Tag Archive for 'voice'

School Radio – Podcasting Pupils

Podcasting, or online radio, is a way of schools sharing audio recordings of pupils talking about their learning, their discoveries, or discussions about class topics. The voices of the pupils, recorded and shared, speaking about the learning going on in their classroom provides a powerful way of engaging pupils – knowing that what they say they can hear played back to themselves, and also to an audience wider than the confines of their own classroom teacher or peers.

So what tools can schools use to get their audio recordings online?

There are many options. You can create mp3 audio files using software such as Audacity or similar tools to create, edit and and simply upload these to your class or school website or blog. Many website hosts or blogging platforms provide players so that simply uploading the mp3 file will automatically presnet it in a published page as a player on screen.

Alternatively simply adding the file to be downloaded in mp3 format would also work. From there the school and wider community can click on the mp3 files to listen to what the pupils have to say (or optionally download the file to a computer, mobile, tablet device, iPod or mp3 player.

RSS feeds to an online podcast host tool can add the option for users to subscribe to the school podcasts, by just clicking the RSS feed icon in the new player and copy and paste into podcasts in the preferred music player on the computer or other device. iTunes or Windows media player would then automatically search for new content next time it is opened.

Audio Boo is a free podcasting tool for sharing audio. This can be done using whichever means suits a school or class. It can be done via website, or mobile device app. Once uploaded the AudioBoo site provides different ways of then sharing the audio with the audience for the pupils – you can simply add a link to the specific audio file or to the channel on Audio Boo with all of your class or school recordings, or you can embed a player for the file on the school website or class blog. Or these can be accessed from iTunes. Click here for a link to Porchester Junior School’s AudioBoo channel (which in turn links to their school website showing how they link together).

SoundCloud is a free podcasting tool for sharing audio online. SoundCloud lets you upload audio files, and provides links to each file which can be shared by email or as links on blogposts or a website page. In addition each audio file post can be embedded on a site or blog with an on-screen player. Click here for a description by John Hardison of how his pupils used SoundCloud in the classroom at East High School. Sound files can be uploaded to Soundcloud via the website or via mobile device apps. Click here for teacher guides to using SoundCloud from Med Kharbach

Vocaroo – a free online service which requires no logging in before creating a recording – just click and record, then share. This link includes a video showing how Vocaroo is used.

ICT Magic Music, Sounds and Podcasts – a host of tools for creating, editing and sharing online podacsts, as well as sources of sound effects, music and more for use with podcasts collated and described on the ICT magic wiki.

Why Podcast with Pupils?

The effects of recording and sharing pupil voices using a podcasting tool can be seen explained and demonstrated on this blogpost about Michael Faraday School in London.

Mark Warner has written a useful article on the Teaching Ideas website detailing the many benefits teachers have found when podcasting with their pupils. This also provides practical suggestions for teachers about how to make the most of the podcasting opportunities, and also pointers for putting it into practice.

Podcasts for schools – one directory of podcasts form a host of schools around the world. So if you are looking for ideas to get started or to try something different if you’re already podcasting then browse through these schools and listen to see how others are already using podcasts with their pupils.

Simon Haughton has written helpful guidance about podcasting in his primary school – this describes the benefits to using podcasting with pupils, as well as suggestions for where it can be used to good effect. And there is adescription of the tools their pupils use to share their podcasts.

“Ae fond Click!” – using ICT tools to support classroom activities on Scotland’s Bard Robert Burns

For many Scottish schools in January there is often an emphasis in the classroom on work on the life and literature of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. The following resources provide ideas for how ICT tools can be used to provide different ways of helping to engage pupils with the study of the life and literature of Robert Burns or other Scottish literary figures. So whether it’s around the time of 25th January (the birthday of Robert Burns celebrated by Scots the world over), or notable dates in the Scottish calendar such as St Andrew’s Day (30th November) or Tartan Day in North America (6th April), the following resources may provide some ideas for using ICT tools to help provide alternative ways in engaging pupils in the sudy of Scottish literature.

Interactive Poem Writing

For use with a Smartboard Interactive whiteboard click on this link for To a mouse – interactive poem writing Smart notebook resource with audio and interactive activities to help engage pupils with the poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns and then to create their own contemporary version “To a computer mouse.” If you find clicking on this link does not download the Smart Notebook file then try this: right-click on the link; then choose “Save target as” then at the end of the filename which appears add .notebook (that’s “dot” notebook); and change the filetype from zip to “all files” and finally save it to your computer. It should then open as normal.

Animation based on a poem

A popular way to engage pupils with a piece of text is for them to create an animation based on a particular poem. Click here for information on some of the many tools which can be used by pupils to create animations, which could be based on the poems, tales or songs of Robert Burns. These animations can either be created using live video footage from a webcam, or still images, or drawn on screen, or using cartoon-style images.

Creating an audio recording of a poem or song

If you’d like to record the audio of pupils reciting or singing a poem, tale or song of Robert Burns a tool which can make this process really easy to record, edit out unwanted gaps or noises, and then create an mp3 file for sharing on a school or class website or blog is Audacity. This is a free audio editing tool. Click here for more information about Audacity for use in the classroom.

Combine drawn images with pupil voice to create interactive videos

A free online tool which is ideally suited to the needs of primary schools to provide a space and the tools for pupils to record their voices along with their own drawn images to accompany their voice is Little Bird Tales. This would be suitable for younger pupils to draw the sequence of events in their chosen poem, tale or song by Robert Burns and to then record their voice reading or reciting the poem, tale or poem of Robert Burns. Click here for more information about Little Bird Tales.

Create animated video combining images, pupil voice and background music

If pupils would like to create a video with music to accompany their chosen poem or tale of Robert Burns, but they perhaps don’t have access to video but do have still images, then they can still create a video using the free Photostory 3 software. This quickly produces a video where you simply upload your chosen still images, add narration (which could be pupils reading a poem by Robert Burns), and choose music style from the bank of provided music with Photostory 3 – you can slect from a range of styles, select instruments, speed, feeling and intensity. Photostory 3 software then quickly belds it all together into a video. Click here for more information about Photostory 3.

Using video camera recordings of pupil recitations or singing

Recitation of poems or singing of the songs of Robert Burns is part of the tradition in many Scottish schools in in or around January. Making recordings of these performances by pupils can be done with Flip video cameras, or similar, of pupils reciting poems, and then these videos uploaded to the class or school blog or website. More information about Flip cameras, or similar devices, can be found by clicking here.

Creating Scottish music backing-track music for songs, recitations or videos.

There are several online music tools which pupils could use to create music to accompany songs of Robert Burns, or for creating a traditional Scottish mood music backing track for pupil-created video or perhaps a drama based on a tale by Robert Burns. Click here for tools which are music sequencers based on pupils dragging icons around the screent to choose instruments, musical phrases and sequence.  For more traditional standard music notation tools where pupils can choose instruments, click on the on-screen score and make their melody for a song, and add lyrics then click here.

Create Audio in Scots Voice from typed text

For pupils who do not wish to speak the poem aloud, or who would like to use the automatically-generated voice from typed text they can do so using Wordtalk. Wordtalk is designed to work with Microsoft Word and can produce an mp3 file from text typed into Word. WordTalk also has produced Scottish voices (called Heather and Stuart for Scottish female and male voices). So to have Word “speak” the poems of Robert Burns with a Scottish voice aloud, and from which to create an mp3 audio file click here for more information about WordTalk.

Timeline Tools

There are online tools which can be used to map the life of of Robert Burns, or to plot his journey from one part of the country to another, or to show the sequence of events on a poem, tale or song of the bard. One such tool is Dipity – click here for more information about Dipity timeline tool.

Comic-creation Tools

Many teachers like to use comic-creation tools with pupils as they often find pupils engage for longer with texts when they are creating a visual work such as a comic strip combing images with the text. Click here for more information about several comic-creation tools which could be used by pupils to sequence a poem, tale or song of Robert Burns accompanied with images.

Speaking characters from poems, tales or songs

On online tool such as Blabberize lets pupils upload images of a character from a poem, tale or song or Robert Burns, add their voice and the tool automatically creates an animated image opening and closing its mouth as the pupil’s recorded voice speaks. Click here for more information about Blabberize.

Online Resources to support teaching about the life and literature of Robert Burns

http://www.robertburns.org.uk/– a website full of resource collected by the world’s second oldest Burns Club.
http://www.burnsscotland.com/– this website holds a vast repository of resources related to the life, times and works of Robert Burns, including resources specific to each of the sites associated with the life of Robert Burns. There is also a host of resources aimed at schools for different age-groups.
http://www.burnsheritagepark.com/– this is the National Trust for Scotland’s site specific to the birthplace sites of Robert Burns. This includes the famous Burns Cottage where the poet was born, the historic landmarks where he set his greatest work, the elegant monument and gardens created in his honour and a modern museum housing the world’s most important collection of his life and works.

http://www.worldburnsclub.com/ norw http://www.rbwf.org.uk/ is the Robert Burns Wold Federation site. This includes a section devoted to learning resources for schools.

Education Scotland has a wealth of online resources specifically for schools about the songs, poems and life of Robert Burns.

Education Scotland also has an extensive site of resources to support teaching using Scots language. http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/knowledgeoflanguage/scots/index.asp

Scran is an online database which includes resources ralting to the life and works of Robert Burns, as well as all of the locations where he lived or visited. Click here for more information about Scran.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/robertburns/ The BBC website about Robert Burns combines information about the bard and his works, as well as many audio recordings.



Scots Hoose – Skoosh – a website aimed at supporting young writers, readers and singers in the Scots language.

The above resources may provide some ideas for using ICT tools to help provide alternative ways in engaging pupils in the study of Scottish literature, and of course may also be adapted to the study of any literature.

Thanks are accorded to Stuart Lennie for the inspiration for the title of this blog post.

Make a drama out of IT! Online tools to support using drama techniques in primary schools

There are many tools available online which can help to support the teaching of drama, or the use of drama techniques in teaching, in the primary classroom. The following drama teaching techniques have suggested online tools shown for each:

Using Online story texts for “Hot-seating” or “Dilemma Debate”

Make use of texts online, as starting points for:
Hot-seating” – pupils read story then each takes a character and when interviewed by other pupils take on the role of that character and improvise answers based on their understanding of that character.
Dilemma Debate” – at turning points in stories, where a decision has to be taken, split the class into two groups with each group arguing case for one decision choice, each pupil in turn giving their view to the pupil who has taken on the character role.

Online texts:

Lit2Go – select stories by reading age – stories here are available free to download in print version and audio mp3 files, and also include teaching notes to accompany each story.

Signed Stories – stories read aloud and signed

Scots Poems read by children – text and audio files

Story Time for Me – stories for children read by actors and with word by word highlighting of text.

Books Should Be Free – online children’s texts with audio

Free Audio Books – downloadable texts along with audio mp3 files for each book.

DebateItOut – a moderated site where topics can be debated online – or alternatively a topic from there can be used as a prompt for in-class dilemma debate.

DramaMap from Read,Write,Think – for a tool which cna be used to build up details of a character, or plot, on-screen use http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/student-interactives/drama-30012.html

Word Starter – “Thought Shower”, “Body Language”, “Facial Expression”, “Freeze-Action”

Each pupil to use Body Language and Facial Expression to develop four freeze-action mimes that illustrate a chosen word. Prior to undertaking this activity the pupils might use a mind-mapping program or diagram tool (such as Popplet or free online tools like Wallwisher or Primary Wall which let you, and multiple users where desired, create sticky notes on-screen with ideas generated by pupils) to select words and find out what each word means, or in what different contexts they can it be used. Use online tools to search for words in context or synonyms with online reference websites:

Word, Name sentence or Phrase Generator – free online tool to let you randomly generate words, sentences, names or phrases

Imagination Prompt Generator lets you randomly generate sentences

Lingro is a free online tool which lets users access any website and, when clicking on any word, the chosen word links to a definition and audio of that word spoken aloud.

Cool Tools for Word Nerds is a list of 50 online tools for engaging pupils with words

Wordia  – watch moderated videos of explanations of words, search for any word.






PicLits – choose from a range of photographs, then drag and drop associated vocabulary from a wordbank appropriate to the selected picture on top of that picture.

NewsWordy – features a word from the current news, and exemplifies that word in various contexts. Also includes an archive of previous words of the day.

Mimed Action – “Freeze-action”

Use a music track on the computer (use an Internet search engine and enter “free royalty-free music” in the search box for free download music files from online sites) as stimulus (to download files right click on each download link and “save target as” – choose where to save to – save).

Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects for Classroom Use – collection of sources free to use in class projects.

www.freeaudioclips.com – for free short sound clips from movies. Pupils to combine a sequence that moves from one freeze-action mime to the next on a signal from the teacher.

Pupils use a digital camera to take photographs of freeze-action of groups, to show on computer / data projector – pupils to reflect and evaluate in group discussion. www.bobsedulinks.com/digital.htm – resources on using digital camera.

Pupils create mimed action mirroring actions of character shown on a short clip on the computer www.bbc.co.uk/history/multimedia_zone/audio_video/ and http://www.historychannel.com

Pictures / Postcard Starter – “Freeze-action”, “Still-image”, “Thought Out Loud”

Show the class a selected picture and together establish a few facts observed from the picture using prompts Who, What, Where, Why, When?

Still-image / Freeze frames” – in groups the class re-create the picture with each pupil taking on the role of one of the people in the photograph. Each pupil will be asked to speak when the teacher clicks fingers above pupil’s head. They will say their name and what they are doing

Thought Out Loud”- each pupil in character will describe their feelings about the situation the picture shows them in.

Cross-Cut” – one group starts with action – then cut to next group action of what they think happens next, then on signal from teacher cuts to next group.

Choose pictures from the Internet:

historic still pictures of people, objects or places –





constantly updating location webcam images


panoramic images www.bbc.co.uk – type panorama into the search box

Qwiki – a search facility which displays related images and reads aloud text about each image

Royalty-free images free to use for class projects – collections of sources of images which can be used in school projects.


Moving Image Resources as stimulus – “What Happens Next”, “Improvisation”, “”Forum Theatre”

Use online resources of film clips, news stories or movie trailers as starting point for “What happens next” improvisations (right-click on film clips – save target as – choose location to save on your computer – download).

http://heritage.scotsman.com/videos.cfm – video clips from Scotsman news archive.

www.scran.ac.uk – Scottish archive of photographs and film.

www.mediaed.org.uk  – UK Movie Image and Media Education.

www.scottishscreen.com – Scottish Screen – includes resources and links.

www.bfi.org.uk – The British Film Institute.

Forum Theatre” – a group starts the improvised action watched by the rest of the class.  It can be “frozen” by any other pupil or the teacher and other pupils add to the situation or replace characters.

News sources:




Media Literacy Clearinghouse – this has a host of resources for teaching pupils about techniques used in the media, grouped by concept, curricular area or medium.

Creating Digital Video – “Living Newspaper”, puppetry

Drama offers pupils opportunities to explore human behaviour by creating roles and relationships in a variety of different contexts and settings. Pupils in groups can collaborate on communicating and presenting the group’s interpretation and resolution of problems in a explorations of conflict situations.

Online tools which can be used to present these situations might include Domo Animate or Go Animate. These tools provide the tools to have on-screen characters engage in a dialogue made up by the pupils. Xtranormal is also an online tool which lets users choose characters, type responses for the characters to speak, as well as change camera views of the characters.

FlipVideo – resources to support the use of FlipVideo USB video cameras (or similar) in the classroom.

Using Windows Live Movie Maker – help with using the free downloadable software for creating a video or stop-motion animation.

www.atomiclearning.com/storyboardpro – free film-making downloadable storyboarding software and tutorials

www.mightycoach.com/articles/mm2/index.html – free tutorials and resources on using free Windows Movie Maker 2.

http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/nisa/moviemaker.htm – Georgia Movie Makers – resources and tutorials on using Windows Movie Maker 2.

Creating a “Living Newspaper” – record a report on an event in the news, historical or current, with pupils taking on roles of interviewees, reporter and people in character. Stimulus may be story from the news or a headline.

Create a puppet show – pupils devise scripted puppet show and record on video.


Contains directions for making different kinds of puppets, including templates.


Contains links and resources for making and using puppets

The Week in Rap – weekly updated news stories presented in rhyming rap on video.

Photostory3 – free downloadable software which lets pupils add audio to photographs and create a news story.

SAM Animation – resources to support the use of the free downloadable software to create a stop-motion animation.

On-screen teleprompters can be useful for pupils who would find it helpful to type in text they are going to say for video – free online teleprompters include: CuePrompter and PrimaryPad Autocue Teleprompter.


Scripted Work – templates and guides

Kidsinco – free playscripts for children.

BBC Writer’s Room free Microsoft Word templates for Screenplay; TV Taped Drama; TV Taped Sitcom; Radio Drama; Radio Sketch; Stage; Comic Book.  Also has archive of scripts from broadcast BBC plays, animated films, television sitcoms. www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scriptsmart/

Nuts and Bolts Film-making – free scripts and resources www.cvisual.com/film-techniques/default.asp

Independent Film makers – Sonnyboo free resources including script templates, storyboarding templates www.sonnyboo.com/downloads/downloads.htm

RawScripts – this is an online tool and storage space which provides templates and guides for writing drama. Sign up is required to make use of the tool but is free.

PlotBot – a free online tool which lets users sign up for a free online space with templates and guides to create a screenplay or drama. This can be entirely private or can be opened up to others, perhaps a group of pupils or a class to work on a collaborative screenplay or drama script.

Writing Pads – free online tools for real-time collaboration on writing, which identify the text and changes undertaken by each contributor, and which give options to undo actions to previous versions to show development of written work and contributiobns of each writer.

WordTalk – when pupils are working on their scripts and wish to hear what they sound like, without the pupils themselves reading the texts aloud, they can use WordTalk to speak aloud the text. This can help pupils to check that what they think they have written is what is actually written.

Audacity – free downloadable software which lets pupils record their voices speaking their script, and then to edit the audio as required. This can create mp3 files which can be added to video, or other online tools as the audio track.

Online Drama in Education Resources

In Drama, observing, listening and reflecting are essential elements in developing an appreciation of the value of both personal contributions and those of others as well as identifying what has been learned through the process. Appreciation of professional and amateur performances and a greater awareness of the role of mass media can be gained through this process. Pupils can be encouraged to use what they have learned in describing what they have seen and heard and in responding to their experiences. Online tools which provide access to on-screen drama with study notes to help draw out the techniques used include:

ChildDrama – online resources, lesson plans and ideas for using drama techniques in teaching, sorted by categories, techniques or age level.

It’s okay to let kids act up – resources for supporting drama in schools at different ages and stages

Drama Experiences and Outcomes from the Curriculum for Excellence from Education Scotland.

Creative Drama and Theatre Education www.creativedrama.com/ Contains classroom ideas for games and warm-up exercises to develop specific drama skills.

Drama in Education Arts on the Move – Drama in Education http://www.artsonthemove.co.uk/education/education.php Contains descriptions of drama “conventions” and terms as well as activities specific to primary schools.

The Virtual Drama Studio http://www.thevirtualdramastudio.co.uk

Links to resources which relate to the teaching of Drama and Theatre mainly for teaching 11-18 year olds but with ideas which can be adapted for other ages.

Drama Education http://drama-education.com/site/ Creative Drama Lesson Plans

Space from Fused Works is a free downloadable piece of software which lets you design the stage and set as well as characters in 3D, then view from various positions so you can try out what actors or audience members will see.

www.childdrama.com/lessons.html Many lesson plans for all ages sorted by age, type of drama and curricular subject.

Drama in Education –  http://www.kentaylor.co.uk/die/materials.html – has lesson plans on teaching using drama grouped by curricular area and age.

TAG Citizens Theatre Drama Guide for Education includes a helpful guide to many drama techniques and examples of how thy can apply in a primary classroom

Drama and ICT – list of links to resources collated by Chris Smith on his Shambles site

Composing with Pictures – music sequencers for the primary classroom

The creation of music in primary schools is simplified by using software or online tools which let pupils, with limited or no music notation skills, choose musical phrases and sequence them in any order which the pupil wishes. The facility to drag these graphics around, play back and edit their order, instrumentation and tempo until  the whole sequence sounds the way the pupil wishes is a useful way to be creative with music-making without the need to have developed music notation reading skills. And the music files created in this way by pupils can then be used in pupil presentations, whether online in blogs or webpages, or in Powerpoint or other presentation forms.

Compose World Play

Compose World Play from ESP is an easy to use piece of commercial software aimed at primary schools which lets children create music by dragging pictures into a sequence of their choice, where each picture represents a musical pattern. This program has a long pedigree in educational software, having been developed for the BBC computer. Latterly the software was called Compose World Junior.

How do you make Compose World Play work?

The main screen is displayed divided into two sections.

Top of screen contains list of phrases that can be used to make up your tune, usually represented by pictures. The lower screen is used to build a sequence of phrases. This is the sequencer.

The initial file consists of nine different pictures, each of which represents a musical phrase. To listen to them: Double-click the pictures at the top of the screen.

To move a phrase to the sequencer:
Move mouse over phrase you would like to put on the sequencer. Hold left mouse button down and drag and drop the phrase to a box on the sequencer. Repeat this process to construct a sequence of phrases.

Click on Play button to hear the created composition. Click on tempo arrows to increase or decrease tempo. Click the Loop button to make the sequence play repeatedly.

To replace contents of one box on sequencer with another phrase, simply drag another phrase to box. To delete a phrase from the sequencer, drag it back to the phrases at the top of the screen. To delete a blank box and move the phrases along, drag the blank box to the phrases at top. If you wish to save a file to use in another multimedia presentation (such as Powerpoint) then save as a Midi file.  This can be played in a media player such as Microsoft Windows Media Player.

To make a longer composition, simply change the number of boxes on sequencer, thus enabling different number of phrases: Click View, select Sequence, then Options. Sequence Layout dialog box appears. Change width and height.
Number of boxes on sequencer can be changed up to maximum width of 16 and height of 16.

So how might you use Compose World Play in the classroom?

On the default opening sequence the pictorial icons are tree, car, apple, house, star, mug, yacht, plane, teapot.
Start a tune together and children try to complete it looking for patterns that complement the start.

There are 70 different sets of pictures and phrases to choose from and each set explores a different aspect of music or can be used for a variety of topic-related musical activities.

The files are grouped into folders as follows:

Compose folder has Compose 2 (racquet, balloon, cube, glasses, flag, umbrella, anchor, kite, bat); Compose 3 (cube, pipe, candle, cheese, moon, city, mouse, castle, wall); Compose 4 (Chinese icons temple, worker, willow, junk, lantern, house, bowl, pot, bridge); Compose 5 (snail, butterfly, dragonfly, tree, fish, sun, pear, tree, bird);
Compose 6 (Ancient Egyptian pyramid, coffin, urn, mask, letters, person, head, snake, dog); Compose 7 (phone, key, bridge, train, boot, rocket, tree, flag, pop); Compose 8 (arrow, grapes, castle, snooker, chair, mower, spray, bars, flag).

Jumbles folder can be used to develop auditory memory by re-ordering phrases of melodies to songs pupils may know well: Three Blind Mice, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Land of Hope and Glory, Sailor’s Hornpipe, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, London’s Burning, Skye Boat Song, Teddy Bear’s Picnic, My Bonnie lies over the Ocean, The Star Spangled Banner, and Jingle Bells.

Learn folder has Beat (rhythms in 4/4, ¾, 6/8 and 5/8) where you can create a rhythm track to which pupils add own instrumental or sung performance; Chord 1 (ascending and descending arpeggios in selected named keys) – to use to accompany children’s playing or singing; Chord 2 (block chord labelled sequences) – again for accompaniment to pupil playing or singing; Echo; Notes; Racket; and Shape Colours.

Melody folder contains Bathtime icons; Carpenter (tools); Express (facial expressions); Fruity – try AABA or ABAC form.  Put computer on continuous play and pupils accompany with percussion instruments playing one of the rhythms only; Garden (tools); Home (types); Kitchen (utensils); Mountain (winter holiday); Oversea (boat types); Pets; Roadsign; Shape; sporty (various sports); Ticktock (digital times); and Veg (vegetables).

Moods folder is ideal for story-telling effects, e.g. midnight (Hallowe’en theme), dreams, PlSolo, thinker, up_down – Experiment with tempo controls and different sounds, or create an ostinato (repeating pattern). Dreams has 5 instruments, with sustained timbre – try changing instruments, or vary the tempo, to alter mood. Alter balance between instruments to change dominant sound.

Play folder has Along (play or sing along to the catchy rhythms and harmonies); Bass Only; Bass Plus; and Tune.

Scales folder (phrases incorporating various scales) has Chromatic (chromatic runs phrases); Pentatonic; RagaTodi (world music); Space (outer space icons); Whole Tone – musical words: Scale, Start, One, Two, harmony, Invert, Reverse, triplet, chords.

Story folder has Themes to accompany a story, or as a class create a suite with different movements created by different groups of pupils, e.g. Cloudy; Popups (space creatures); Rocket (space travel icons) – change tempo and instruments to illustrate musically a journey into outer space; Travel suite (pedestrian, cycle or car icons) e.g. setting off, country lanes, the motorway, traffic jam, arrival; Weather suite for storm e.g. Calm, build-up of storm, storm rages, Fade to calm.

Styles folder has musical styles Baroque, Calypso 1, Calypso 2, Folk, Fugue, Jazz, Mozart, Ragtime, and waltz. Handy where pupils can create their own music in their chocie of musical style just by manipulating the order of icons.

Free online music sequencers suitable for primary school use

Roc from the Aviary suite

Roc from the Aviary suite (no longer available as of 2012). Roc is more akin to a professional music sequencer in that the user chooses the instrument from a text list, chooses the rhythms, tempo and volume for each musical phrase assigned to specific instruments.  The tool lets the user then select where the phrses is to appear – hear it played back, and edit as often as required to get the sound desired. Then it can be saved online (sign-up required). Roc (as with the rest of the Aviary suite of online tools) is free and is aimed at school use. Click here for a tutorial on the use of Roc.

Isle of Tune

Isle of Tune http://isleoftune.com/is a free online musical sequencer where you create a street scene as musical phrases, and cars as players. As you drag the various pictures of parts of the street scene into place these pictures have musical phrases associated with them. Then when the car goes past that street scene element that phrase plays until the next scene musical phrase is encountered by the car. Users can add several cars and therefore several layers of musical phrases playing at the same time.

Jam Studio

Jam Studio is a free online tool for dragging and dropping icons for music chords and rhythms along with choice of instruments to create a music track. It is free to use, though payment is required for download of mp3 files. Click here to see examples of work created by pupils at Clackmannan Primary School using Jam Studio.

Audio Sauna

Audio Sauna is a free online tool which lets users create a music track with multiple layers and export as an audio file for use elsewhere. It is not aimed specifically at schools and has a comprehensive range of tools with plenty of support material to guide users.


UJam – an online tool where you sing or play a single melody by voice or any instrument (you can also just speak) and the tool then takes your audio and automatically adds a music backing track with chords and beat. All can then be tweaked from a range of isntrumentation, and many other changes, before downloading as a completed mp3 file for use elsewhere.

Hear the text of Word documents spoken with WordTalk

Wordtalk http://www.wordtalk.org.uk/Home/
A Windows text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word, free for Scottish schools. It will speak the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains a talking dictionary and a text-to-mp3 converter.

Click on this link to see Wordtalk in action (using the Scottish “Stuart” voice) Stuart speaking text from a Word document

Click on this link to hear an example of  Wordtalk speaking a piece of text (using the Scottish “Heather” voice) within Wordtalk, saved using WordTalk in mp3 format: Welcome to my blog

For people with reading and writing difficulties, having text reinforced by hearing it read aloud can be helpful.

HeatherandStuartClick on this link for more information about the Scottish Voices for WordTalk. WordTalk is a download text-to-speech plugin (free for Scottish schools) for use with all versions of Microsoft Word (from Word 97 up to Word 2010). It will speak the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains a talking dictionary to help decide which word spelling is most appropriate.

Sitting in the Microsoft Word toolbar it is configurable, allowing you to:

Adjust the highlight colours;
Change the voice and the speed of the speech;
Convert text to speech and save as a .wav or .mp3 file so that it can be played back on an iPod or mp3 player.  Note that Scottish schools can use the Scottish voice Heather free of charge while others can use the default voices.

For guide to the toolbar and functions:

You can adjust the WordTalk settings. It has options to configure Speech, Colour, and Keys. The speed of the voice can be increased by dragging right along the speed bar and decreased by dragging left. The volume of the voice can be increased by dragging right along the volume bar and decreased by dragging left.

The WordTalk spell checker uses the Word dictionaries with a few “phonic” enhancements. WordTalk also speaks the suggestions for alternative words. To use the Word Talk spell check, click on the word to be checked and then click on the WordTalk spelling icon.

If Wordtalk toolbar does not automatically appear on your Word Document then click on “Add-Ins” tab at the top of the document in Word 2007.

Alternative Text to Speech Tools

YaKiToMe is a free text to speech tool which can be used to generate audio of written text from copiued and pasted text, or from websites, or Word documents. You can choose which voice you wish to use.

Hear! Hear! Tools for Creating and Editing Audio Recordings in the Classroom

So you want to make an audio recording? Here are some free tools to help you do that in the classroom.


http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ – Audacity is free software to download which lets users record and edit audio in order to create mp3 files for use on websites, blogs, podcasts or anywhere online.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio.
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
  • Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • And more! See the complete list of features.

From @bevevans on Twitter come the following suggestions for ideas to use Audacity in the classroom:  Use audacity to edit story into bits, then ask children to edit then back together.   Or use Audacity to guess the film only from soundtrack or dialogue; or use Audacity filters to give characters different-sounding voices in a recording by pupils.

http://kerileebeasley.com/2009/04/08/10-great-ways-to-use-audacity-with-your-students/ Here is a link to some interesting ways to use Audacity in the classroom from @klbeasley on Twitter.

Audacity has tutorials on its own website at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/tutorials.html

http://www.mulryne.com/howto/create-audio-recordings-with-audacity-part-3-simple-multi-tracking/ Kevin Mulryne has produced a series of quick Audacity tutorials – this one shows how to combine several audio tracks one of top of the other.

There are free tutorials with videos at http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/17-audacity-tutorial.htm

For a useful series of tutorial and examples showing Audacity in use (along with scripted dialogue and soundtracks) click here: http://www.personal.kent.edu/~gmote/audtuts/

Ideas colated from various contributors by Tom Barrett can be found here: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_440hp3mqqfr

How to remove noise in Audacity http://noodle.mx/blog/2010/09/01/tap012-how-to-remove-noise-with-audacity/

Click here for the Audacity tutorial, from the EduBlogs Teacher Challenge site, which provides ideas for use in the classroom as well as links to resources for getting started using Audacity.


For an alternative online tool for creating and editing audio files click here to visit FileLab Audio Editor.


More Resources

For many more resources on creating audio, whether tools to create and edit, examples of how they can be used in schools, or tutorials, have a look at the audio & podcasting resources here from WebTools4u2use

AudioBoo – one of a number of free online tools which let you upload pre-recorded audio mp3 files (such as created using the likes of Audacity) or record straight to the site either via a mobile app or via their website (or via email or over the phone). The player is there automatically on the site so your audience can just click play and the audio can be heard – you can add an image and location map to the post too. And you can share the link to your audio file/podcast with others either as a direct link in an email to others or as a link on a website ior blo, or you can take the embed code from your uploaded file so that the player appears on your blog or website page. Where you are recording live with no editing, or uploading previously created and edited files then AudioBoo provides a useful tool for sharing audio files.

6 Useful Free Audio Editing tools for Teachers – a list collated by Med Kharbach of audio editing or manipulation tools, in which he describes their relative features. This includes Audacity, Wavosaur, AudioBoo, Audio Expert, FileLab, and Aviary Myna.

Ideas for using audio in class

Interesting Ways to Use Audio in Class is a collection of ideas shared by many teachers about how they have used audio in their classrooms. This contains tips, ideas and links to resoures.


http://blabberize.com/ can be used to create a speaking image in Monty Python-esque animation style.  Pupils can choose an image of an animal’s head of their choice (from website with permission to use and royalty-free) .  They then use a microphone to add their voice with their their own message to the picture.

Click on the video below for a step-by-step guide to using Blabberize to create an animated “Blabber”


ChatterPix Kids is a post by Richard Byrne which describes how an app for a mobile tablet device can produce images to which learners can add their voice, and with the image mouth moving in tandem with the spoken word.

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