In the eternal quest to provide accessible, interesting educational content to students and, of course, educational content need not necessarily be boring, I found the site Soundbible.com that hosts a plenitude of royalty-free sounds that are searchable by subject and/or keyword. The royalty free sounds consist of Creative Commons and Public Domain works. The files are available for download in .wav and .mp3 format (Powerpoint will only accept .wav formatted audio clips). We use these files to create sound effects for audio stories or for modification in audio processing software, such as Audacity. The audio files can be mixed into a spoken narrative to create exciting and engrossing stories and help to keep the students engaged and thinking strategically and creatively as they plan their next sequence according to their prewritten stories. Some students also downloaded sound clips and created a story based on the sounds that were downloaded. Either way, pre-recorded sounds are an enjoyable and rewarding incentive for students to create logical and creative audio narrative storylines that are mixed in a sound editing software, such as Audacity. A warning: students, as we know in general, tend to be attracted to the lowest common denominator so teacher supervision may be necessary to filter sounds and storylines that are inappropriate, such as bodily emissions, guns firing, etc. Navigation on the Soundbible.com site is accessible, although students may have to be shown the steps for locating, previewing and downloading sounds, but after a little practice, students will be entirely engrossed in creating their stories and the accompanying sounds. Students also worked in teams to facilitate direction and staying on task. I have uploaded an audio file done by three blind students to demonstrate an example, the sounds are from Soundbible.com and the mixing was done in Audacity. The students accomplished this with minimal supervision.
By George Thompson