One of the best ways to reinforce information to help students learn is to use engaging media, and one of the most underused media for increasing the effectiveness of a Notebook lesson is audio. Audio is a great way to provide feedback or to reinforce the information presented in a lesson.
One of the best features of the new Notebook 11 software is the ability to record and attach audio to an object directly inside the program. However, using specialized sounds (i.e. – sound effects) is extremely important and teachers need to be able to find and use various sounds to make their lessons more effective. Since Notebook requires “mp3″ audio files, it’s also helpful if these resources provide “mp3″ formatted audio files so teachers don’t have to convert the file to use in their Notebook lessons.
Finding Audio on the Internet:
Here is an updated list of my favorite resources that allow teachers to preview and download sounds to incorporate into their Notebook lessons:
1. SoundJay – Great site that makes it extremely easy to preview and download mp3 audio files. To find sounds, click on one of the categories and then scroll through the listing. Be careful of the ads at the top of the pages.
2. SoundCli.ps – This site was just shared by Richard Byrne on Free Technology for Teachers. I liked it so much that it prompted me to write this blog post. To find audio on SoundCli.ps, just type in a search term or use the really cool spinning Tag list. When you download, the files are saved in mp3 format.
3. Find Sounds – Great way to search for audio since you can specify that you only want to search for “mp3″ files. To download file, you’ll need to right-click on the link and choose “Save As…” (or Save Target As… or Save Link As…). Be very careful not to click on the big Download Button; that’s an advertisement.
4. Sound Bible – Another fantastic site for finding audio clips. Just type in a search word and when you find an audio clip you like, you click on the link and it will take you to a download page. Once again, be very careful not to click on the big Download Button. Instead look for the little music icon on the left that has “mp3″ on it. When you click on it, it will let you save it directly to your computer.
5. PacDV – Good site but be very careful of the ads. Also, to find audio, do not use the Search Bar that shows on the main page. Instead, click on one of the categories and then browse through all the descriptions. To download, you can right-click on the link and then select “Save As…” (or Save Target As… or Save Link As…). Also, this site provides both “wav” and “mp3″ formatted audio files so be aware of the file type before downloading.
6. Simply the Best Sounds – It’s very easy to preview sounds on this site and you can select “mp3″ only when looking for audio. Unfortunately, when you download the audio, it saves it as zip file that you will then need to extract to get the mp3 file.
7. GRSites: Sound Effects – Another terrific site that makes it very easy to preview the audio and download directly to “mp3″ format. To download, right click on the MP3 link and then select the option to save.
Converting Audio Files to “mp3″ Format:
If you have an audio file that is not in “mp3″ format (i.e. – a wav file), you can convert it to “mp3″ so you can use it in your Smart Notebook lesson. Here is a short list of resources that make it easy to convert your audio files to “mp3″ format:
1. Media.io – I just discovered this website a few weeks ago and it is by far the easiest method to convert audio to “mp3.”
2. Media Converter – Another great site for converting files from one format to another.
3. IE Download Helper – (Internet Explorer Only) – This is an add-on for the Internet Explorer browser that lets you download any video and/or audio file found on a webpage. In addition, it has an option for converting files from one format to another format automatically in case the audio you found is not in “mp3″ format.
Using audio is an extremely powerful way to reinforce information and provide positive feedback in your Notebook lessons. That’s why it’s so important to share these resources with the other teachers at your school.
Sharing Is Caring!