ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Working with Streaming Audio

This set of pages was created as a teacher training workshop. It doesn’t have anything to do with global issues or environmental activism, but it may be useful. I made it in 2008, so some of the links might be broken. If you find anything that doesn’t work / is no longer true, let me know.

For a variety of reasons, many ESL teachers like using audio clips in the classroom. Often times, these are taken from radio shows. With the Internet, teachers now have access to a world’s worth of radio programs. This brief tutorial will take you through the process of making an audio clip from a streaming file for use in an ESL activity.

Some radio shows offer their archives in MP3 format. Other shows, like This American Life, stream their archives. This means that you need to be connected to the Internet to listen, and that you are unable to save the file.

This American Life is great for use in the English classroom, as each episode features a series of short narratives. Unfortunately, using just one piece of an hour-long episode is not convenient with a streaming file. You need to cue the file each time you want to listen to it, and it is impossible to listen in a room without an Internet connection. Similarly, if you want students to be able to listen to it outside of class, it is much easier to steer them towards a prepared MP3 file than to ask them to find a certain days’ show in the archive and listen to a 30 second clip buried in the middle of the episode.

We will go through the process of cutting a clip from a streaming file and saving it as an MP3 file. I will also present an example of an ESL activity that I made using this process. All of the software and all of the audio sources used in this tutorial are free.

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