Audacity is the programme we use in the lab to practice pronunciation and the one you need to have in your own home computers to be able to continue at home the practice that you started in class.
Audacity is an open source program: that means that it is free and it can be downloaded directly from the web. However, we strongly recommend that you download it from here, or from the Material Bank in the left-hand side bar of this blog, beacuse, although it is not the latest version, the one here is the same version you will find in the lab PCs and Netbooks. That will eliminate any compatibility problems you may have between the version in the lab and the one you have at home.
When you click on the link you will see two folders: one containing the programme itself and a zipped folder containing a Lame file. Create a folder in your PC, name it Audacity, make sure you remember where it is, and copy both files in it. Unzip the Lame folder there as well. Once you've got them there, click on the Audacity installation programme and it will be installed in a few seconds. At the bottom of this page you will find several links to videos that clearly explain how the programme works. You will run through this information with your teacher in class, but it will be useful to be able to see some things again in the comfort of your home.
Once you have installed the programme you might wish to try out a practice recording. Also try saving the audio file you produced. There are two alternative ways to keep your files:
- To save it as an Audacity Project (with the extension .aup), which of course can only be opened using the Audacity programme. This is the ideal format to keep the work you do in the lab in your pen-drive (or flash memory) in order to take it home and continue the practice with Audacity at home or to go on practising during an appointment in the lab. It is also the ideal format to keep the files that your teacher would like to listen to later on (homework, feedback, tests, etc)
- To export it as an mp3 file, which will allow you to convert your work into a format that can be reproduced by most players in your computers, mp3 players or even cell phones. Eventually you might also be able to open it with Audacity later on as well. The problem is that Audacity cannot save files as .mp3 directly, so here is where it will need to use the Lame file. When you save your first recording, and decide to "export it as an .mp3 file", a box will pop up asking you to direct the programme to the location of the Lame file. You write the path in the box (remember it is in the Audacity folder you created when you downloaded the programme) and... done!! you have saved your work as an mp3 file. This request to locate the Lame file will be made only the first time you export an mp3 file. After that, the programme will know the path and do it automatically (try not to move the Audacity folder from its original location later, of course!!) We recommend that you do this with your trial recording the first time, so that you remember the path correctly. After that you will never have to do it again.
Here are some videos that will help you remebmer how to work with Audacity. If you find any other useful information that might help the rest of the students use the programme, don´t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the link so that we can add it on this list.