• 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?