Multimedia – Audio – Chromebook Tools – Audio Capture

As part of our Year 5 unit “Breaking News. Spread the Word” we spend time looking at how digital technology can help create different elements of Multimedia. We recently looked at audio, and whilst we could spend months on just this one topic, we tried to pullout some quick tools that would empower students to create. I shared WeVideo as our go to tool for podcasting, but I’ve also used Synth as well. I’ll share how these lessons went another time.

Below is a few tools we used and most importantly our way of being able to save and record these using Chrome Audio Capture and the fantastic digital citizenship discussions that follow.

We wanted to create some digital audio and quickly. The most fun way to do this is by using Chrome Music Lab, which is part of the growing number of Experiments by Google.

There is so much to explore here – and a really easy way to create simple audio. My favourites are the Kandinsky tool. The Voice Spinner (great for distorting voice) and the Melody Maker. Our students spend twenty minutes exploring and creating the website to get an idea of what is available.

Then there is the fabulous Plink! by Dinahmoe Labs. Your students will love this great music making tool and it is brilliant for students with educational needs. We had one of our students with CP being able to use his eyes only to make music and join in with the rest of his class.

Whilst Plink! creates a bunch of similar sounding tracks, thanks to the same beat that runs behind it, it does have another feature that the kids go mad for. Anything that can be ‘multiplayer’ always encourages enthusiasm, but here they can join each others Plink! sessions and create music together – this works well because the more users, the better the production sounds. You can either try and use the original version and jump on at the same time, or try the new Plink app, which allows you to invite people via a link to your own private session.

Dinahmoe Labs have some amazing tools for music creation and they are all super easy to use – The Rick Astley remix tool is great fun, and students love ToneCraft (for obvious reasons). I really like the Exquisite Theme music maker, which is great when discussing with students about choosing the right type of music for a project.

Recording and Saving the Music

A fantastic way to save the audio that the students create is to use the free Chrome Audio Capture extension:

It is SO EASY to use – and only records audio from the chrome tab – not the microphone – meaning you can have a full blown riot in the classroom and the recording will still just be the audio you want.

You simply click on the extension, start capture and then when finished, click to stop the capture. Then once it is loaded, click Save.

There is no editing feature, no paid features (there is a limit of 20 minutes, but for students that probably isn’t an issue) and it creates an Mp3 which you can share or add into other projects.

Digital Citizenship

A lesson on multimedia and audio then quickly descends into a fantastic opportunity to talk about copyright and fair use. Here I discussed what we can and cannot record from the internet. We talk about giving credit to DinahMoe and Google, about the wonderfully ambiguous meaning of “For educational purposes only” and what that means for us in school. I go on to talk about original content creators and how if you plan to make money then the rules change dramatically. It links so well with ISTE Standard, and is an important reflection on how we must not abuse other people’s creations and use things in an appropriate and legal way.

Further Ideas:

Use Chrome Lab to create a soundtrack to a scratch game or animation

Use for intro to a podcast

Create sound for a live performance

Learn how music affects mood and create music for different audiences, like Horror, or Comedy.

ISTE Standards covered:

2c Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

6.a. Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.

6. b. Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

7a Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.