Call, Drop, Analyze

I’ve used Audacity, a free and open-source audio editing program, the past couple years during a wave energy unit with my 8th grade.  Unfortunately, most of the computers in my room (and all the computers in the lab) don’t have microphones, and I haven’t been able to do some of the things I’d like with my students.  A comment response to a comment I left on From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Education, reminded me that we could use cell phones and to make quick, downloadable audio clips.

As students filed into class today, I asked a few of them to bring their cell phones. After a quick overview of our task for the day, we headed to the computer lab. During the lesson, students used Audacity to analyze the frequencies of the human voice. I had loaded 30 second clips from Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash and Heartbreaker by Mariah Carey onto my account, which made it easy for students to download and import into audacity. From there, they used the “Plot Spectrum” tool to figure out the low frequencies of Johnny Cash and the high frequencies of Mariah Carey.  (You may have to click through for the embeds of the student voice clips if you are on a feed reader).

High pitched student shriek, hosted
Low pitched student voice hosted

While most of the class worked on the analysis of the songs, I sent a few students at a time out in the hall to call my account and hum some high and low tones (in some cases, more of a shriek). provides a phone number and extension that allows you, or anyone with the number, to leave messages on your drop.  The messages can be downloaded or embedded from anywhere.  After my students phoned in, the voice clips automatically popped up as mp3 files in my account, which they downloaded and the analyzed in Audacity.  We didn’t have time for everyone to do an individual clip, but the students were so preoccupied with Audacity and the voice clips that kept popping up in my drop it didn’t matter. provided instantaneous access  for everyone in the class to all the recordings we did.  It made it significantly easier for me and the students to use and access.

This function has a lot of potential for simple, student podcasts, audio reminders, or even a drop box for parents.  Since the audio clips are embeddable anywhere and also easily downloaded, it makes an extremely versatile platform.  Google Voice can do the same, but is limited to a single access point.  Unless you give out your account information, no one else can access it.


4 thoughts on “Call, Drop, Analyze

  1. is an outstanding platform for audio recording. For years I used Gabcast and Gcast but they started charging for the amount of storage we needed. has been a great alternative for us. We run into the same problem. Not enough microphones.

  2. I haven’t had student do a lot of audio work. I’m going to file this, however, since with us looking at 100% iLearn environment next year, I may need it more than I imagine. Thanks!

  3. How motivated would you be to do a step-by-step “how to” blogpost on using ? This sounds like a great answer to a problem I’ve been having in a couple of projects, but the webpage is a little intimidating.

  4. Pingback: » for the uninitiated Realizing Your Personal Legend: Useful Sites, How-Tos, Student Samples

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