How and Why We Use Audio Recorder in English III

Bill Sullivan (

Suffield Academy Laptop School, Suffield, Ct


I use web pages in my class for several reasons:

Let's Start with What Students Know Well: Mp3s, Dude!

My students know how to analyze poetry; I also want them to appreciate it. I was pleased last year to see them appreciate a poem more when I asked them to visualize it through a series of web pages. That success made me want to reach for more. This year I wanted my students to appreciate the sound of the poem; I wanted everyone to taste the words more deliberately. Knowing that students are quite dexterous with recording tunes and managing Mp3 files, colleagues and I wondered if there were more efficient ways to incorporate sound in a our multimedia work with poetry. We discovered Audio Recorder.


Previous Audio Attempts and Problems

Last year we had set up a pseudo sound studio in a separate classroom to record student voices. This process was logistically challenging, tedious and often recording work was interrupted; students also froze with fear in this environment. In contrast, audio recorder allows students to record in the comforts of their home or dorm room. We no longer have recordings of students sounding as if they were choking victims; students take their time to get it right. The natural readers excel, and the quiet, shy and international students work without being embarrassed and now have a better environment to perfect, and more importantly, personalize their poetry selection.


The Tools That You Need

  • Audio Recorder or Similar Software;
  • Computer With Microphone;
  • Web Page Software;
  • Web Space on a Server;
  • (or CD Burner and/or mp3 Player).



Easy To Use Audio Recorder


  • Download Free Software from a site such as Versiontracker;
  • Click on Recorder Icon;
  • Click on Record;
  • Click Stop and the ability to save as an mp3 exits;
  • Save it to a web folder on a server and link it to a live page!


Benefits and Unexpected Good Results



It's Fun: Students appreciate their poem and have fun creating these personal sound prints. The students also appreciate listening to their own voices as well as their classmates. Because they have fun, I think that this fun project is a great complement to analytical study of poetry. In the long term, students may remember these projects and poems more; I think that they own these poems. In fact, one of my students discusses on his web page how fun and easy it is to use Audio Recorder; he put a set of directions on his web page.

"Audio Recorder 1.3 is a very useful tool that can help with presentations, projects, or if you just want to record music or your favorite stories" (Will).

Other Benefits?

Students reread and read more poetry out loud. Interestingly, this use of technology throws us back to the oral traditions of poetry, reading it out loud with a performance in mind. I have observed students read several poems out loud until deciding either on a poem that they can manage or upon a favorite. Although it is not a live performance, this software allows students to personalize their audio projects in a easy process with their own laptop or computer. The finished product becomes a performance. In many cases, students chose poems in our anthology that we did not read for homework. Click here for someone who lives in New York City and was determined to record Whitman's "Crossing the Brooklyn Ferry."

Other Benefits?

Fun projects naturally involves parents and advisors. I had my laptop next to me during the fall parents' weekend and clicked on each student page during the conference. This helped create a climate of publishing because parents know to keep checking the page as it grows. This audio dimension now makes the student pages more personal to the students and parents. Advisors are also more invested readers and consumers of the web pages; many times I have caught an advisor in passing and suggested to check out an advisee page. This follow up happens naturally and does not need paperwork because there is an air of publication, posting. Overall, sound is a great dimension that adds personal quality to a page and will help encourage students, parents, advisors, and schools to begin to realize the potential that we are creating valuable electronic portfolios.

Other Benefits?

Gray matter matters. I have learned from the brain based research that accessing certain pathways in the brian is essential for long term memory. Noninvasive MRIs and other brain scans allow scientist to study such pathways and show the results when students personalize and marinate a piece of curriculum with a meaningful personal experience. The science today is now confirming some wisdom that master teachers have known: it's no wonder that we remember our third grade Play-Dough clay model of Mt. Vesuvius because it was a wonder to us when we created it. As a result of learning more about this science, I am more aware of the methods and assignments in my classroom. In some cases, I see that technology can be a natural way for a student to be absorbed into creating a personal project with a piece of curriculum.

Learning new technology with my students is also a great way for me to role model healthy habits of a life long learner. I find myself maintaining an interesting on-going dialogue about keeping a positive mindset with respect to learning new things in the field of technology.

With the many recordings of these American poems, I am making an archive of the pomes that we are studying. This audio archive will help that population of our students who are auditory learners or other learners who benefit from listening to literature while reading.

Click here for a student who on her own added music in the background to her poetry.


Click on the conference image to learn more information about the Learning and the Brain Conference this spring; I find this to be a productive and stimulating conference.


Other Benefits?

Exploring the Multi of future Multimedia projects. Always upgrading with new software and technology is another healthy habit of a life long learner. Role modeling this also helps me create a more student centered class; I'm not exactly sure of what is the next step, so that we all take turns leading, following, and assessing. These endeavors stretch us toward to more creative endeavors. Using the I-Book to create multimedia stimulates the imagination. I am curious to link this audio work with images in I-Movie and try more profound mixes of images and sound. I have been inspired by similar projects on the web page; it hosts various projects involving basic Mac computers and sound!

The Future with audio projects?

Other Benefits?

Small Audio Gallery

A wide range of student examples:

Other Benefits?
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