Tools to create a storytelling or a digital sound project in the classroom



A great way to find out about “human sounds” is to explore the many oral archives that populate the internet. Some of the most interesting collections are the ones that bring together dialects and speech accents from various parts of the world. These audio files and collections are housed in renowned universities and libraries and the good news is that they can be freely accessed from everyone just by surfing the web. Some of the most interesting ones are the Dialects Archive which displays all of the dialects from different parts of the US (and around the world), Another interesting archive is the British, Sounds Familiar? Accents and Dialects of the UK which stores all of the dialect variations of  the English Language. Among the many oral archives one can find, an interesting one is the Smith College’s Voices of Feminism, Oral history Project. It collects recorded interviews (on DVD or VHS video tapes, plus audio CDs) with transcripts; and also the correspondence between interviewer and interviewee.

This could be an interesting way to incorporate audio podcasts in the classroom! Simply ask students to work on a large scale project. Students can interview immigrants, folks who grew up in the 50s or those with large families.  To carry out this work students can use different programs or use the old digital player or phone recording apps even though, their quality is not so great. I recommend thefollowing free recording (with storage options) programs: Audacity, Wavosaur, Olefa, Audiopal and Podomatic

Have you tried to create a digital oral project in your class? If you want to check out more options, then visit the following page !

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2015 Podcasting Faculty Development Program at BCC

Podcast-Consumption_Page_44-e1421690555678This year (2015) Podcasting Faculty Development Program just wrapped up, and once again it saw the participation of many instructors from various disciplines: History, Biology, Sociology and English. Since I am on sabbatical my colleague and co-coodinator of the program, Dr. Moronke Oshin-Martin, lead the entire workshop with great success. She told me that faculty feel very excited when they come to the training since they will be able to “enhance their teaching and student learning”. BCC is proud to be one of the few campus across the US where this kind of training takes place. We are proud to contribute to the revival that podcasts have seen in the last two years. In fact, according to the online magazine” Maximize social business”, “46 million Americans over the age of 12 now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. That’s 17% of the 12+ US population, up from 12% in 2013.” In general, podcasts listeners tend to have college degrees (24%) compared to the 10% of those who listen to podcast every week without a college degree, according to the magazine.




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Recording Sounds From Birds

I am compelled to share with you the latest work of a colleague at Bronx Community College. Jeff Talman teaches in the Art and Music Department and just this week he wrote a piece, “Birds of New York: A Soundscape”, on the New York Times. The article features his latest installation at Columbia University’s Chapel, the orchestration of the recordings of birds’ sounds. His attraction to these sounds began when he was student at Columbia University and the idea of replicating it was a project that had been twirling in his mind for quite some time. But more than that, Talman claims that he always felt that music is not just made inside a room, but that there is a lot of musicality in the natural environment, “Flight and music both represent freedom from earthbound restraint. But music is even more intangible; music is made of the air, the medium of flight, the ether between us. Music is made of the sky.” He began with an installation that features the sounds of 102 species of birds which were made available by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has the largest collection. After a masterful “manipulation” of these sounds, Talman was able to achieve “a kind of spatial chamber music as performed by virtuosos and sung by some of the world’s greatest sopranos.”

Here is the link to this wonderful piece of music, art, and composition.

Have you ever recorded sounds of birds or any other sound found in nature? If so please post your work on the comment feature.

BirdSource: Continue reading

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Some literature on podcasting

Some literature on the use of podcasting in higher education gives you an overview of the advantages of using podcasts for lectures. Some of the data shows that students prefer to listen to podcasts for review rather then for learning new content, as for using them during commute time or down time, research actually shows that students prefer to listen to podcasts sitting at a computer desk. However another study that came out in 2006 suggested that the flexibility of podcasting actually helped students manage their time more efficiently “the ability to replay lectures, and pause lectures” seemed to provide assist students time management concerns. Other advantages as stated by the article suggested that podcasting helped built a ‘sense of involvement with the subject, focus and motivation, a feeling of being part of the class’, ‘provides external students with the same opportunities as internal students’, ability to catch up if you miss an important lecture, ‘hearing additional examples/explanations given in lectures makes it much easier to understand than the ‘dry’ textbook’. ‘They bring subjects alive, allow a lecturer to bring in their own experiences and personality to make subjects more memorable, and bring more humanity to what can be fairly dry material. It can be soul destroying, reading rule upon rule, with no navigator to draw it all together and make it real'”.

See you all June 8th for the podcasting workshop at Bronx Community College !

Painting.  The Kiss. Francesco Hayez. 

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Podcasting and ESL

Podcasting has become an important and effective tool then learning a foreign language. Many ESL podcasting sites have recently surfaced: some offer pronunciation, dictations, songs, sample dialogues, and stories. It is certainly a very effective way to learn, you can listen to content over and over — 24/7. Here are some of the blogs I found which promote ESL learning via audio. (ESL podcast– for profit) (ESL classroom activities) (resources for Learning English) (stories for ESL students)


The article written by Wesley A. Fryer also discusses the benefits for using podcasts in education.

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Summer Podcasting Workshop 2012

Bronx Community College will host its annual Faculty Development online program which will feature Blackboard training, Web. 2,0 and Podcasting. The podcasting workshop will take place on June 8, 2012. For more information please contact the OIT office

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Podcasts in film class — Pedagogically Speaking

This year in my Italian film class which is taught fully online at the School of Professional Studies (CUNY), I decided to have students create an assignment in which they had to deconstruct a movie scene from a technical point of view. The delivery however was not via paper, but via podcast. The main topics of this homework were: use of light and color, characters, point of view, camera takes and framing, etc. I also provided students with an explanation of why I had them do this assignment in this way, I think it is important to inform them that we use technology purposefully inside the classroom. Here is what I wrote on the HMK page on my Eportfolio.

“In this course I am asking students to create two podcasts, or audio files. One is a technical analysis of a movie, one is a reflection over the course and what they learned about Italian cinema. I could have students carry on this task in a written form, but I believe there is value in also promoting oral skills. In the United States, in general, most assignments are written and, during their academic careers, students hardly get a chance to practice oral argumentation. In California’s public university system this practice has now become part of the academic curriculum, and I share and endorse this pedagogical approach. When you speak orally you muster in small time frame several skills: enunciation, precision, intonation, clarity, persuasion and articulation. And most of the time you get to do it only once, and if your speech is inarticulate, it is immediately evident to the listener. When discussing a topic, simply by agreeing or disagreeing, students get a deeper understanding of an issue. In addition, listening to other students speak will create more stimulation to create responses, more engagement and eagerness to do the assignment, and by default create a community of learners. In this course, I want to provide students with the opportunity to practice formal speaking, a necessary skill which is vitalin the workplace — some of the work required by future employers, for example, might take place via skype or conference call or involve a presentation in front of potential clients.”

This is the work created by students which is posted on their ePortfolio platform by DIGICATION.

L\’avventura (Antonioni)

Sergio Leone

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Podcasting of Street Sounds

Invitations were sent out to common citizens to record city sounds then the chosen tracks were selected for display on this virtual sound museum. One of our BCC faculty, WI Coordinator Lynne Ticke, professor of psychology, responded to the call.  Her podcasts were selected among others to be broadcast to the NY Community for all of us to enjoy. Dr. Ticke interest in sound installations was also parallelled with her academic interests. In fact, in Summer 2001, she enrolled in the Summer Podcasting Workshop and has been recording ever since. Check all of the winners and their street sounds. A true gift indeed !

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Do you VOCAROO ?

I discovered a wonderful software with a strange sounding name, it is called VOCAROO. It creates audio podcasts in the most simple way.

Nothing to download, install, subscribe to, just click record, then “click to stop” and you are done! The second stept is to cut and paste the URL of the file and send it to your students, instructors, or upload it on your blog. You can have students create podcasts for your class without having to provide digital players or engage in students’ training. I recommended it ! It’s wonderful and ready for use. I’ve implemented it in my Italian Cinema class (SPS) and language courses. I also use it on my Eporfolio platform from digication. (Free version of the program)


There is an upgraded version of Vocaroo called VOCAROO EXPRESS  that you have to pay to use. It allows you to store your podcasts so that they don’t get lost. You can download a free trial version of this cool software.

Here is the website:

These are some of the features of the pay version of VOCAROO (The following list is taken from the vocaroo website)

  • Simple to use. Click to record, click to stop, and click to send!
  • Send voice messages as an attachment using your Windows email client.
  • Use the email software and address book you are are comfortable with.
  • All recordings are saved on disk for backup and later listening.
  • Help messages guide you each step of the way (all three of them!).
  • A rather fetching green and purple colour scheme

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Podcasing isn’t just about recording, editing, publishing and sharing, but it can also be a fashion statement. Check out the AUDIO WAVES chiffon ! A must have for podcast lovers ! A colleague from BCC was wearing one of these scarves and I just had to have it ! If interested you can find it here  Happy podcasting everyone !

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