?

    2. What different roles can the children play in the production of an audio recording?

    3. What skills do the children develop by being involved in the production of audio projects?

    Interactive Content: 1
  • Audio in Practice

    As in the photo and video section, children should be shown how to use the audio recording devices. Many of the rules presented in Module 6 can also be applied when working with audio.

    The functions of a dictaphone (e.g. as an app on the tablet) should be discussed with the children:

    • Where do I start a recording?
    • How can I pause a recording?
    • How does it end?
    • Where can I listen to the recording again?

    Dictaphone

    Most tablets and smartphones already have an integrated dictaphone app that lets you record in good quality. Check your existing device and get familiar with the app's features. Afterwards you can instruct the children. If no app is pre-installed on the device, there is a large selection of apps available for download (e.g. in the Google Play-Store).

    If a story is to be told by means of an audio project, it is important to think about a short script and the length of the project together with the children beforehand. This makes realistic planning easier and lessens preparation time.

    Different music produces different effects. Talk to the children not only about what kind of story they want to tell, but also what emotions they want to trigger in the listener. Listen to different music titles together and discuss which music or sound should be used at which point in the story.

    Of course, it is fun to find sounds in nature or to produce them artificially. But there is also the possibility to download freely available sounds from the Internet.


    Website Topic
    Salamisound: www.salamisound.com Music and sounds for free download.
    Audiyou: www.audiyou.de An Internet portal for uploading and downloading audio files.
    With an extra page for children.
    Auditorix: www.auditorix.de It is a cooperative project for purposeful hearing education and hearing promotion for children.
    With an extra page for children.
    Music and sounds for free download.

    Downloadable Sounds



    Make sure you comply with the privacy policy and copyright with every media project.


    Comprehension Questions

    1. Where can you find sounds to use in your audio projects?

    2. Are there any sounds available to download?

  • Possibilities to Integrate Audio in ECEC

    Audio productions to support language development

    Listening to radio plays and producing their own audio plays after short scrips actions can expand and consolidate the vocabulary of the children. They become familiar with grammar and sentence structure. By listening to stories, the children get to know new characters, ways of acting and situations, which allows them to broaden their own repertoire of conflict resolution approaches, manners and reactions. To produce their own, they must consider in advance how a character should act, react and articulate in a particular situation. This can help the children to consider how they can behave in similar real situations.

    Benefits of Audio Plays

    The content of a story you have invented yourself should always be related to the world in which the children live. You can be inspired by a single picture or an illustrated book. Stories that are so realistic that the children's imagination cannot unfold are not suitable. It is advisable not to think up the story in every detail, because the best ideas often arise during the shots.

    Promoting imagination and creativity

    While listening to stories, children come up with images that strongly stimulate their fantasy and creativity. They also stimulate their imagination and make them creative and productive.

    Listen to a recorded radio play with the children, stop the story at some points and let the children tell you how they think the story goes on.

    Developing empathic abilities

    Listening to and producing audio plays can increase the children's empathy, because they learn through the stories to understand the emotions and positions of other characters and to put themselves in their shoes better. This makes it easier for them to act with empathy in relation to their own experiences.

    Promotion of concentration and listening skills

    When listening, children develop their ability to concentrate. They get a feeling for the structure of the stories and for time sequences. Additionally, audio stories can promote children's knowledge about the world around them.

    Together with the children, search for clues to noise and sound and consciously follow their hearing. Talk to the children about what we hear: When we close our eyes, what do we hear? How does that sound? Where does it come from? Who makes the sound? Can you describe the sound? Which sounds do you like and which you don't? This encourages the children to be more sensitive to sounds and practise listening. Sound and loud noise become more important for the children themselves, because their hearing experiences make them meaningful.


    Comprehension Questions

    1. Can the production of audio projects improve the young children’s linguistic skills? Which skills?

    2. What themes in general should you choose for audio production in the ECEC?

    3. How can you help the children sharpen their hearing sense?


  • Basics of the Audacity Programme

    Audacity is a free open source programme for editing audio files such as sounds, noise, speech and/or music on multiple tracks. Speech and music can be recorded, played and edited. Audio files can also be imported and exported in various formats, such as .wav or .mp3

    Music and sounds can also be added between the scenes at a later date. In this way, previously recorded spoken contributions, stories or sounds can be cut together to form an audio play or a Sound-Puzzle.

    I recommend that you record your audio projects with a recording device or Dictaphone on a tablet before editing them with Audacity. This is easier for kids to handle. Recordings can be made directly with a microphone and the Audacity programme, but here the laptop must always be present; the children cannot run the programme themselves. If the recordings are made in advance, the children can do almost all the tasks themselves under supervision. The final "cut" with Audacity should then be done by you as an ECEC professional, because children can quickly overtax themselves. Peace and concentration are necessary here.

    The programme is developed and continuously improved by several worldwide networked programmers and runs on the operating systems  Windows, Mac OS and Linux. So far there is no version for smartphone and tablet operating systems like Android.

    Audacity is a quite extensive programme, which is also used by professional musicians and sound engineers. There are a lot of functions available. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to use and as a free programme it is unique in its quality, which is why it is often recommended to pedagogical specialists for the processing of audio recordings with children.

    In this module of our manual only the most necessary and important functions of Audacity are explained, which could be relevant for an ECEC professional to work on audio recordings in ECEC.

    You can find numerous detailed tutorials on the programme on the Internet. A few recommendations are listed below. Here you will also find extensive and easily understandable information on how to install the programme.

    On the official Audacity page there is a tutorial. You can also download the program here.

    Important note, if you are using a version older than 2.3.2:

    In order to create .mp3 files directly from Audacity, the .mp3 encoder lame must be installed because it is not directly implemented due to licensing reasons. For Windows and Mac OS lame can be downloaded from the Internet, but can also be installed directly from Audacity (menu item Edit > Settings Libraries).


    Developer: Worldwide networked programming team
    Systems: Windows, Mac OS and Linux
    Costs: Free of charge
    Target Groups: Pedagogical specialists, primary school children from 8 years, parents.
    Topics: Practical media work
    Advertising: No advertising
    Usability: Fully functional offline.
    Navigation: A lot of functions, therefore not usable together with smaller children who cannot read yet. The programme is nevertheless simple and clear and can be used for editing simple and extensive audio projects.
    Design: Simple, understandable language, clearly arranged.

    How does the Audacity programme work?

    For further detailed information, tutorials and explanation to functions have a look at the Audacity webpage


    Comprehension Questions

    1. What features does the Audacity programme have?

    2. Can pre-school children use the Audacity programme?

    3. Can you use the Audacity programme offline?

    4. What application do you need to install in order to create mp3 files directly from the Audacity programme?

    Interactive Content: 1