Digital audio is of value in teaching and learning for both
teachers and students and can be used.
- In whole class teaching
- To create resources
- To promote independent learning and support learning
- To develop language skills
- To promote creativity
Whole class teaching
When working on a
screen or interactive whiteboard, audio recordings can be accessed
via hyperlinks to sound files stored on the school network or VLE.
Recordings can be used to reinforce or illustrate a topic or
grammar structure being taught. Listening skills can be developed
using comprehension worksheets on paper and sound recordings on
screen, perhaps accompanied by images or textual clues to support
pupils further. Using the drag and drop facility of an interactive
whiteboard a teacher can match audio files to text or images to
illustrate features of grammar or language used in specific
contexts. Students can also be invited to come to the board to do
Teachers can also embed audio recordings into electronic
worksheets or presentations and these can be accessed on screen
when working with the whole class as a means of preparing pupils
for homework or independent work in the ICT room.
Audio may be inserted into interactive exercises created using
authoring software. These also can be used on a screen or
interactive whiteboard with the whole class.
Native speakers amongst
the teaching staff, parents or pupils can be used for recording.
The recordings can then be edited, using an audio editor, and saved
as separate files to be used with worksheets, presentations,
interactive materials or simply to be made available as a resource
for pupils to download and use.
It is also possible to record directly from radio broadcasts to
a computer. There are many online radio stations which means that
authentic materials can be taken from countries all over the world
where the target language is spoken. Newscasts and weather
forecasts are often fairly short, and teachers can edit them
quickly. Some radio stations make their materials available for
download in mp3 format, thereby allowing a teacher to use extended
materials in a small size format. This could be particularly useful
with more advanced AS/A2 students.
Promoting independent learning and supporting
Audio-based activities in worksheets,
presentations or interactive exercises can be placed on a network
or VLE for students to access independently. Audio recordings,
taken from radio broadcasts or created using native speakers can
also be made available in this way. If recordings are saved as mp3
files, students can download them to their mp3 players or simply to
their own computers.
Podcasts can be used to enable students to work independently. A
teacher can make recordings to explain or reinforce grammatical
points or to consolidate language used in specific
contexts. For more on podcasts see the relevant ICT pages on this site.
Developing language skills
The value of
audio is that it takes language learning beyond text and image and
enables students to improve listening and speaking skills.
Students can make recordings to complete a task set by a
teacher. Using a sound editor they can delete, and re-draft until
they are happy that their pronunciation is improving.
They can access audio resources placed on the network or VLE and
thereby develop their listening skills, especially if the resources
are related to specific comprehension or other language
Audio recordings can also be used as a stimulus to develop
reading or writing skills, for consolidation of vocabulary or
grammar points, and for language manipulation in worksheets as
Audio is an exciting
and stimulating challenge to students. They become aware of issues
such as pronunciation, accuracy and range of expression. Given a
suitable context, audience and purpose for a language task they
will find digital audio a satisfying way to demonstrate their
target language competence and their creative ability.
For example, students might be asked to prepare a publicity
presentation with audio for an imaginary product they have created.
Or they could be asked to create an imitation radio broadcast of
school news, or an article on a local topic such as neighbourhood
amenities. Such tasks have a clear goal, and purpose and require
research, planning, and collaboration if working in groups, as well
as attention to language performance. The end product if showcased
on a school’s web pages or shared with counterparts in a partner
school abroad can be a great incentive for students to develop
original and imaginative approaches to language learning.